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India's Largest Refiner Plans To Ramp Up Capacity This Decade

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), the largest oil refiner in the country, looks to boost its crude oil refining capacity by one-third over the next half-decade as it believes gasoline and diesel demand will continue to rise in India, IOC’s chairman Shrikant Madhav Vaidya told Bloomberg.

“I firmly believe all forms of fuel will have a place to stay -- fossil fuels will be there,” Vaidya told Bloomberg in an interview published on Friday.

“Consumption is going from leaps and bounds and energy security is the primary concern for me, which may not be the concern to the developed world,” IOC’s top executive said.

IOC is investing US$13 billion in its capacity expansion, which will raise its crude oil processing capabilities to as much as 2.15 million barrels per day (bpd).

IOC operates 11 of India’s 23 refineries and has a 51-percent share of crude and product pipelines (by length) and a 42-percent share in number of fuel retail outlets, Fitch Ratings said last week, when it affirmed IOC’s rating at BBB-.

The top Indian oil refiner is taking some steps in investing in low-carbon energy, its chairman told Bloomberg. IOC experiments with hydrogen for transport, invests in solar, wind and battery technology, and plans to power new units with renewable energy, Vaidya said.

IOC’s strategy continues to be based on demand for fossil fuels, unlike that of oil-to-telecoms conglomerate Reliance Industries. Last month, chairman Mukesh Ambani said that Reliance Industries plans to invest more than US$10 billion in three years in a new business unit that will build a solar module, battery storage, electrolyser, and fuel cell factories.

As part of a drive to be part of India-made energy transition solutions, Reliance will now create a renewables division in which it will invest US$10.1 billion (750 billion Indian rupees) in three years, India’s richest man Ambani said. Reliance Industries owns the biggest refinery in India and the biggest refining hub in the world, Jamnagar. The refinery has a crude oil processing capacity of 1.24 million bpd.  

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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