Indian Oil Corp, the nation’s prime refiner, expects native demand for gasoline and gasoil to achieve pre-pandemic ranges within the first half of subsequent fiscal yr starting April 2021, Chairman SM Vaidya mentioned on Monday.

India, the world’s third-biggest oil importer and shopper, has skilled a pointy decline in its gas demand, mirroring a world development following the coronavirus outbreak.

India’s gas demand in August slipped additional and noticed its greatest month-to-month decline since April, whereas petroleum consumption throughout April-July witnessed a weak development of practically 22.5%.

Nevertheless, Vaidya mentioned on the digital Asia Pacific Petroleum Convention {that a} latest uptick in native gross sales of cars, together with tractors, and the forthcoming festive season might carry gas demand in direction of the pre-COVID-19 ranges by the tip of this yr.

“We additionally count on motor spirit and diesel demand to catch as much as the pre-COVID degree within the first half of 2021-22 because the pandemic in all probability ought to have be beneath management by then,” Vaidya added.

Consultancy Energy Aspects in a recent note lowered its fourth-quarter forecast for oil demand in India by 0.43 million barrels per day, citing a surge in COVID-19 infections and uncertainty over further restrictive measures that will continue to limit the pace of recovery.

India, which has consistently reported more than 1,000 COVID-19 deaths daily this month, has now recorded at least 78,586 fatalities from the disease. It lags only the United States globally in overall number of infections, but it has been adding more daily cases than the United States since mid-August.

Vaidya said IOC may have to review some of its long-term expansion plans as the pandemic is expected to affect the “pace and time” of India’s gas demand development.

To diversify its income streams, IOC can also be taking a look at increasing its petrochemical capability by 70% from the present 3.2 million tonnes a yr, Vaidya mentioned, including that “the mixing of petrochemicals and area of interest merchandise in our core enterprise is vital for sustaining aggressive margins and development.”

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