The Indian basket reached its highest level this year at $78.95 per barrel on Wednesday.
Notwithstanding the continuing rise of crude oil prices in the international market that have touched the highest mark this year, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry on Thursday ruled out any immediate plans to raise petrol and diesel prices. Talking to journalists here, Petroleum Secretary R.S. Pandey said there was no proposal to raise fuel prices at present.
The price of India’s crude oil basket averaged $77.47 per barrel this month, up from $73.07 a barrel in October. The Indian basket reached its highest level this year at $78.95 per barrel on Wednesday.
Mr. Pandey said the volatility in international oil prices, that peaked to $147 per barrel in August last before dropping to $33 by year-end and then surging again, was bad for developing countries like India.
State-run Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) were losing Rs.3.85 per litre on petrol, Rs.3.71 per litre on diesel, Rs.16.34 per litre on kerosene sold through public distribution system (PDS) and Rs.201.88 per 14.2 kg domestic LPG cylinder due to firming up in international oil rates.
“I cannot say what will happen in the future, but right now we are not considering a price hike,” he said.
At the current rates, the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) and the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) are projected to lose Rs.45,160 crore on fuel sales this fiscal, he added.
Earlier this year, the government had decided to make good all the revenue loss on sale of domestic LPG and kerosene through issue of oil bonds, while the same on petrol and diesel would be mostly met by upstream firms like the Oil India Limited (OIL) and the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC).
“I guess the oil bonds may come through supplementary grants [spending] during the current winter session of Parliament,” Mr. Pandey said. In the absence of oil bonds, the HPCL and the BPCL posted net losses in the July-September quarter, while the IOC barely scrapped through. The government had last fiscal issued oil bonds worth Rs.71,292 crore.”