Madrid: India’s crude import bill may jump up 76% to $110-120 billion this year based on current global prices, Petroleum Secretary M S Srinivasan said on 3 July.
“It will go up (even more) if the prices rise further,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the 19th World Petroleum Congress as crude prices rose to a record $145 a barrel today.
In 2007-08, the import bill was $67.98 billion and the country had imported 121.672 million tonnes of crude. This year, the import would be higher because Reliance Petroleum’s export-oriented 29 MT refinery is set for commissioning in August-September.
He said fuel consumption growth will be 5-6%, but if the current pricing policies continue, wherein auto fuels are cheaper than industrial fuel like naphtha, the demand may go up because there is a tendency for power generators to switch to diesel instead of fuel oil and naphtha for electricity generation.
While industrial fuels are directly linked to market rates, auto fuels like petrol and diesel and cooking medium fuels like kerosene and LPG are subidized.
The government had increased petrol and diesel prices on 5 June, but oil marketing companies are still selling these fuels below cost price.