INDIAN GASOLINE EXPORTS UP 3.8%
India's gasoline exports in 2016 could reach 16.50 million mt, up around 3.8%, or 610,000 mt, from the previous year, amid an increase in domestic production, Platts data showed Tuesday.
Gasoline production is set to grow in 2016 due to the commissioning of Indian Oil Corp.'s 2.9 million mt/year continuous catalytic reformer at its greenfield 15 million mt/year (300,000 b/d) Paradip refinery, and completion of Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd.'s gasoline capacity expansion at its Kochi refinery by 6 million mt/year to 15.5 million mt/year (310,000 b/d) sometime in May, according to Platts reports.
Gasoline production at BPCL's Kochi refinery is expected to reach 2.240 million mt/year around May 2016, up from the current 1.115 million mt/year, Platts has reported earlier.
"If Paradip and Kochi meet their production targets, India could have an additional 1.9 million mt of gasoline available for export in 2016," according to an analyst with Platts Oil Analytics.
Private refiners Reliance and Essar Oil are the country's main gasoline exporters.
REDUCTION IN IMPORTS
The additional gasoline production from these state-owned refiners could potentially reduce imports this year. Import volumes tripled in 2015 to 994,000 mt, data from India's Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell showed.
In 2014, gasoline imports into India stood at 328,000 mt, the data showed.
For 2016, imports are estimated to fall by 34% on year to 650,000 mt based on a consumption growth of around 8% in 2016, according to Platts Oil Analytics.
Indian gasoline consumption jumped around 15% year-on-year to a record high 21.09 million mt in 2015, data from India's Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell showed.
Taking into consideration India's domestic demand growth averaging 8.7% per year since 2010, the country's consumption in 2016 is estimated to reach 22.77 million mt, according to Platts Oil Analytics.
The rise in Indian gasoline demand was largely due to a preference for the motor fuel over diesel after prices were deregulated last year and higher passenger vehicle sales, trade sources have said.
According to a research note published by Credit Suisse last May, India has seen a structural shift from diesel to gasoline for four-wheel vehicles and increasing consumer preference for scooters, which consume more fuel for the same distance traveled versus motorbikes.
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