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NEW DELHI: In a first, diesel prices have followed petrol prices in breaching the 100 mark. Diesel was retailing at 100.05 a litre in Ganganagar in Rajasthan, after the state-run oil marketing companies (OMCs) raised the transportation fuel prices on Saturday.

In comparison, petrol was selling at 107.22 per litre at Ganganagar. With state run OMCs raising petrol and diesel prices in Delhi on Saturday, petrol and diesel was selling at record highs of 96.12 per litre and 86.98 per litre, respectively, in the national capital at Indian Oil Corporation Ltd outlets.

After remaining benign, petrol and diesel prices have spiked by 5.72 per litre and 6.25 per litre, respectively, since the results for the Assembly elections in West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Puducherry were announced on 2 May.

This comes in the backdrop of a rally in global crude oil prices. India, the world’s third-largest oil importer is particularly vulnerable as any increase in global prices can affect its import bill, stoke inflation and widen trade deficit.

The cost of the Indian basket of crude, which comprises Oman, Dubai and Brent crude, was at $71 a barrel on 10 June. Following the covid outbreak, crude prices for Indian basket of crude had plunged to $19.90 in April last year during the first wave before recovering to $66.95 a barrel in May, data from the oil ministry's Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell showed.

India spent $101.4 billion on crude oil imports in 2019-20 and $111.9 billion in 2018-19. It is a key refining hub in Asia, with an installed capacity of over 249.36 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) through 23 refineries.

The crude oil prices have been on a roller coaster. Brent crude had hit a 21-year low, and the US oil futures slumped to negative for the first time in April last year as the glut induced by worldwide lockdowns overwhelmed the world’s limited storage facilities, triggering massive selling by traders due to the coronavirus pandemic.

India will be a growth driver of global energy demand, Igor Sechin, chief executive officer of Rosneft Oil Company recently said at the 24th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

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