Petrol costlier in India than in neighbours, US
costs more in India when compared to neighbouring countries like
Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and is even dearer than what is
charged in the US, the petroleum ministry said in a written reply
in the Rajya Sabha Tuesday.
New Delhi: Consumers
may have to bear another round of price hike in auto and cooking
fuels as the government is mulling a review in the wake of soaring
cost of crude and pressure from state-run oil marketing companies
(OMCs) which are incurring heavy losses.
"The perspective of our ministry is that prices of all petroleum
products need to be looked at again," Petroleum Minister Jaipal S.
Reddy told reporters here Friday.
But the minister was quick to point that fuel price hike was a
sensitive issue. The United Progressive Alliance's partner, the
Trinamoool Congress, and opposition parties are likely to oppose
an increase in prices.
"However, we are living in a real world, not only in the world of
numbers. For those decisions I will have to go to the meeting of
empowered group of ministers," said Reddy.
Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum have asked
the government for about Rs.4,500 crore on account of petrol alone
as they were unable to revise prices since December.
At that time the price of Brent crude, which is a benchmark for
deciding domestic retail rates was at $109 per barrel. On Thursday
it was up 17 percent at $123.31 a barrel in London for May
Selling subsidised diesel, kerosene and cooking gas, all of which
are still regulated fuels have also been bleeding the OMCs.
The biggest OMC, Indian Oil Corp, said the question of a price
hike and its quauntum would depend on the government reimbursing
the firms for losses.
"Since we have requested the government and if the government is
to make us on the whole by reimbursing hundred percent of under
recoveries then there may not be a case," said Indian Oil chairman
Asked for how long they were willing to wait, he said: "Normally
the experience from the past has been that ... may be towards the
end of March or by the time we close our books."
Reddy also clarified that India would continue to import crude
Although Japan and 10 European nations have been exempted by the
US from financial sanctions, which it levies on purchase of
Iranian crude, India and China still face the risk of such action.
"We have a systematic plan for receiving oil from Iran. Our
companies need oil from Iran and we will continue to do that
without violating international law," said the minister.