New Delhi: Indian oil refineries improved operating run rate to an average of 77 per cent of capacity in May as easing of lockdown restrictions helped bring back some of the lost fuel demand, according to oil ministry data. Refineries, which had in April cut down operating rate to as low as 30-40 per cent as lockdown took most vehicles off road, processed 16.34 million tonnes of crude oil in May, 11 per cent more than April but 24 per cent less than a year earlier.
Reliance Industries Ltd, which operates the world’s biggest oil refining complex at Jamnagar in Gujarat, cut crude processing for a third straight month in May. Its twin refineries operated at an average capacity of 91.72 per cent in May, down from 94.8 per cent in April and 95.4 per cent in March. RIL refineries processed 5.312 million tonnes of crude oil in May, down 12.5 per cent over the previous year. The units had processed 5.314 million tonnes in April.
The units produced 6.53 million tonnes of petroleum products in May, down from 7.13 million tonnes a year ago and 6.76 million tonnes in April 2020. Indian Oil Corp (IOC), the nation’s biggest oil firm, operated its nine refineries at an average rate of 72.8 per cent in May, up from 53.2 per cent in April. Rosneft-backed Nayara Energy’s 20 million tonnes a year Vadinar refinery in Gujarat ran at 91.9 per cent of capacity in May, up from 85.3 per cent capacity in April. India’s crude oil production fell 7 per cent to 2.6 million tonnes in May but was higher than April’s 2.54 million tonnes.
ONGC output was down 2.3 per cent at 1.72 million tonnes mainly due to lower offtake by industries that had been shut due to lockdown. Fields operated by private firms produced over 18 per cent less crude oil, mostly due to lower output from Cairn-operated Rajasthan block. Natural gas production in May dropped 16 per cent to 2.3 billion cubic metres as shutting down of user industries forced companies such as ONGC to cut production. Oil and Natural Gas Corp’s (ONGC) output was down 13.2 per cent at 1.8 bcm.