With the international crude oil prices showing signs of softening, the oil marketing companies (OMCs) are unlikely to undertake any further hike in petrol prices during their fortnightly review on June 1. An indication to this effect was given by the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) chairman, R.S. Butola, who said that the common man had already been burdened with a Rs. 5 per litre hike recently and there was no move to increase the burden further.

“Unlike the past weeks, our under recovery from petrol should be around Rs.1.10 per litre which is a bit comfortable than what we suffered in the past. We are certainly not looking at any kind of hike on June 1, and would review the situation next fortnight,” he added.

Mr. Butola said the company was still losing Rs. 4.58 per litre on petrol even after the steep hike of Rs. 5 per litre from May 15. However, from June 1, the under-recovery is likely to come down to around Rs. 1.15 per litre.

Ruling out any kind of mechanical reaction to the fluctuation in crude oil prices, Mr. Butola said: “Ours is a dynamic economy. If losses again become unbearable, we will take the appropriate decision,” he said.

Unwritten instruction

Ever since the Centre deregulated the pricing of petrol from June last, the State-owned oil marketing companies (OMCs) have been fixing the petrol price as per market rate. But in the wake of Assembly elections in five states, the petroleum ministry had given “unwritten” instruction to OMCs not to effect any hike in petrol prices despite the rise in global crude oil price. Officials in the Petroleum Ministry said the OMCs have been given an “oral direction” not to hike petrol prices any further, despite them being decontrolled in June last year.

“The Empowered Group of Ministers, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, is scheduled to meet on June 9 to take a decision on these three petroleum products. We are keeping our fingers crossed,” a senior Ministry official remarked.