India’s top state oil refiners are reducing processing runs and crude imports as the surging COVID-19 pandemic has cut fuel consumption, leading to higher product stockpiles at the plants, company officials told Reuters on Tuesday.
Indian Oil Corp, the country’s biggest refiner, has reduced runs to an average of between 85% and 88% of processing capacity, a company official said, adding runs could be cut further as its plants at Gujarat, Mathura and Panipat are facing problems storing bitumen and sulphur.
IOC’s refineries were operating at about 95% of their capacity in late April. “We do not anticipate that our crude processing would be reduced to last year’s level of 65%-70% as inter-state vehicle movement is still there … (the) economy is functioning,” he said.
Several states across India are under lockdown as the coronavirus crisis showed scant sign of easing on Tuesday, with a seven-day average of new cases at a record high, although the government of India, the world’s third largest oil importer and consumer, has not implemented a full lockdown.
State-run Bharat Petroleum Corp has cut its crude imports by 1 million barrels in May and will reduce purchases by 2 million barrels in June, a company official said.