MOSCOW (MRC) -- India’s crude oil imports fell in July to their lowest since March 2010 as fuel demand slowed amid renewed coronavirus-induced lockdowns and closures of refinery units for maintenance, reported Reuters with reference to government's data.
Crude oil imports last month slumped about 36.4% from a year earlier to 12.34 million tonnes, or 2.92 million barrels per day, data from the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas showed.
That marked a fourth straight monthly decline. Fuel demand in the world’s third-biggest oil importer and consumer also fell, posting a fifth consecutive year-on-year drop.
The country reported a record daily jump of 69,652 coronavirus infections on Thursday, taking the total number of cases to 2.84 million, data from the federal health ministry showed.
India is also Asia’s third-biggest economy, which imports and exports refined fuels.
Refined product imports surged 46.4% to 4.07 million tonnes year-on-year, mainly due to a sharp jump in India’s fuel oil imports. Fuel oil imports rose to record 1.22 million tonnes in July from 127,000 tonnes a year ago.
Reliance Industries Ltd, operator of the world’s biggest refining complex, has been buying some straight-run fuel oil from countries including Iraq to process at its revamped coker, to maximise refining margins.
However, exports of refined products fell 22.7% in July to 3.92 million tonnes, their lowest since April 2018.
Diesel shipments continued to hold a major share of the total exports at 2.06 million tonnes, down 21.1% year on year, the data showed.
Demand for diesel, which is widely used for transportation as well as for irrigation needs in India, fell about 19.3% year-on-year to 5.52 million tonnes, in July.
As MRC informed previously, Reliance Industries, operator of the world’s biggest refining complex in western Gujarat, shut one of its crude refining units at its export-focused plant in the fourth week of July for 3-4 weeks of maintenance. Other Refinery units were expected to operate normally during this period. Reliance has two equal-size crude distillation units at the 704,000 barrel per day (bpd) export-focused refinery. This refinery at the Jamnagar complex is adjacent to a 660,000 bpd plant that mostly meets local fuel demand.
We also remind that Reliance Industries says in July, 2020, that due to unforeseen circumstances in the energy market as well as COVID-19, its talks with Saudi Aramco to form an oil-to-chemicals (O2C) partnership have not progressed according to the original timeline.
Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).
According to MRC's DataScope report, PE imports to Russia dropped in January-June 2020 by 7% year on year to 328,000 tonnes. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the main decrease in imports. At the same time, PP imports into Russia rose in the first six months of 2020 by 21% year on year to 105,300 tonnes. Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the main increase in imports.