Indian refiners bet on petrochems to hedge against low fuel margins

Indian refiners have turned their focus to raising production of petrochemicals to cater for rising demand and help hedge against lower refined fuel margins, the country’s oil secretary and company officials said on Wednesday.

“We need more petrochemicals because that’s what we are importing at the moment,” Oil secretary Tarun Kapoor said at the India Energy Forum organised by IHS CERAWeek.

“Diesel demand is not likely to increase at the same pace as the requirement for petrochemicals,” Kapoor said. “We may also have to reconfigure the existing refineries so that we are able to match the requirement of the country (for petrochemicals).”

At present Indian refiners are geared up to maximise output of diesel, which makes up about two-fifths of refined fuel demand in Asia’s third-largest economy.

The country’s top refiner Indian Oil Corp aims to raise the proportion of petrochemicals from each barrel of oil it processes to 20 per cent, from the current level of between 8 per cent and 10 per cent, its chairman S.M. Vaidya said at the event.

ET Energy World
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