NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indian refiners processed a record 5.2 million barrels per day of oil in October as the world’s third biggest oil consumer added extra capacity to meet the rising fuel demand, government data showed on Thursday.
The world’s third biggest oil importer sees its diesel and gasoline consumption rising by about two-thirds by 2030, oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Wednesday.
The nation, which produces a fraction of its oil consumption, shipped in a record 4.83 million bpd in September ahead of processing to fuel the additional capacities.
India, which imports about 80 percent of its oil needs, has emerged as a key driver of growth in global oil demand and is set to surpass China as the fastest-growing oil products market in Asia, according to a recent report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
India is increasing refining capacity to keep pace with the expected growth in fuel demand as Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks to boost the manufacturing sector.
Recently the country added 170,000 bpd of capacity at the Kochi plant of Bharat Petroleum Corp and Bathinda refinery of HPCL-Mittal Energy.
Last month, Kochi refinery’s oil processing rose by about 23 percent and that of Bathinda by about a quarter, data showed.
Crude refining in October also jumped as several refiners resumed operations after extensive maintenance while Indian Oil Corp deferred a maintenance shutdown of its 300,000 bpd Paradip refinery to meet the fuel demand during festive seasons.
Crude oil processing at Indian Oil Corp’s 300,000 bpd coastal Paradip refinery rose by a third. The refinery, commissioned in 2016, resumed full operation earlier this year.
Together state-run refiners processed 6.52 percent more oil in October than a year ago, while private refiners used about 13 percent more crude, the data showed.
Writing by Nidhi Verma, editing by David Evans