Refinery throughput continues to rise in July, production up at 19 MT
New Delhi: In signs of demand inching up post relaxation of lockdown, Indian oil refineries produced 3.5 per cent more fuel in July when compared to the preceding month but the production was still nearly 14 per cent lower than pre-COVID-19 levels.
Nearly two dozen refineries in the country, which had in April cut down operating rate to as low as 30-40 per cent after lockdown pummelled fuel demand, produced 19 million tonnes of fuel in July, up from 18.35 million tonnes in the preceding month, according to latest data released by the petroleum ministry on Tuesday.
This was, however, lower than the 22 million tonnes of petroleum products produced in July 2019.
While public sector refiners reported a 22 per cent drop in output at 9.93 million tonnes, Reliance Industries' twin refineries at Jamnagar in Gujarat produced 3.5 per cent more than July 2019.
Public sector refineries operated at 85.7 per cent of their capacity in July while RIL's domestic tariff area unit operated at 101 per cent capacity and the export-oriented unit at 49 per cent due to a maintenance shutdown.
Indian Oil Corp (IOC), which had been steadily raising operating run-rate at its nine refineries since capacity utilisation fell to as low as 45 per cent in the first week of April, moderated operating capacity to 90.6 per cent in July after lockdowns in some states dented fuel demand recovery.
The run-rate in June was over 97 per cent of the rated capacity.
Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd's (HPCL) units at Mumbai and Visakhapatnam operated at 101 per cent of capacity, down from 106 per cent in June, the data showed.
Privatisation-bound Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) operated refineries in July at 83.07 per cent of capacity, down from 84 per cent in June.
Rosneft-backed Nayara Energy's 20 million tonnes a year Vadinar refinery in Gujarat ran at flat 92 per cent capacity.
India's crude oil production fell 5 per cent to 2.63 million tonnes in July as Cairn-operated Rajasthan oilfields produced 15 per cent less oil.
Oil and Natural Gas Corp's (ONGC) output was down 0.4 per cent at 1.74 million tonnes.
Fields operated by private firms produced over 15.64 per cent less crude oil, mostly due to lower output from Cairn-operated Rajasthan block.
Natural gas production in June dropped 10 per cent to 2.4 billion cubic metres (bcm) as shutting down of user industries forced companies such as ONGC to cut production.
Oil and Natural Gas Corp's (ONGC) output was down 4.83 per cent at 1.9 bcm.