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Fuel prices may fall by April: Oil minister Pradhan

Varanasi: Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan visits Khidkiya Ghat in Varanasi (PTI)Premium
Varanasi: Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan visits Khidkiya Ghat in Varanasi (PTI)

  • Dharmendra Pradhan added that India had supported the joint decision by major oil-producing countries to cut oil production in April last year amid a sharp fall in demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic
  • He appealed to oil-producing countries to have a rethink on continuing and increasing production cuts

Oil and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan appealed to oil-producing countries to ease production cuts to stabilise the fragile global economic recovery.

In a Hindustan Times report, Pradhan was quoted saying, “I am in touch with my counterparts of major oil-producing countries and have spoken to them. I have asked them to increase fuel production in order that prices of oil may come down in our country which buys fuel from these countries" to reporters during an interaction in Varanasi on Saturday evening.

He further added that India had supported the joint decision by major oil-producing countries to cut oil production in April last year amid a sharp fall in demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“In April last year, major oil-producing countries decided to cut production as there was a sharp fall in demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic. These countries are producing less fuel to make more profit. While less fuel is still being produced, the demand for fuel has reached the point as it was before pre-Covid situation. Therefore, petrol and diesel prices have increased in the country," Pradhan told reporters, according to the report.

Earlier in an address at the IEA-IEF-OPEC Symposium on Energy Outlooks on Wednesday, the Union Minister highlighted that there was unanimous agreement among international agencies, like IEA, OPEC, vis-a-vis reports released by them on India's robust energy growth profile during 2021 and beyond. While the world's total primary energy demand would increase at less than 1 per cent per annum till 2040, India's energy demand would grow at about 3 per cent per annum till 2040.

Pradhan appealed to the oil-producing countries to have a rethink on continuing and increasing production cuts. He reiterated that in the collective interests of both producing and consuming countries, prices should be reasonable and responsible.

Moreover, Pradhan in the symposium said that there is a need to allow consumption-led recovery that has just taken root in several emerging economies, including India. The rising oil prices during the last few weeks are hurting the fragile global economic recovery leading to significant demand contraction.

On Friday, Pradhan had said fuel prices are likely to drop as winter ends and attributed the rising rates to an increase in demand during the season.

Meanwhile, country's petrol and diesel prices continued its northward march on Saturday, after a three-day break, taking its retail rates to unprecedented levels and burning holes in the consumers pockets.

Oil marketing companies raised the pump price of petrol and diesel by 24 paise and 15 paise per litre on Saturday.

With this, petrol is now priced at 91.17 a litre and diesel 81.47 a litre in the capital.

Pradhan has also urged Union Finance Minister Nirmalya Sitharaman to bring petroleum products under the ambit of the GST.

Continuous rise in fuel prices has burdened the common man and become a political issue in states where assembly elections are due.

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