Committee to study impact of oil price hikes on companies: PM

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New Delhi, June 4 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today constituted a three-member high power committee headed by former Cabinet Secretary B K Chaturvedi, at present Planning Commission member, to examine the impact of oil price hikes in the past four years and the financial position of oil companies.

Dr Saumitra Chaudhuri, Member, Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council, and Dr Arvind Virmani, Chief Economic Advisor to the Centre, are the other members of the committee.

Mr Chaturvedi was Petroleum Secretary before becoming Cabinet Secretary. The appointment of the committee came just hours after the steep hike in the retail prices of petrol, diesel and LPG.

The committee would examine the impact of the increase in oil prices between 2004-05 and 2008 on the financial position of oil companies,including upstream exploration companies, refiners and downstream oil marketing companies (OMCs).

It would also analyse the cash flows and the profitability of all three groups of companies so as to get a clear picture of the changes taking place in their operating positions, particularly the impact on access to credit and cash availability for their operations.

The committee has three other terms of reference: * Revisit the concept of ''under recoveries'' and examine the reported deficit and the real deficit faced by OMCs as a result of price constraints imposed on them.

* Estimate the financial needs of the refiners and OMCs in order to continue their normal business activities and to meet the energy needs of the economy and the possible sources of funds to meet their financial needs.

* Examine the available options for burden sharing by all stakeholders, including upstream exploration companies, refiners, downstream OMCs and stand alone refiners.

UNI SN RP AS1916

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