The country’s top refiner, Indian Oil Corp. expects demand for gasoline and petrol to reach pre-pandemic levels in the first half next fiscal year, from the beginning April 2021, said Chairman of Indian Oil Corp., SM Vaidya.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the world’s third-biggest oil importer and consumer, India has experienced a sharp fall in demand for fuel. The fuel demand of India in August slipped further away and reached its most significant monthly decline since the lockdown. At the same time, petroleum consumption during April-July period has witnessed a weak growth of about 22.5 per cent.
However, at the Virtual Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference, Vaidya said that the recent recovery in the local sales of automobiles, including tractors and passenger vehicles, and the forthcoming festive season might uplift the demand of fuel towards the Pre-COVID levels by the end of this year. “We also expect motor spirit and diesel demand to catch up to the pre-COVID level in the first half of 2021-22 as the pandemic probably should have been under control by then,” added Vaidya.
Vaidya said that IOC might review some of its long-term expansion plans to be affected by the pandemic, which will affect ‘pace and time’ of fuel demand growth in India. IOC is also looking for diversifying revenue streams, and for that, it is expanding in petrochemical capacity by 70% from the current 3.2 million tonnes a year. Vaidya added, “the integration of petrochemicals and niche products in our core business is key for sustaining competitive margins and growth.”