Touted as the world's fastest growing economy, India's demand for oil is insatiable. The IMF's World Economic Outlook 2016 report states that India's growth is driven by private consumption, which has benefited from lower energy prices and higher incomes.
Over the past decade, India's crude oil imports have doubled to about 3.8 MMbpd, making it the third largest crude oil importer (behind China and the US). Its consumption of petroleum products rose a massive 11 percent in 2015 to 183.5 MT. With exponential growths in the manufacturing & industrial sectors, India's oil demand is forecast to reach 6.6 MMbpd (329 MT) by 2030 & 10 MMbpd (498 MT) through 2040 making it the fastest growing crude customer in the world as per the International Energy Agency.
The Domestic demand for fuels is the catalyst for downstream capacity growth. As on date the country's 23 refineries have a total capacity of 4.6 MMbpd (230 MT) that's makes it the second largest refiner in Asia (after China) & the fourth largest in the world. However considering the projected demand over the next decades, India's current excess capacity is very small. The country would thus need to add another 100 MT of refining capacity by 2030. Refineries in India, both in the private and public sectors, are therefore scaling up, investing in new technologies, creating world-class facilities & adhering to regulatory compliances, investing over USD 30 billion in next five years. A 1.2 MMbpd (60 MT) Greenfield refinery has also been announced by the government on the west coast at an investment of another USD 30 billion. The proposed project, will be completed in two phases, with two crude units totaling 40 million tons in the first phase and a third one in the second phase including petrochemical units.
The government proposes to set up at least three petroleum, chemical, and petrochemical investment regions (PCPIR) that will benefit the downstream sector. With the drop in oil prices, refiners in India are also filling up their petroleum reserves as a hedge against price volatility and supply disruptions. Oil storage capacity of 5.3 MMt is being built at three locations: Visakhapatnam (already operational), Mangalore, and Padur. Capital expenditures are also likely to escalate due to new regulations to curb air pollution and produce Euro-6 standard fuels by 2020.
It is obvious that with the convergence of multiple factors and a conducive investment climate, India's downstream sector is on the brink of exponential growth, providing mega opportunities to strategic investors, technology licensors, service providers, equipment suppliers, and EPC contractors.
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