Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC), the nation’s biggest oil firm, has boosted refinery run to 100 per cent of the capacity as reopening of the economy spurred demand for fuel, a company statement said. All the refineries of IOC operated at 100 per cent of the capacity in November, up from 88.1 per cent in the previous October month and 98.6 per cent in the same period last year. This festival season boosted demand for consumer goods, leading to more diesel-run trucks hitting the road to deliver everything – from clothes to air conditioners.
“The crude oil throughput of IOC refineries rose to 100 per cent in November 2020 as consumption of all petroleum products has almost reached pre-COVID levels,” the statement said. IOC owns 11 of India’s 23 refineries with a combined refining capacity of 80.7 million tonnes per annum (1.60 million barrels per day). Refinery runs had fallen to about half of their capacity soon after a nationwide lockdown was imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus. The lockdown shut factories and sent most vehicles off-road, sucking away fuel demand.
IOC said petrol sales at 1.06 million tonne was 4 per cent in November 2020 when compared to the same month last year. LPG demand rose 1.4 per cent to 1.09 million tonne. But diesel, which had reached pre-COVID levels in October, sales was 9 per cent lower than November 2019. However, the sale of 3.01 million tonnes was 2 per cent higher than in October 2020. Aviation turbine fuel (ATF) also registered a growth of 4 per cent at 2,33,000 tonne as against October 2020 but is still 45 per cent less when compared on a year-on-year basis.
“Concomitantly with the growing consumption of while oils – petrol, diesel and ATF, the demand for black oils and speciality products like fuel oil, bitumen, pet coke and sulphur, is also improving – enabling an increase in throughput of refineries,” the statement said. Commenting on the increased demand for petroleum products, IOC Chairman S M Vaidhya said, “The Indian economy continues to witness the green shoots of revival. As we get closer to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, the fundamentals of the economy being strong, we see a rapid V-shaped recovery in the overall consumption of petroleum products”.
All project sites too are witnessing a revival in construction activities, he said. “In view of this, IOC the largest oil refiner in the country is all geared up to meet the rising market demand in accordance with objectives of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Mission to place the economy on the path of growth resolutely,” he added.