Indian refineries crude oil processing near 2-year high in November

Indian refineries’ crude oil throughput in November was the highest since February 2020, government data showed on Tuesday as hopes of steadily increasing demand from the world’s third largest oil consumer pushed refineries to operate at full capacity.

Refineries processed 5.25 million barrels per day (21.48 million tons) last month, up 5.9 percent from 4.96 million barrels per day in October, the data showed. Year-on-year, throughput increased by around 3.4 percent.

“Refiners usually look at potential demand over the next few months and appear to be still very optimistic about India’s oil demand despite a recent slump,” said refinitive analyst Ehsan Ul Haq.

They operated at an average capacity rate of 104.61 percent in November, up from 98.76 percent in October, the data further showed.

India’s fuel consumption fell in November after hitting a seven-month high in October as demand subsided after the holiday season.

Only if the Omicron coronavirus variant leads to a slowdown in the economy and low demand for several months could it lead to lower refinery runs, Ul Haq said.

The Paris-based International Energy Agency said last week that a surge in new Covid-19 cases could temporarily slow, but not turn, a recovery in global oil demand.

However, India’s crude oil production in November fell about 2.4 percent year-on-year to about 590,000 barrels per day (2.43 million tons), but little changed from October, the data showed.

Technical problems and delays in refineries and oil fields could have caused the slump, but higher natural gas production could do India’s finances amid a rally in global gas prices due to an energy crisis, added Ul Haq.

Compared to November 2020, natural gas production rose 23.1 percent to 2.87 billion cubic meters, but was still below the targeted production of 3.29 billion cubic meters, data showed.

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