May 9 (Bloomberg) -- Fuel exports by Reliance Industries Ltd., India’s largest publicly traded company, remained near the highest this year in April as demand for gasoline increased.
The Mumbai-based company, which operates the world’s largest refining complex, shipped at least 2 million metric tons of fuel products from its Jamnagar facility last month, little changed from March, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg and vessel fixtures from Clarkson Research Services Ltd. March shipments were the highest so far this year.
Reliance, controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, is aiming to increase exports while state-owned rivals such as Indian Oil Corp. and Bharat Petroleum Corp. sell more fuel domestically at government-capped prices. Refinery shutdowns in Asia are drawing gasoline shipments to the region. Demand for the fuel in the U.S., the world’s biggest economy, also peaks during summer driving season, which lasts from the Memorial Day weekend in late May to the Labor Day holiday in early September.
Manoj Warrier, a spokesman for Reliance in Mumbai, didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment. All figures from Clarkson are for single-voyage bookings and exclude long-term charters. Shipbrokers aren’t obliged to report charters so the scope of data capture can vary from month to month.
Reliance exported at least 1.2 million tons of gasoline from Jamnagar in western India during April, compared with about 700,000 tons a month earlier, according to transmissions captured by AISLive on Bloomberg and data from Clarkson Research, a unit of the world’s biggest shipbroker.
At least 40 percent of the month’s gasoline shipments went to the U.S., while 25 percent went to Singapore, the data show. U.S. imports of gasoline jumped to 1.11 million barrels a day in the week ended April 29, the highest in three months, according to Energy Department data. Gasoline consumption rises when Americans take to the roads for summer vacations.
In Southeast Asia, Exxon Mobil Corp., the biggest U.S. oil company, shut parts of its Singapore refining complex for nine weeks starting March 9 for maintenance and upgrades. Indonesia’s PT Pertamina stopped fuel production at its Cilacap, Central Java, refinery from April 2 to April 8 after a fire broke out at a storage tank.
The Stena Paris was hired by Mercuria Energy Trading SA to transport 35,000 tons of gasoline to Singapore from the port of Sikka near Jamnagar, the Clarkson data show. The vessel sailed from near Sikka to Singapore in early April and was last tracked headed back to India’s west coast, according to ship transmissions captured by Bloomberg.
Reliance’s gasoil, or diesel, shipments dropped 33 percent to at least 470,000 tons as the end of the winter season reduced shipments to Europe. Destinations for diesel cargoes in April included the Middle East and Africa, the data show. The company also shipped 160,000 tons of naphtha to Japan and 120,000 tons of jet fuel to Europe.
The Nord Observer sailed from Sikka to the Saudi Arabian port of Jizan earlier this month, according to ship transmissions. The vessel was hired by Cargill Inc. to transport 40,000 tons of gasoil to the Middle East, the Clarkson data show. The tanker was last tracked near India’s west coast after heading back to Sikka from Jizan.
Reliance runs two refineries in the western Indian state of Gujarat, which are capable of processing heavier grades of crude. They have a processing capacity of 1.24 million barrels a day, and account for about 1.6 percent of global refining capacity, according to the company’s website.
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