MOSCOW (MRC) -- Indian Oil Corp (IOC) said it was operating its refineries at 90% capacity as diesel sales were yet to reach pre-COVID-19 levels, but it expects to ramp up refining to full capacity within a quarter as demand picks up, said Reuters.
Indian state fuel retailers’ gasoline sales exceeded pre-pandemic levels in the first fortnight of July, as motorists took back to the roads after states eased COVID-19-related lockdowns. Even as a second wave of COVID-19 infections battered the country during April and May, this year’s lockdown restrictions were not as severe as compared to last year, with most states allowing some vehicular movement.
Still, Indian refiners had reduced crude processing during the quarter and curtailed oil purchases amid higher fuel inventories. Diesel sales are still at around 85%-90% of pre-COVID-19 levels and are expected recover by the festival of Diwali in November, Chairman S.M. Vaidya said in a press conference, adding that the refinery runs are also expected to be at 100% capacity by then.
Higher fuel prices also sapped consumption, with India’s tax-heavy retail prices of gasoline and gasoil touching record highs due to a surge in global crude oil prices. International Brent prices jumped about 18% during the June quarter.
The state-owned company had reported a net profit of 59.41 billion rupees ($798.92 million) in the quarter ending June 30, compared with a profit of 19.11 billion rupees a year earlier, when lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic hammered fuel demand and squeezed margins.
Revenue from operations soared 74.3% to 1.55 trillion rupees in the quarter. Indian Oil also said it has extended its joint venture partnership with Malaysia’s Petronas for the retail sale of diesel and gasoline, but it did not divulge more details. IOC, along with its unit Chennai Petroleum, controls about a third of India’s five million-barrels-per-day refining capacity.
Meanwhile, as MRC informed earlier, Indian refiners, anticipating a lifting of US sanctions, plan to make space for the resumption of Iranian imports by reducing spot crude oil purchases in the second half of the year. The world's third-largest oil consumer and importer halted imports from Tehran in 2019 after former US President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 accord and re-imposed sanctions on the OPEC producer over its disputed nuclear programme.
Ethylene and propylene are the main feedstocks for the production of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), respectively.
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 953,400 tonnes in the first five months of 2021, which virtually corresponded to the same figure a year earlier. High denisty polyethylene (HDPE) shipments decreased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 607,8900 tonnes in January-May 2021, up by 33% year on year. Shipments of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased, whereas deliveries of PP random copolymers decreased.
Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is an Indian state-owned oil and gas corporation headquartered in New Delhi.