Mumbai: Union Petroleum Minister Murli Deora on Saturday said the government was considering a further reduction of up to Rs. 5 a litre in petrol, Rs. 3 a litre in diesel and Rs. 25 in LPG (cooking gas) cylinder in the next few days.

“We have talked to the Prime Minister; in the coming days we are trying to reduce the prices of petrol, diesel and LPG, give us 10 to 15 days,” Mr. Deora told reporters here.

He said oil companies had minimised the losses on petrol and diesel, as crude oil prices had dipped to $40 a barrel from its peak of $147 a barrel in July last. “From this quarter onwards, we expect the oil marketing companies to start making profits. But if the crude oil price rises beyond $40 a barrel, then it [profit] will not happen.”

Asked about a reduction in kerosene prices, he said it was already available at the cheapest rate in India of Rs.9 a litre. On December 6, the government reduced prices of petrol and diesel by Rs. 5 and Rs. 2 a litre, respectively, as global crude prices hovered around a four-year low.

Fuel prices in the country are still regulated by the government and there were indications they may be deregulated by February if crude prices stay at $45 a barrel. “It is still under consideration,” Mr. Deora said in reply to a question on when fuel prices would be freed from government control. – PTI

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