Refiners’ crude oil throughput in September edged higher from the previous month, government data showed on Friday, as refineries boosted output to meet surging demand.
Refiners processed 4.45 million barrels per day (bpd) (18.21 million tonnes) of crude oil last month, up from the 4.36 million bpd in August, which was the lowest in 10 months.
“Refiners have been boosting throughput in order to meet demand during the festive season. Demand is expected to increase compared to previous months, as people travel more during festivities,” Refinitiv analyst Ehsan Ul Haq said.
On a year-on-year basis, refiners’ crude oil throughput in September rose about 2.9 per cent, while crude oil production fell about 1.7 per cent to around 600,000 bpd (2.44 million tonnes), the data showed.
Indian refiners operated at an average rate of 88.69 per cent of capacity in September, up from 86.89 per cent in August, the government data showed.
Reliance Industries Ltd, the operator of the world’s biggest refining complex, imported nearly 12 per cent more oil in September than in August at 1.2 million bpd.
“Coal shortages are also resulting in some fuel switching to oil-related products, which is encouraging refiners to boost runs. However, continued high oil prices have the potential to lead to some demand destruction,” Ul Haq said.
The country’s September fuel consumption crawled higher as economic activity continued to ramp up, but soaring global oil prices pose a threat to recovery in the world’s third-biggest oil importer and consumer.
Last month, India signalled a spike in oil prices could speed up the transition to alternative energy sources.
Meanwhile, natural gas output jumped 26.6 per cent to 2.90 billion cubic metres, the data showed.