New Delhi: A drop in global crude prices does not offer the government any immediate scope for reduction in domestic fuel prices, although India’s crude basket price has fallen over 8% in two months.
“It (fall in crude prices) is a happy sign. It is a welcome development. But there is no scope for reduction in domestic retail prices,” petroleum minister Murli Deora told reporters here.
Crude oil prices have fallen to below $113 a barrel this week from all-time high of $147 per barrel witnessed last month.
The basket of crude oil India buys averaged $109.88 per barrel, down from $119 a barrel price on 4 June when petrol, diesel and domestic cooking gas prices were raised.
However, retailers Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum continue to lose money on fuel sales, Deora said. “There still are huge under-recoveries (on fuel sales). I don’t see how we can reduce retail prices when our companies continue to lose money.”
Fuel prices in India are pegged at $68 per barrel, much lower than the current prices in international market.
“Our retail prices are pegged much lower (current international crude prices). There is no scope for reduction in petrol and diesel prices as of now,” he said.
The government had in June raised petrol price by Rs5 per litre, diesel by Rs3 a litre and domestic LPG by Rs50 per cylinder.
The fall in international prices would help cut down on the projected revenue loss. At the time of 5 June increase in fuel prices, the revenue loss on sale of petrol, diesel, LPG and kerosene was put at Rs2,46,600 crore for the full year.