India, the third-biggest oil consumer, expects fuel demand to return to normal earlier than projections by the International Energy Agency and OPEC.
“If you look at the trend of the past few weeks, I’m confident that by the end of second quarter, demand will be as usual,” India’s Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said at the BloombergNEF Summit, referring to the quarter ending September. “At the end of June, we have already achieved 85% of our demand compared to June 2019,” Pradhan said, Bloomberg reported.
The world’s biggest lockdown put in place on March 25 in India pummeled demand for transportation and industrial fuels by as much as 70%, forcing a reduction in crude processing and oil imports by refiners. The IEA and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries expect India’s demand to not normalize until the end of this year.
“Unlocking process has started and a lot of economic activities are going on for more than one-and-a-half months,” the minister said. “Petrol, diesel, LPG and other commercial fuels are coming back to original demand. We are a little bit apprehensive about aviation fuel.”
Pradhan expects India’s energy demand to grow multifold over the next decade upon emerging from the pandemic and is looking at all energy sources to meet the expanding appetite.