Ahead of the meeting of the Empowered Group of Ministers for reviewing the price of diesel and LPG, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said all issues would be considered before arriving at any decision.

“Prices of petroleum products are always under review.

No decision has been taken on hiking prices of LPG and diesel. Everything will have to be factored in before any decision which will be taken at an appropriate time,” Mr. Mukherjee, who is chairman of the eGOM, told reporters here.

“Let us not press the panic button. The situation is difficult and we will do what is needed”, he said in a reply to a question on the issue.

Mr. Mukherjee was speaking on the sidelines of the Indian Oil Corporation’s Haldia refinery expansion programme.

With current oil prices hovering at USD 91 per barrel, under—recoveries on account of selling diesel, kerosene and LPG cylinders were to the extent of Rs 5.41 per litre, Rs 16.88 per litre and Rs 272.19 respectively, he said.

The finance minister said on earlier occasions too, the oil companies had faced difficult times but came out of it without becoming sick.

Meanwhile, speaking at a function after inaugurating the new hydrocracker unit here, Mr. Mukherjee said that India had emerged as a major exporter of petroleum products in spite of having a low production base.

The new hydrocracker unit and the Haldia refinery expansion is estimated to have cost nearly Rs 2869 crore.

The hydrocracker unit would manufacture high speed diesel conforming to BS III and BS IV standards.

India’s crude production at the moment is 35 million tonnes and is set to go up by six to seven million tonnes, Mr. Mukherjee said.

Petroleum secretary S. Sunderashan said that India’s refining capacity would rise from 185 million tonnes to 240 million tonnes by the end of 11th Five Year Plan.

The refining capacity will be enough to sustain till 2020. All the expansion has been done from internal accruals of the oil companies without any budgetary support,” Mr. Sunderashan said.

Chairman and managing director of India Oil Corporation B M Bansal said that post expansion, refining capacity would rise from six million tonnes to 7.5 million tonnes.

Petroleum and natural gas minister Murli Deora was also present at the occasion.

RELATED NEWS

Petrol dearer by up to Rs. 2.54 per litreJanuary 15, 2011