As petro demand declines, IOC cuts refinery throughput

Firm to raise LPG output; no need for panic-booking, it says

March 25, 2020 10:23 pm | Updated 10:50 pm IST - MUMBAI

India’s largest fuel retailer Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has cut down the throughput from its refineries across the country by almost 30% as the demand for petroleum products such as petrol, diesel, aviation turbine fuel (ATF), fuel oil and bitumen, has reduced substantially following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country.

“Keeping this (falling demand) in view, Indian Oil has regulated crude oil throughput at most of its refineries by 25% to 30%,” said IOC in a statement.

“Offtake of finished products from refiners in the last one week has helped upcountry bulk storage locations of the Corporation build up their stocks for future-readiness once the countrywide lockdown is lifted and the demand picks up again.

“The Corporation is keeping a close watch on global cues and the changing market scenario and initiating action accordingly, IOC said.

In the midst of a reduction in demand for major petroleum products, there has been an increase in demand for LPG cooking gas.

Optimising operations

“To meet the rising demand for LPG, Indian Oil is taking steps to increase LPG production at its major refineries by optimising operations, improving LPG yield in LPG-producing units like FCC/Indmax, etc. Bottling plant operations and LPG refill deliveries are being streamlined accordingly,” said IOC, adding adequate stocks were available and there was no need for panic-booking by customers.

In these trying times, Indian Oil also said it was committed to ensuring emergency fuelling across all permitted modes.

The Corporation’s bulk storage installations, LPG bottling plants, fuel stations and LPG distributorships have been advised to operate under the advisory of their respective State governments/local administrations to maintain essential services in their geographies. The fuel stations are operating with skeletal staff to ensure personal hygiene and social distancing norms.

The Corporation has taken several precautionary measures with special emphasis on the health and safety of its employees, service-providers, contract work-force, petrol pump dealers and customer attendants, LPG distributors and delivery boys, etc.

A high-level committee has been formed to deal with all matters related to COVID-19, which has streamlined the working at the Corporation’s non-critical locations with work-from-home norms to ensure proper social distancing norms. However, adequate work-force is being deployed at critical refining, supply & distribution locations, with all health, hygiene and safety measures in place. Manning has also been rationalised in round-the-clock shift operations, fire and safety, medical and other essential services.

In the wake of the countrywide lockdown, the Corporation is addressing several issues related to movement and turnaround time of POL tank-trucks; restricted mobility and attendance of work-force at LPG distributorships and fuel stations; and restricted business hours of fuel stations at a few places.

Despite the many constraints, Indian Oil remains committed to ensuring fuel availability for its customers and emergency services while taking all the necessary precautionary measures.

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