Domestic oil demand wouldn’t return to pre-Covid levels anytime soon due to rapidly rising infections and local lockdowns, which would in turn keep company’s refinery run rate around 70-75 per cent, lower than 93 per cent seen in July, Indian Oil Chairman S M Vaidya said.
“It’s very difficult to predict but, of course, one thing is sure that we will not get back to normal times at least in the near future,” Vaidya said of future oil demand. The Centre has been easing nationwide lockdown in phases but imposition of local lockdowns by several states have restricted mobility, economic activity and the demand for fuel. This has now slammed brakes on the rapid recovery in fuel demand seen during May and June. The rate of coronavirus infections in the country has accelerated with about 50,000 cases being reported daily.
Indian Oil’s refinery run rate has also fallen to 75 per cent from 93 per cent seen earlier in July. Vaidya expects refinery run rate to stay around 70-75 per cent for the rest of the year. Lower domestic demand and an oversupplied export market are keeping runs low at Indian refineries.