New Delhi: India’s oil import bill is likely to jump by a quarter to $87.7 billion in the current fiscal year which ends this weekend as international oil prices have surged. India had imported 213.93 million tonnes (MT) of crude oil in 2016-17 for $70.196 billion or Rs4.7 lakh crore.

For 2017-18, the imports are pegged at 219.15 MT for $87.725 billion (Rs5.65 lakh crore), according to the latest data available from oil ministry’s Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC).

India relies more than 80% on imports to meet its oil needs. During first 11 months of current fiscal (April 2017 to February 2018), the country imported 195.7MT crude oil for $63.5 billion. The basket of crude oil that India imports averaged $55.74 per barrel in the April-February period as compared to $47.56 a barrel in 2016-17 and 46.17 in 2015-16.

“April 2017-February 2018 crude oil imports are based on actuals and for March 2018, crude oil imports are estimated at crude oil price $65 per barrel and exchange rate Rs65 to a US dollar," PPAC said.

Every dollar per barrel change in crude oil prices impacts the import bill by Rs823 crore ($0.13 billion). The same is also the impact when currency exchange rate fluctuates by Re1 per US dollar. Domestic crude oil production was almost flat at 32.6MT in April-February. It was 36MT in whole of 2016-17 and 36.9MT in the previous fiscal.

As against this, domestic consumption has been rising—from 184.7MT in 2015-16 to 194.6MT in 2016-17. It was 186.2MT in first 11 months of 2017-18, according to PPAC. Data also showed that the share of high sulphur crude in total crude oil processed increased to 75% during April-February, from 72.4% in the corresponding period a year ago.

The trend indicates the increasing complexity of state-run refineries.

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