The steep decline in fuel consumption due to the Covid-19 lockdown had pulled down India’s refinery production during the month of April by 29 per cent to 14.7 million tonne (MT), from 20.7 MT in April 2019. Similarly, due to lower gas off take by consumers, India’s natural gas production in April 2020 was 19 per cent down, at 2,161 million metric standard cubic meter (mmscm) as against 2,656 mmscm during the same time last financial year.
The decline in natural gas production was also due to force majeure clauses invoked by several consumers. According to industry experts, the consumption of petroleum products in the month of April was only 30-40 per cent of what it had been prior to the lockdown. Due to this, refineries were forced to bring down their capacity too. During the month, production from refineries run by public sector entities saw 37 per cent drop in production to 7.1 MT. The production from refineries of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) was seen 45 per cent down at 3 MT, compared to 5.5 MT in April 2019. Similarly, production from refineries of Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) was down 38 per cent. However, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) saw 21 per cent increase in production.
Production in joint venture refineries during April, 2020 were 9.3 MT which was 46 per cent lower than the production achieved in the corresponding month of last year. Production in private refineries during the month was down 13 per cent compared to the same time last year.
On the other hand, natural gas production in by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation in the nomination block during April 2020 was 1,725.69 mmscm, 15 per cent lower than April 2019. The shortfall in gas production was primarily due to less gas off take by consumers due to Covid-19 lockdown. Natural gas production by OIL in the nomination block also dipped 10 per cent compared to actual production in April 2019. “Reasons for this shortfall by OIL include loss of potential in Deohal area due to presence of carbon dioxide in production stream and less gas off take by consumers due to Covid19 lockdown,” said a government statement. Natural gas production by private joint ventures in production sharing contract (PSC) regime during April, 2020 was 233.59 mmscm, 40.67 per cent lower than production during the same time last year.
Crude oil production during April 2020 was 2.5 MT down 6.35 per cent lower than the production achieved in April 2019. Crude oil production by ONGC in the nomination block during April was 1.68 MT which was 0.53 per cent lower when compared with actual production in April 2019. According to a government statement, the reasons for shortfall in production include closure of wells in the Western Offshore due to less offtake by GAIL due to Covid-19 Lockdown and restriction of movements for field operations in Onshore fields due to Covid-19 lockdown.