India has saved over Rs 30,000 crore despite a firming up of petroleum product imports largely due to a fall in international hydrocarbon prices during 2020-21. According to official data, the country imported finished petroleum products worth Rs 1,50,176.31 crore from April 2020 to February 2021.
The value of finished petroleum product imports during the same period of 2019-20 stood at Rs 1,81,681.69 crore. It is expected that this saving will only grow as the data for March 2021 is released.
While India has a robust crude oil refining and natural gas processing capacity, it regularly imports finished products. These largely include Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), Petcoke, and Fuel oil. While LPG is used for cooking gas, the others find uses across industries from meeting heating requirement, to power generation, and running ships. Such finished products require minimal further processing and are sought by end-use industries.
The country imported 62.48 million tonnes (mt) of petroleum products in 2019-20 and 62.88 mt in 2020-21. LNG imports stood at around 23 mt in both years.
On the whole, there was a nine per cent fall in consumption of petroleum products as Covid-19 hit the Indian economy during 2020-21. But LPG showed a demand growth of five per cent and LNG consumption was flattish.