India’s oil appetite is growing

India passes China by the middle of the next decade as the country with the biggest appetite for oil and its refineries can’t keep up, Wood Mackenzie found.

India faces an uphill task as it takes on China as the country with the biggest appetite for oil. File Photo by Oskari Porkka/Shutterstock
India faces an uphill task as it takes on China as the country with the biggest appetite for oil. File Photo by Oskari Porkka/Shutterstock

Economists at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries expect the Chinese economy to grow by 6.6 percent this year. India’s economy is on pace to grow 7.3 percent this year and 7.4 percent for 2019.
Sushant Gupta, a research director for consultant group Wood Mackenzie, said he expects India will pass China as the country with the largest demand for oil by 2024, accounting for about 30 percent of total oil demand growth.

For domestic capacity, that growth is a problem. Refining capacity would need to maybe double in order to keep up with the demand for transport fuels alone.

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“This is clearly an uphill task, unless domestic refiners can commit to their planned capacity additions,” Gupta stated in a report emailed to UPI.

If the country can’t find ways to produce its own gasoline, it will have to look to imports. Countries with spare capacity are in the European Union or the United States, though Wood Mackenzie said the trade distances could create concerns for a growing India.

Year-over-year, Indian imports of petroleum, crude oil and petroleum products increased more than 40 percent.

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In June, the Ministry of Power and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy in India outlined incremental increases in renewable purchase obligations through 2022. Non-solar obligations for all state territories increase from 10.25 percent to 10.5 percent, while solar obligations increase from 7.25 percent to 10.5 percent.

India is getting renewable energy support from its European partners. French President Emmanuel Macron and Isabelle Kocher, the CEO of French energy company ENGIE, met early this year with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the inauguration of the Mirzapur solar power plant, a 101 megawatt facility contracted to the French company in 2016.

ByDaniel J. Graeber