Sharp rise in international crude prices
State-run oil major Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) on Tuesday raised petrol prices by Rs. 2.95 a litre.
The hike would come into effect from Tuesday night. This would be the sixth hike after petrol price deregulation in June this year.
The other two oil marketing companies (OMCs), Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) are likely to follow suit only from Thursday night.
The move to hike prices, immediately after the conclusion of the winter session of Parliament, was due to the sharp hike in the crude oil prices in the international market, said Petroleum Minister Murli Deora.
“We had no alternative but to hike prices as the international crude oil prices have risen sharply. Still, we have tried to minimise the impact on the people. There is no hike in the prices of kerosene oil and LGP cylinders, mostly consumed by the poor and the common man,” Mr. Deora said. The state-run OMCs on November 9 raised the price of petrol marginally by Re. 0.32 a litre. They were told to hold back further hike till the end of the Parliament session.
Since June 26, when petrol price was deregulated, the IOC, the BPCL and the HPCL revised rates six times as crude oil jumped from $73-74 a barrel at the time of deregulation to the current levels of $90 a barrel.
The IOC, the HPCL, and the BPCL are currently losing Rs. 4.17 a litre on the sale of petrol. A similar hike in diesel rates is likely to be considered by an Empowered Group of Ministers, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, that is likely to meet on December 22.
The Indian crude oil basket stood at $89.34 a barrel on Monday. It averaged $88.47 a barrel in December as against $79 at the time of the last hike on November 9.
On diesel, the three firms are losing about Rs. 5 a litre.
Despite the hike, the OMCs are likely to end the fiscal with close to Rs. 65,000 crore revenue loss on the sale of diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene below cost.