India refines more oil than the domestic requirement and the government seeks to develop the country as a refinery hub, the Lok Sabha was informed on Monday.
Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that domestic requirement is 160 mmt, while India refines 215 mmt.
He said it helps the country earn foreign exchange.
Pradhan said the country also seeks to fulfil the need of SAARC countries (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) and other developing economies.
He said while some Gulf countries produce crude, they lack refining capacity. This, he said, has led to a situation where crude is cheaper while the refined product is costly in those countries.
The minister was responding to a supplementary on the country reaching a saturation point in refined oil production.
He said while several companies have applied for a refinery in the private sector, Essar and Reliance have been contributing to the country's refinery production.
The refinery sector was delicenced in June 1998 and a refinery can be set up anywhere in India by a private or public sector company depending on its techno-commercial viability.
"The present capacity is more than the demand of
petroleum products in the country. Hence, the country
is now a net exporter of petroleum products. India has been exporting surplus petroleum products since 2001-02," he said.
India exported petroleum products to the tune of R3,68,279 crore during 2013-14.