India's fuel demand is likely to grow 4.7% in the next fiscal year beginning on April 1, initial government estimates showed. Fuel consumption in 2023-24, a proxy for oil demand, could rise to 233.8 million tonnes from the revised estimate of 222.9 million tonnes for the current fiscal year ending in March, according to government forecasts.

The estimates were released on the website of the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC), a unit of the federal oil ministry. India is the world's third-biggest oil importer and consumer. Domestic demand for gasoline, used mainly in passenger vehicles, is expected to rise by 7.1% to 37.8 million tonnes, while gasoil consumption was seen growing by about 4.2% to 90.6 million tonnes, the data showed. Indian state refiners' gasoline and gasoil sales rose in the first two weeks of February from the same period last month, preliminary data showed, boosted by a pick up in transport of goods and mobility.

Consumption of aviation fuel would likely increase by 14% to 8.6 million tonnes, compared with the revised estimate of 7.4 million tonnes for the year ending March 2023. Demand for petcoke, a better-burning alternative to coal, could increase 5.8% to 19 million tonnes, while demand for liquefied petroleum gas, used as cooking fuel, is estimated to grow 1.7% to 29.1 million tonnes, PPAC said.

The table below shows the government's estimates for the fiscal years ending March 2022 and March 2023. Product 2022-23 2023-24 % change LPG 28.6 29.1 1.7 Kerosene 0.5 0.5 0.0 Gasoline 35.1 37.8 7.1 Naphtha 12.3 12.1 -1.7 Gasoil 86.8 90.6 4.2 Jet fuel 7.4 8.6 14.0 LDO 0.7 0.7 0.0 Lubes/Greases 3.9 3.9 0.0 Fuel oil 6.8 7.1 4.2 Bitumen 7.9 8.5 7.1 Petcoke 17.9 19 5.8 Others 15 15.9 5.7 All Products 222.9 233.8 4.7 * LDO is light diesel oil. LPG is liquefied petroleum gas.

(Reporting by Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill)