Petrol prices may be cut by Re 1 per litre

Oil marketing companies may cut petrol prices by Re per litre, in tandem with a fall in international crude oil price.

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: Oil marketing companies may cut petrol prices by 1 rupee per litre, in tandem with the fall in international crude oil price.

Consolidation in Indian rupee against US dollar is also making room for the oil companies for a cut in petrol prices.

Oil prices edged lower in Asian trade today as dealers await a two-day US Federal Reserve policy meeting to find out the bank's plans for its stimulus programme.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in December, was down 21 cents at USD 98.47 in mid-morning trade, while Brent North Sea crude for December shed 50 cents to USD 109.11.

Meanwhile, the Kirit Parikh Committee has recommended that trade parity pricing formula for diesel, kerosene and cooking gas (LPG) be retained.

It suggested an increase in its retail price by Rs 4-5 per litre immediately and the remaining subsidy recovered from consumers through a monthly price hike of Re 1 per litre or oil companies be paid a fixed subsidy of Rs 6 per litre.

The government is looking to alter the way diesel and cooking fuels are priced to reduce its subsidy burden, which appears to be spiralling out of hand.

Since the last fiscal, the Finance Ministry has pushed for refiners to be paid the equivalent of rates they would have realised if diesel, kerosene and LPG were exported.

A departure from the import parity price (import price plus duties and transportation) mechanism would have shaved off Rs 17,618 crore from last fiscal's Rs 1,61,029 crore subsidy bill.

Sources said the panel has declined the Finance Ministry's demand for doing away with import parity pricing of diesel, kerosene and LPG.

The committee favoured partial increase in kerosene and LPG rates and moving towards market-determined prices in two to three years.

Currently, diesel is priced at trade parity, of which 80 per cent is import price and 20 per cent export rate. Kerosene and LPG are priced at import parity.

The Finance Ministry wanted export parity pricing for diesel and kerosene in 2012-13 and wanted LPG to be priced through a 60-40 mix of export and import parity rates.

Sources said a shift to export parity pricing would have cut the subsidy on diesel by Rs 14,372 crore to Rs 77,689 crore in 2012-13.

Another Rs 2,245 crore would have been saved on LPG and Rs 1,001 crore on kerosene during the period.

The savings would come from the removal of import duty and notional transportation cost in the import parity price.

For the current fiscal, the total subsidy for selling diesel, kerosene and LPG at rates below cost was put at Rs 80,000 crore in April but has now climbed to around Rs 130,000 crore as the falling rupee has made imports costlier.