Thursday, March 5, 2009

REUTERS: Jan refinery runs drop 2.6 pct, Reliance dives

Output by India's oil firms in January fell at its fastest pace in nearly four years, slipping 2.6 percent from a year ago, as weakening global demand for fuels slashed runs at the world's largest refining hub. Refiners processed 3.149 mn barrels per day (bpd) of crude in January, compared to 3.233 mn bpd a year earlier. In May 2005, throughput slumped an annual 6.1 percent. Combined crude processing at Reliance Industries' two export-focused plants at Jamnagar in western Gujarat state dived 12.1 percent to 668,450 bpd.

Reliance commissioned its new 580,000 bpd plant in December, turning Jamnagar into the world's biggest refining complex with capacity of 1.24 mn bpd. Processing at its older plant dropped 17.5 percent in October 2007 when maintenance closed half the refinery. Crude processing at state refiners fell 5.1 percent during the month, with operations hurt both by a strike by oil sector officials and shutdowns at some plants. Overall, production at Indian refineries in January stood at 105.9 percent of installed capacity, compared to 108.5 percent in the year ago period.

Crude oil output during the month was down 8.1 percent at 628,960 bpd, the data showed. India produced 2.6 bn cubic metres of natural gas in the month, down 4 percent from a year ago.

Gas output was 31.1 percent below the government's target due to delay in production from Reliance's eastern offshore field in the Krishna Godavari basin, the government said. Output from the fields is due to begin this month.


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