Iran crisis highlights India oil dependence

Vol 22, PW 20 (25 Jul 19) News in Brief

Iran's seizure of a British oil tanker in the strait of Hormuz on July 19 highlights just how dependent India is on oil from the Middle East, which accounts for two-thirds of its imports.

Yet figures released by the oil ministry's Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell (PP&AC) in its June 13, 2019 annual 'Ready Reckoner' show that once oil gets to India there's no shortage of refining capacity to convert it to petroleum products. Over the last 10 years India's refining capacity has grown a staggering 66.2% from 2.9m b/d in 2008 to 4.9m b/d in 2018, making it the fourth largest refiner in the world after the US, China and Russia.

In the same year India produced 262.4m tonnes of petroleum products but consumed just 211.6m tonnes - making it a net exporter. Imported oil accounted for 87.7% all oil processed in 2018-19 or 225.5m tonnes.

India's dependence on LNG imports also continues to grow. In the last fiscal it imported 21.7m tonnes or 28.69bn cubic metres of LNG worth more than $10bn.

Much of this was retailed as CNG, where sales across the country over the same period hit 3m tonnes, sold from 1730 CNG stations to 3.3m vehicles.