NEW DELHI: India's fuel demand will pick up as authorities eased Monday's restrictions on industrial activity and transportation in areas that have contained the spread of the coronavirus, oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan said in the social networks.
The sale of diesel and gasoline by state companies also shows signs of reactivation of demand. Sales of two diesel fuels and gasoline in the latter part of April recovered from the first half of the month, according to provisional industry data provided by two sources, who asked not to be identified.
"Sales of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel have been reduced by 70% in April from the previous year," said Pradhan in Hindi.
"From April 17, some activity was resumed in rural India and, from today, it will intensify in the rest of the country, which will increase demand."
Last month, the sale of gasoline and diesel by state companies fell 61% and 57% compared to the previous year, the data showed, compared to a decrease of 64% and 61% in the first half of April.
The state companies, Indian Oil Corp, Hindustan Petroleum Corp and Bharat Petroleum, own around 90% of India's retail fuel outlets.
The national blockade, among the strictest in the world, is easing in some areas with fewer infections, although it will continue until May 17, the government said last week. The measure was adopted on March 25 and extended twice.
"This is an unprecedented situation when the demand for fuel and oil has dropped dramatically due to the blockade," added Pradhan. Despite all these challenges, the supply chain is intact and the refineries are operating. "
Indian refineries, which had reduced crude processing due to a drop in fuel demand, are now gradually increasing production.
"There are signs of a pickup in demand that should be accentuated with more relaxation coming," said MK Surana, president of HPCL.
Processing of crude from Indian state refineries & # 39; definitely & # 39; it will increase with a pickup in demand, he added.
India's fuel sales in April fell about 50%, the same level as in the first half, as sales of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or cooking gas eased later in the month.
State-owned retailers sold 12% more LPG in April than the previous year, while jet fuel sales plunged about 92%, according to the data.
In its latest report, the International Energy Agency said that India's annual fuel consumption, an indicator of oil demand, would drop 5.6% in 2020, against a growth forecast of 2.4% in his March report.

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