Indian refiners' September crude processing ticks up

Indian refiners' crude oil throughput in September edged higher from the previous month, government data showed on Friday, as refineries boosted output to meet surging demand.

Refiners processed 4.45 MM barrels per day (bpd) (18.21 MM tons) of crude oil last month, up from the 4.36 MMbpd in August, which was the lowest in 10 mos.

"Refiners have been boosting throughput in order to meet demand during the festive season. Demand is expected to increase compared to previous months, as people travel more during festivities," Refinitiv analyst Ehsan Ul Haq said.

On a year-on-year basis, refiners' crude oil throughput in September rose about 2.9%, while crude oil production fell about 1.7% to around 600,000 bpd (2.44 MM tons), the data showed.

Indian refiners operated at an average rate of 88.69% of capacity in September, up from 86.89% in August, the government data showed.

India's Reliance Industries Ltd, the operator of the world's biggest refining complex, imported nearly 12% more oil in September than in August at 1.2 MMbpd.

"Coal shortages are also resulting in some fuel switching to oil-related products, which is encouraging refiners to boost runs. However, continued high oil prices have the potential to lead to some demand destruction," Ul Haq said.

India's September fuel consumption crawled higher as economic activity continued to ramp up, but soaring global oil prices pose a threat to recovery in the world's third-biggest oil importer and consumer.

Last month, India signaled a spike in oil prices could speed up the transition to alternative energy sources.

Meanwhile, natural gas output jumped 26.6% to 2.90 B cubic meters, the data showed. 

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