New Delhi, Oct. 11: The countryís exports of petroleum products have shot up by 55 per cent to cross the $1.2-billion-mark during April to August this year from $784 million recorded in the same period last year.
Official figures accessed by The Telegraph show that the import bill for crude oil and petroleum goods such as LPG during this five-month period exceeded $7.4 billion compared with the corresponding figure of $6.9 billion for the previous year. The quantity of oil imports for the current year was also higher at 38.9 million tonnes compared with 37.6 million tonnes during the same period last year.
The increase in exports and the hardening of the rupee will neutralise the higher import bill as far as the foreign exchange outgo for the country is concerned.
The jump in exports has been the highest in the case of diesel which went up to $511 million during the first five months of the current year compared with $ 245 million in the same period of the previous year.
Petrol exports also more than doubled from $231 million to $361 million while aviation fuel exports registered a four-fold increase from $38 million to $122 million during the five-month period.
Naphtha exports, however, fell from $270 million last year to $224 million this year. On the positive side, naphtha imports into the country also declined sharply from $254 million to $91 million which goes to show that a greater proportion of the indigenous output was absorbed within the country this year.
The increased exports are also a reflection of the excess refining capacity in the country and the failure of demand for petroleum products to grow at the anticipated rate.
The exports have been made from the coastal refineries and the sales have been on an open tender basis in the spot market. Most of the petroleum goods exports have been to the Far-East markets.
Indian Oil Corporation, which has been exporting a million tonnes of petroleum products per annum during the last three years, expects to double its exports as it has entered the Sri Lankan retail market and has also procured a contract for supplying 0.5 million tonnes to Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. These supplies will be made from IOCís Chennai refinery.
Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) has also emerged as a big player with upstream oil giant ONGC taking over the company. The refinery is scheduled to process over 9.5 million tonnes of crude this year compared with 7.2 million tonnes last year. MRPL plans to export at least 3.6 million tonnes of petroleum products during the current fiscal.
Last year, the refinery had exported 2 million tonnes. Reliance Industries the big private sector player in the downstream refining business.