Stating that a review on the revision of petroleum prices would take place soon, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) chairman, R. S. Butola on Monday said that a decision on this issue would be taken by the Government keeping in mind the sharp rise in international crude oil prices.

In his first interaction with journalists since he took over as the IOC chairman, Mr. Butola, however, denied that the prices of petrol and diesel were not being revised due to Assembly election in five States.

"We would indulge in rate hike at the earliest. We are assessing the situation and would do the needful at the appropriate time. We have not direction from the Government to revise or not to revise the prices of petrol and diesel. We have to watch the national interest and that of the consumers," he remarked.

The government had in June last year freed petrol pricing from its control and state-run firms had on as many as seven occasions changed rates in line with international prices before deciding in the second half of January to freeze rates. IOC is losing around Rs. 7 per litre on petrol currently. After including the local sales tax or VAT, the desired increase in price comes to about Rs. 7.50 a litre in Delhi.

"We have decided to take these losses for some time," Mr. Butola said.

IOC was losing Rs. 297 crore per day on selling diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene at government-controlled rates, he said. "We are losing Rs. 18.11 per litre on diesel, Rs. 28.33 a litre on kerosene and Rs. 315.86 per 14.2-kg domestic LPG cylinder,’’ he added.

The basket of crude oil that India buys averages $120 per barrel currently. The government had in June last year allowed state-run oil firms to fix the price of petrol but continued to control the prices of diesel, kerosene and cooking gas with a view to control inflation.