Indian Oil product exports rise 49%

By agencies   |   Monday, 27 February 2006, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: India's energy exports rose 49 percent in January from a year ago as refiners raised crude oil processing in a sluggish domestic market, official data showed.

Exports of fuel oil rose 70 percent as higher hydropower generation reduced the need to produce more costly electricity using liquid fuel. Indian manufacturers often set up dedicated power plants, usually fired by fuel oil, as a cushion against erratic supplies from state-run utilities.

"Hydropower generation rose 19 percent between April and December but thermal power increased only 1.5 percent. This is affecting oil demand," a government official said. Naphtha exports rose 47 percent to 352,300 tons but imports of the same product jumped 80 percent to 278,100 tons, reducing net supplies of Indian naphtha to the Asian market.

India's naphtha exports, which have risen in the last two years as imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) triggered fuel substitution, are expected to fall because of scheduled maintenance of refineries and local sales.

Diesel exports rose 57 percent to 973,300 tons out of total exports of 2.17 million tons. Crude oil imports rose 5.7 percent to supply additional demand from refiners, who stepped up crude processing by 5.2 percent.

Imports of refined products fell 8.9 percent, while domestic demand declined about 1 percent, encouraging oil firms to export refined products. The government revised the domestic sales data and said January sales fell 0.7 percent to 9.59 million tons against earlier estimates of a 1 percent fall to 9.25 million tons.

Revised data showed that naphtha sales fell 11.9 percent against 16.3 percent estimated earlier. There were marginal changes in sales numbers of other products.

Cumulative sales since April, the start of India's fiscal year, have fallen 1.2 percent from the same period in 2004/05 because of a high base, a fall in naphtha consumption and more recently, declining use of fuel oil for power generation.

The International Energy Agency has estimated that India's oil demand grew about 1.5 percent to 2.63 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2005, and is expected rise another 2 percent to 2.68 million bpd this year.

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