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India's oil imports hit record high in January

Reuters  |  NEW DELHI 

By Nidhi Verma

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - imported a record 4.93 million barrels of per day (bpd) in January to feed its expanded refining capacity and meet rising demand, ship tracking data obtained from sources and data compiled by Research & Forecasts showed.

The world's third-biggest importer shipped in 13.6 percent more in January than a year earlier and about 12.5 percent more than the previous month, the data showed.

Imports in January were high as state-run refiners, which operate two-third of India's nearly 5 million bpd capacity, usually boost runs in the March quarter to meet government-set targets.

"All refineries are running high amidst a strong recovery in demand, leading to higher (oil) imports," said Senthil Kumaran, analyst at

India, which imports about 80 percent of its needs, has emerged as a key for growth in global demand.

Due to higher imports and rising global crude prices, India's import bill in January surged by 42.6 percent from a year ago to $11.66 billion.

The country is set to surpass China as the fastest-growing products market in Asia, with fuel demand growing by 6.1 percent in 2018, according to a report by the

expects India's January crude runs to reach 5.27 million bpd, about 280,000 bpd higher than a year earlier, as the country's new refining capacities are operating at almost full rate. has not yet published refining data for January.

SPRING MAINTENANCE

"The (crude) runs are high before the spring maintenance in and elsewhere in the region. Margins are good and so is demand, why wouldn't they run?" Kumaran added.

India's refining capacity addition of 170,000 bpd at the Kochi and Bathinda plants, along with Indian Corp's 300,000 bpd Paradip refinery, are operating at a full rate.

Last year Reliance Industries, operator of the world's biggest refining complex, in western India, declared 30 percent higher capacity of its export focused plant.

is increasing refining capacity to keep pace with expected growth in fuel demand, as seeks to boost the

The country aims to lift its refining capacity by 77 pct to 8.8 million bpd by 2030, according to a government report.

Global majors Saudi Aramco, Rosneft, BP, and Total are vying to tap a sizeable share of fast-growing Indian fuel markets.

India's annual fuel demand rose 10.3 percent in January, with consumption of diesel and gasoline rising in double digits.

(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by David Holmes)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, February 15 2018. 21:52 IST
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