India refiners' August crude processing lowest in 10 months

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An employee at Cairn India, a unit of UK-based Cairn Energy Plc, works at a storage facility for crude oil at Mangala oil field at Barmer in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan on August 29, 2009. REUTERS/Parth Sanyal/File Photo

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  • Refinery capacity utilization rate slipped to 86.89% last month
  • Fuel demand likely to resume as festival season nears-analyst
  • Natural gas output climbed 20.2% to 2.92 bln cubic metres-data

Sept 22 (Reuters) - 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 on Wednesday.

Refiners processed 4.36 million barrels per day (18.44 million tonnes) 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. read more

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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 tonnes), the data showed.

India refiners' August crude processing lowest in 10 months

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) (IOC.NS), 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

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

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