India’s fuel demand dips 50% in first half of April due to lockdown

By Editor


Indian state retailers sold 50 percent less refined fuel in the first two weeks of April than the same time a year ago as a nationwide lockdown to stem the spread of the new coronavirus hit transportation and industrial activity, Reuters reported.

State companies – Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum – own about 90 percent of India’s retail fuel outlets.

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India’s gasoil sales by state retailers in the first 15 days of April dropped by 61 percent from a year earlier while gasoline and jet fuel sales declined by 64 percent and 94 percent.

India’s overall refined fuel demand includes consumption of fuel oil, bitumen and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

State-retailers sold 21 percent more LPG in the first fortnight of April from a year earlier. India is providing free cooking gas cylinders to the poor for three months to June to help them weather the impact of the lockdown.

India has extended the overall lockdown until May 3, but has announced a roadmap to restart some industrial activity after April 20 in locations that are not coronavirus hotspots to try to revive the economy.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) in its latest report said India’s fuel consumption – a proxy for oil demand – will decline 5.6 percent in 2020 compared with growth of 2.4 percent forecast in its March report.

It estimates India’s gasoline demand will decline by 9 percent, while diesel will drop by 6.1 percent.

The slump in fuel demand has already forced some refiners to halve crude processing and increase prompt exports of refined fuels.

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