Despite slowdown in the economy, India’s fuel consumption is expected to grow by 6 per cent next financial year. Crude oil imports are also slated for a rise, petroleum secretary RS Pandey said.
“The economy continues to grow at over 7 per cent and so we expect demand for petroleum products to (grow) 6 per cent this year and around the same levels even next year.”
However, industry figures are at variance with Pandey’s version. Fuel consumption in April-November 2008 grew by only 4 per cent to 86.6 million tonnes.
Industry officials felt Pandey may have referred to fuel sales by public sector firms.“Certainly, there is negative growth in products like jet fuel, fuel oil, naphtha and even industrial LPG sold by the private firms. The cumulative growth this fiscal may be 3.5-4 per cent,” an industry official said.
“We began the fiscal with a forecast of 137.5 million tonnes of product consumption considering 6.5 per cent growth rate. However, the demand pattern led to a revision to 133.4 million tonnes and we are not sure if we can end the year with even this,” he said.
Fuel consumption grew 6.8 per cent to 128.94 million tonnes in 2007-08 fiscal. Pandey was talking to reporters after inaugurating the oil and gas conservation fortnight 2009, planned by the Petroleum Conservation and Research Association (PCRA)
India imported 121.7 million tonnes of crude for $68 billion in 2007-08, and 86.1 million tonnes in April-November for $63.76 billion.’