(Bloomberg) — For decades, diesel has underpinned India’s economic growth and the fortunes of its refiners, but the pandemic has caused the nation’s most consumed fuel to lose some of its luster.

Since Covid-19-lockdowns have eased across India, diesel consumption has trailed the rebound in gasoline with trucks remaining idle amid a softer economy. Motor fuel use, however, has benefited from people choosing their own cars and scooters over public transport to avoid the risk of infection.



a pile of luggage stacked on top of a truck: Idled Trucks Have India Fuel Demand Headed for Five-Year Low


© Bloomberg
Idled Trucks Have India Fuel Demand Headed for Five-Year Low

Trucks sit idle near a wholesale market in Delhi, India on Sept. 4.

Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg

While diesel is still king in India — fuel sales are double that of gasoline — the uneven demand recovery has created a unique challenge for India’s refiners, just as more headwinds emerge from the use of hydrogen and natural gas in major guzzlers such as trucks and buses.

“Personal mobility over public transport has supported gasoline, but diesel is getting knocked-out across the sectors,” said Senthil Kumaran, head of south Asia oil at industry consultant FGE. “It’s a structural shift in trends that we are witnessing. The refining system is caught at the crossroads, but it will gradually adjust to the change.”



Speed Breakers Ahead


© Bloomberg
Speed Breakers Ahead

Refiners are expected to focus on making less diesel and more gasoline and petrochemicals to respond to changing demand. Reliance Industries Ltd. has flagged a shift away from transport fuels, while Indian Oil Corp. has signaled greater diversification to reduce its dependence on its fuels business. The country’s biggest processor also plans to roll out a fleet of buses powered by a blend of hydrogen and compressed natural gas.

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Indian Oil Corp.’s foray into hydrogen-powered public transport follows a push by the government encouraging the

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Fouad Khamasi fills his taxi every day with about 40,000 Lebanese pounds’ worth of fuel. It could cost at least four times that much if subsidies come to an end.

FILE PHOTO: A man counts Lebanese pounds at a currency exchange shop in Beirut, Lebanon October 1, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

The Beirut cab driver, 53, can just about afford to buy fuel and feed his kids. He worries the price of subsidised foods and key imports – wheat, fuel, medicine – will skyrocket.

“These are the toughest days I’ve ever seen,” he said. “Some days, you stick your hand in your pocket and find nothing … I leave the house and just pray. Whatever I make, it does nothing. It’s a joke.”

Time and money are running out for Lebanon.

Foreign reserves have dropped far below what the state already deemed “dangerous levels” when it defaulted on its huge debt in March, meaning it cannot afford to keep subsidies for long.

Leaders in power for decades have yet to enact a financial rescue plan, a year after huge protests against them swept the country, and they have failed to secure aid from foreign donors.

Talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stalled earlier this year when Lebanese government officials, bankers and political parties could not agree over how big the losses were in the financial system and who should bear them.

After a massive explosion at Beirut’s port in August that killed nearly 200 people and caused billions of dollars worth of damage, former colonial power France stepped in.

But rival sectarian politicians could not get past the first hurdle on the French roadmap towards financial aid: naming a new cabinet quickly.

The currency, which has lost more than 80% of its

By Ellen Francis and Issam Abdallah

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Fouad Khamasi fills his taxi every day with about 40,000 Lebanese pounds’ worth of fuel. It could cost at least four times that much if subsidies come to an end.

The Beirut cab driver, 53, can just about afford to buy fuel and feed his kids. He worries the price of subsidised foods and key imports – wheat, fuel, medicine – will skyrocket.

“These are the toughest days I’ve ever seen,” he said. “Some days, you stick your hand in your pocket and find nothing … I leave the house and just pray. Whatever I make, it does nothing. It’s a joke.”

Time and money are running out for Lebanon.

Foreign reserves have dropped far below what the state already deemed “dangerous levels” when it defaulted on its huge debt in March, meaning it cannot afford to keep subsidies for long.

Leaders in power for decades have yet to enact a financial rescue plan, a year after huge protests against them swept the country, and they have failed to secure aid from foreign donors.

Talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stalled earlier this year when Lebanese government officials, bankers and political parties could not agree over how big the losses were in the financial system and who should bear them.

After a massive explosion at Beirut’s port in August that killed nearly 200 people and caused billions of dollars worth of damage, former colonial power France stepped in.

But rival sectarian politicians could not get past the first hurdle on the French roadmap towards financial aid: naming a new cabinet quickly.

The currency, which has lost more than 80% of its value against the U.S. dollar since last autumn, weakened after the French effort faltered.

Meanwhile, comments from officials indicating

By Ellen Francis and Issam Abdallah

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Fouad Khamasi fills his taxi every day with about 40,000 Lebanese pounds’ worth of fuel. It could cost at least four times that much if subsidies come to an end.

The Beirut cab driver, 53, can just about afford to buy fuel and feed his kids. He worries the price of subsidised foods and key imports – wheat, fuel, medicine – will skyrocket.

“These are the toughest days I’ve ever seen,” he said. “Some days, you stick your hand in your pocket and find nothing … I leave the house and just pray. Whatever I make, it does nothing. It’s a joke.”

Time and money are running out for Lebanon.

Foreign reserves have dropped far below what the state already deemed “dangerous levels” when it defaulted on its huge debt in March, meaning it cannot afford to keep subsidies for long.

Leaders in power for decades have yet to enact a financial rescue plan, a year after huge protests against them swept the country, and they have failed to secure aid from foreign donors.

Talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stalled earlier this year when Lebanese government officials, bankers and political parties could not agree over how big the losses were in the financial system and who should bear them.

After a massive explosion at Beirut’s port in August that killed nearly 200 people and caused billions of dollars worth of damage, former colonial power France stepped in.

But rival sectarian politicians could not get past the first hurdle on the French roadmap towards financial aid: naming a new cabinet quickly.

The currency, which has lost more than 80% of its value against the U.S. dollar since last autumn, weakened after the French effort faltered.

Meanwhile, comments from officials indicating

(Reuters) – U.S. crude oil stockpiles rose modestly, in line with expectations, while gasoline and distillate inventories dipped last week, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

    Crude inventories

rose by 501,000 barrels in the week to Oct. 2 to 492.9 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 294,000-barrel rise.
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Production was higher, rising to 11 million barrels per day from 10.7 million bpd in the previous week. That was a surprise to analysts, though that figure is likely to reverse in next week’s report as Hurricane Delta has already caused offshore facilities to shut.

“Domestic production was up 300k which was a bit bearish and may weigh on prices for a bit. Imports were up big 610k barrels and exports were down big. In my opinion those numbers are still being influenced by hurricane activity over the past couple of weeks,” said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho.

    Net U.S. crude imports

rose by 1.5 million bpd as exports alone dropped 853,000 bpd.
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Fuel demand improved, the EIA said, with product supplied rising for both gasoline and distillates, which include diesel and heating oil. Over the last four weeks, product supplied, a proxy for demand, is still down 15% from the year-ago period as the United States remains burdened by the coronavirus pandemic.

Futures prices fell, sinking after U.S. President Donald Trump cut off talks for a new stimulus package on Tuesday. U.S. crude

was down 3% to $39.40 a barrel while Brent

dropped 2.6% to $41.54 a barrel.

    U.S. gasoline stocks

fell by 1.4 million barrels in the week to 226.8 million barrels, their lowest since November of last year, compared with expectations for a 471,000-barrel drop.​
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    Distillate stockpiles

fell by 962,000 barrels, in line with expectations.
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