No September green shoots for oil and gas production

Natural gas, petroleum products witness sharpest decline

The impact of COVID-19 lockdowns and the consequent lower demand, continued to dampen India’s oil and gas production in September, with output shrinking sharply compared with a year earlier, as per official data released on Friday.

The sharpest year-on-year contraction was recorded in natural gas production (-10.7%), followed by petroleum products (-9.49%) and processed crude oil (-8.8%). Crude oil output slid 6.05%.

Between April and September, processed crude oil and petroleum products saw the sharpest decline from a year earlier — 20.3% and 16.3%, respectively.

Shy of targets

All four product categories are significantly short of their production targets for the year. ONGC cited the shutdown of its Hazira plant following a fire in late September and the related closure of its western offshore gas wells apart from ‘COVID-19 implications’ delaying work on new sub-sea wells as reasons for a 6.84% drop in natural gas output. OIL, which posted a 13.4% fall in September, partly blamed low demand for gas from major customers.

Private players such as Reliance Industries as well as joint ventures operating under the production-sharing contract regime, also cited COVID-19 as a reason for the 26.7% drop in September’s natural gas output. A couple of players blamed ‘further reduced gas offtake’ from power plant customers and delay in a new plant’s commissioning due to COVID-19.

RIL informed the government that ‘project progress’ of its D-34 offshore gas field in the Krishna Godavari basin ‘was on track till the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic and despite the pandemic constraints/lockdown, best efforts were being made to overcome the situation.’ The field was expected to begin production by June 2020, which has since been pushed to the second half of this year.

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