Centre to bring down petrol, diesel prices

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Bangalore, Jan 13: The Centre will be making a definite move on bringing petrol, diesel, kerosene (PDS) and domestic LPG, under market-driven prices later this month, Union Secretary for Petroleum and Natural Gas M S Srinivasan said.

Speaking to reporters after inaugurating the first retail outlet of Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL), a subsidiary of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), at Maddur in the neighbouring Mandya district, on the Bangalore-Mysore highway last night. The government had constituted a Committee with a Group of Ministers (GoM) to go into the issues relating to price determination for petrol, diesel, PDS-kerosene and domestic LPG and the GoM would come out with recommendations when it meets in Delhi on January 17, he added.

''We are expecting the decision from the Government on the pricing system for these products,'' he said.

Mr Srinivasan said the Government strongly believed in competition in fuel retailing to eliminate complenancy. ''We are for consumers. Whether it is private sector or public sector. Our bottomline is consumer and we are committed to benefit him,'' he added.

On crude oil prices, Srinivasan said energy economists were of the opinion that crude prices may go up to USD 150 per barrel by June this year. ''Our expectation is that over the next two years, it may stabilise at around 80-85 Dollars,'' he added.

''In this context, he said market driven petro prices will ensures efficiency and consumers' interests are best served. There is no second thought on this,'' he said.

On the seventh round of New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP-VII), Srinivasan expressed confidence that global oil majors Would be doing the bidding. ''We are holding road shows in UK, Europe, America and Canada from January 22 to February 3.'' In the NELP-VII round, investments in the survey and exploration areas are expected to be in the region of USD five billion to USD 5.5 billion once all the blocks get picked up over the next three years. The government had set apart a sum of Rs 62,000 crore for investments in oil and gas fields during the Eleventh plan, he said.

The official said the country had achieved an earnings of USD 18 billion dollars and the government had set a target of USD 25 billion for the current year.

''We are on track. We have achieved USD 12.5 billion in the first six months and are confident of achieving the target. The country spends a lot on crude and our endeavour is to bring back the foreign exchange to some extent at least by value addition and export,'' he said.

The country's export of refined petroleum products is projected to go up to 40 million tonnes in the coming 2007-08, from 32 million tonnes in the last fiscal, he added.


UNI

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