Indian refiners' October oil processing highest since March

11/25/2020 | 12:09pm

(Reuters) - Crude oil processed by Indian refiners rose to its highest in seven months in October as fuel demand picked up although throughput remained lower than a year earlier, hurt by the coronavirus pandemic's impact on industrial and transport activity.

Crude oil throughput in October dropped 16.1% from a year earlier to 4.35 million barrels per day (18.39 million tonnes), but was the highest since March when the country went into a nationwide lockdown, provisional data issued by the government showed on Wednesday.

India's crude oil throughput hits 7-month peak

Pointing to a recovery in economic activity, India's fuel consumption registered its first year-on-year increase since February last month, data showed earlier.

Daily coronavirus cases in the country have declined steadily since having peaked in September, although it remains the second-highest number of cases in the world, after the United States.

Crude oil throughput in October rose 0.5% from September's 4.33 million barrels per day (17.71 million tonnes).

Indian refiners operated at an average rate of 86.7%, highest March, compared to 86.2% in September, data showed.

Refinery runs edge up as fuel demand crawls back

A major maintenance shutdown at Nayara Energy's 400,000 bpd Vadinar refinery pulled down the nation's average refinery run rates. Nayara's plant operated at 33% capacity last month, the data showed.

The country's largest refiner, Indian Oil Corp (IOC) operated its directly owned plants at 95.64% capacity, the data showed.

Reliance, owner of the world's biggest refining complex, operated its plants at 94.33% capacity.

Crude oil production fell by 6.2% to 2.57 million tonnes (608,000 barrels per day), the monthly report showed.

(Reporting by Anjishnu Mondol and Sumita Layek in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Brijesh Patel; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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