New Delhi: State-owned oil firms are losing 1.37 a litre on petrol despite last month’s 0.70 per litre price hike, oil minister S. Jaipal Reddy said on Tuesday, but did not indicate if the rates will go up anytime soon.

Reddy said that while the average price of crude oil in 2012-13 in the international market has been slightly lower than the average of 2011-12, the fall in the rupee’s value against the US dollar has made imports costlier by 7%.

An Indian Oil fuel pump in Bhubaneswar. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint

This has resulted in actual cost of crude oil purchased going up by 7% to 5,749 a barrel in 2012-13 from 5,365 last fiscal, he said.

“Due to rise in international price of petrol, their (oil companies’) under-recovery (or revenue loss) on sale of petrol is 1.37 per litre," Reddy said in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

He, however, did not say if the oil companies will raise the price of petrol, a commodity that was deregulated, or freed, from government control in June 2010.

“Since then (June 2010), the public sector oil marketing companies have been taking decision on the pricing of petrol in line with the international oil prices and market conditions," Reddy said.

This fiscal, oil firms have revised prices only on four occasions—raising them by a steep 7.54 a litre from 24 May before cutting them by 2.02 per litre from 3 June and by 2.46 a litre from 29 June. They last raised the petrol price by 0.70 a litre from 24 July.

“...though the average price of Indian basket of crude oil in terms of dollar per barrel this year is lower by 6% than the last year’s average price, but simultaneously due to depreciation in average value of rupee per US dollar by 14%, the average price...in rupee term this year has indeed increased by 7%," Reddy said.

Besides petrol, oil firms are losing 12.06 a litre on diesel, 28.54 a litre on kerosene and 231 per cylinder on domestic cooking gas. They lost 47,811 crore on sale of the three controlled products during the April-June quarter. This was on top of the 1,38,541 crore revenue loss in 2011-12.

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