India, the world’s third largest energy consumer, has got enough petrol, diesel and cooking gas (LPG) in stocks to last much beyond the three-week nationwide lockdown as all plants and supply areas are completely operational, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) Chairman Sanjiv Singh stated.
Singh, who continued to supervise the mammoth operations of making sure that fuel reaches everywhere in the country despite bereavement of his father on the day 21-day lockdown was announced, stated there is no shortage of any fuel in the nation and consumers should not resort to panic booking of LPG refills.
“We have mapped demand for all fuel for whole April and beyond. We have refineries operating at levels enough to fulfill all of the demand. Besides all bulk storage points, LPG distributorships and petrol pumps are operating normally. There is absolutely no lack of shortage of any fuel,” he informed.
The nationwide lockdown that has led companies to shut down businesses, suspended flights, stopped trains and brought nearly whole vehicular movement to a stop, has impacted fuel demand with petrol, diesel and aviation turbine fuel (ATF) revealing negative growth.
With majority of cars and two-wheelers going off the road, petrol demand has dropped by 8 per cent in March while diesel demand has been dropped 16 per cent. ATF demand has dropped by 20 per cent, he stated.
“LPG consumption however continues to increase and we are servicing all customers,” he stated adding refill demand observed over 200 per cent jump as the lockdown was declared.
The refills took place after panic booking as in the absence of the exhausting existing ones, many could not take deliveries of new cylinders, he stated adding even consumers with double cylinder connections had ordered for refills without exhausting even one cylinder.
“There is absolutely no need for panic booking. We have enough stocks to fulfill all demand,” he stated.
Singh said because of the less demand of liquid fuels, refinery run-rates have been reduced by 25-30 per cent – indicating they would produce up to 30 per cent less of all fuel – petrol, diesel, ATF, naphtha and LPG.
On March 26, the government declared a Rs 1.7 lakh crore ($22 billion) package to deal with hardships caused by the lockdown. This involved providing free foodgrain and 3 LPG cylinders during April to June to poor.
“We may need 850,000 tonne of additional LPG and we have tied up import for all of it,” Singh stated.
“To make lockdown a success, LPG is the key as without cooking fuel people would not stay home. So we have made adequate arrangements to make it available,” he added.
IOC supplies to almost half of the 275 million active LPG customers.
“The terminals and depots, LPG distributorships and fuel stations are well-stocked… Consumers are advised not to panic or resort to hoarding and panic-buying… or visit the showrooms and godowns of their LPG distributorships for obtaining refills,” he added.
Singh said regardless of the challenges posed by Covid-19 Coronavirus lockdown, IOC is fully ready to maintain smooth supply of petroleum products to its clients. The firm has put in place robust strategies for petroleum movement and stocks at upcountry locations.
Even after restricted movement of people and automobiles, IOC is making sure loading of petrol, diesel and LPG at its bulk storage/distribution points with optimized manpower.
About 987 people in India have been confirmed as being infected with the coronavirus. The virus has killed 25 people in the country.