MOSCOW (MRC) -- Japanese and Indian refiners said Sept. 28 they were cautiously optimistic about the regional oil demand reaching pre-pandemic levels, as the pace of recovery gains momentum due to lower COVID-19 infections, with India taking slightly longer to get there, reported S&P Global.
Higher demand for fossil fuels gasoline and diesel was leading the recovery in Asia, with the consumption in some countries already past the pre-pandemic levels, but weak jet fuel demand was a drag.
Weak jet fuel demand from the aviation sector amid the coronavirus crisis has kept regional refinery runs "significantly" constrained, but there was gaining optimism from vaccine rollouts despite the varied pace in different countries, Kawaguchi said.
India's refineries were currently operating at 90% of their capacity, and processing 4.5 million b/d of crude oil with 5.02 million b/d refining capacity, Debash Patra, executive director Bharat Petroleum Corp. said at the APPEC session, as the country's economy recovers from the pandemic.
The country's pre-pandemic oil consumption was still a few years away, as the aviation fuel recovery was primarily lagging, he said.
"The Indian oil consumption as per my estimate is set to bounce back to pre-covid level in second year from now, that is 2023," Patra said.
India's gasoline demand was 7%-8% above the pre-pandemic levels currently, with diesel demand lower by about 7%-8%, according to Indian Oil Corp. Chairman, Shrikant Madhav Vaidya.
As MRC informed earlier, Indian refiners' crude oil throughput in August dipped to its lowest in 10 months due to ongoing maintenance activities at multiple refineries, according to government data. Refiners processed 4.36 million barrels per day (18.44 million tons) of crude oil last month, the lowest since October 2020 and about 4.8% lower than 4.58 million bpd processed in July. Maintenance activities at some facilities limited production in August, Refinitiv analyst Ehsan Ul Haq said, adding that demand was likely to resume as the festival season approaches, provided cases of COVID-19 remain low.
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 1,396,960 tonnes in January-July 2021, up by 7% year on year. Shipments of all grades of ethylene polymers increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 841,990 tonnes in the first seven months of 2021, up by 29% year on year. Supply of propylene homopolymers (homopolymer PP) and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased, whereas supply of statistical copolymers of propylene (PP random copolymers) subsided.