India refiners' August crude processing lowest in 10 months

Indian refiners' crude oil throughput in August dipped to its lowest in 10 months due to ongoing maintenance activities at multiple refineries, government data showed.

Refiners processed 4.36 million barrels per day (18.44 million tons) of crude oil last month, the lowest since October 2020 and about 4.8% lower than 4.58 million bpd processed in July.

Maintenance activities at some facilities limited production in August, Refinitiv analyst Ehsan Ul Haq said, adding that demand was likely to resume as the festival season approaches, provided cases of COVID-19 remain low. 

On a year-on-year basis, however, refiners' crude oil throughput in August jumped about 14.2%, while crude oil production fell about 2.3% to 596,000 bpd (2.52 million tons), the data showed.

Indian refiners operated at an average rate of 86.89% of capacity in August, down from 91.34% of capacity in July, the government data showed.

India's top refiner, Indian Oil Corp (IOC), last month operated its directly owned plants at 82.83% capacity, as per the data.

Reliance, owner of the world's biggest refining complex, operated its plants at 88.22% capacity in August. Reliance's oil imports in August declined 11.8% from last year, preliminary tanker data from shipping and industry sources showed on Tuesday.

Natural gas output jumped 20.2% to 2.92 billion cubic metres from a year earlier, data showed.

"Natural gas numbers might provide some cold comfort at a time when the whole world is complaining about high gas prices, which could incentivise even more production of the fuel," Ul-Haq said.

European and Asian Liquefied Natural Gas prices have soared over the past few weeks, pushing up energy bills and raising fears over shortages for the upcoming winter. read more

Reporting by Bharat Govind Gautam in Bengaluru Editing by Jane Merriman and Matthew Lewis

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