By Nidhi Verma
NEW DELHI Oct 29 India's crude oil imports in
September rose 17.6 percent from a year earlier as Reliance
Petroleum RPET.BO began filling its new refinery's tanks,
official data showed on Wednesday.
Domestic oil sales accelerated 7.8 percent as floods
receded after a slower 3.6 percent annual rise in August,
unlike China where apparent oil demand rose by just over 2
percent in September, the slowest growth in 10 months.
The oil market is focused on demand trends across the world
as prospects of lower consumption helped crude oil prices to
more than halve to about $66 a barrel from a record of $147.27
In India, diesel sales rose 17.5 percent as industrial
users continued to substitute fuel oil with subsidised diesel
while power shortages encouraged greater use of diesel to
generate electricity, government officials said.
"The Tamil Nadu state has asked for additional 1,500
kilolitres additional diesel a day for power generation, which
only confirms substitution," an oil ministry official, who did
not want to be identified, said.
Total domestic sales of refined products, a proxy for
demand, rose to 10.51 million tonnes from 9.76 million tonnes
in September last year.
The International Energy Agency, in its latest report, has
kept its forecast for Indian demand unchanged at an average of
3.1 million barrels per day (bpd) for 2008 and 3.2 million bpd
Crude oil imports rose 17.6 percent to 10.26 million
tonnes, mainly due to higher purchases by Essar Oil ESRO.BO,
which is running its unit at a higher capacity and Reliance
Petroleum that is about to commission its 580,000 bpd refinery.
Imports of refined products fell 41.4 percent to 3.74
million tonnes as there were no diesel purchases against
392,000 tonnes a year ago, while naphtha imports fell 16.2
percent to 458,600 tonnes.
Exports fell 13.4 percent to 2.98 million tonnes mainly
because state-run firms diverted shipments to meet rising
(Editing by Ranjit Gangadharan)