Deora seeks meeting with FM on revenue loss by oil PSUs

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New Delhi, Jan 17 (PTI) Oil Minister Murli Deora hassought a meeting with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee todiscuss precarious finances of state-owned oil firms, as crudeoil appears to be inching towards the USD 100 per barrel mark.

"I have requested Finance Minister for a meetingtomorrow," Deora said from Mumbai.

Officials however said the meeting has so far not beenfixed.

State-owned Indian Oil Corp, Hindustan Petroleum Corp andBharat Petroleum Corp are losing about Rs 290 crore a day inrevenues on selling diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene belowthe imported cost.

The state firms last week raised petrol price by Rs2.50-2.54 a litre but are still losing Rs 1.20-1.22 per litreas the hike was insufficient to cover for crude oil that istouching USD 92 per barrel.

Besides, they are losing Rs 7.65 a litre on diesel, Rs19.60 a litre on kerosene and Rs 366.28 per 14.2-kg cylinder.

The three firms are projected to lose Rs 73,600 crore inrevenues during the 2010-11 financial year, 55 per cent ofwhich Deora wants the Finance Ministry to meet by way of cashfrom the central budget.

Deora said he had on January 8 met Mukherjee to seekimmediate release of Rs 10,000 crore in interim compensationto state oil companies.

So far, the finance ministry has committed to make uponly one-third of the revenue losses from the budget.

"The Finance Minister has been kind enough to sanction Rs13,000 crore to cover part of under-recoveries in the firsthalf of the current fiscal. I requested him to release anotherRs 10,000 crore for third quarter under-recoveries immediatelyto help PSUs post decent Q3 results," Deora said.

Without government subsidy, HPCL and BPCL are sure toreport net loss in the October-December quarter and IOC toomay end the three months in red.

The government had in 2008-09 given Rs 71,292 crore, outof the Rs 103,292 crore total revenue loss on selling fuelbelow cost. "This was 69 per cent of the total under-recovery.

During the current fiscal, which has also seen hardening ofcrude prices, we are seeking just 55 per cent," Deora said.

Besides discussing the compensation for the revenue loss,Deora may also raise the issue of cutting customs duty oncrude oil to nil from 5 per cent currently to avoid furtherincrease in retail prices.

He may also want the customs duty on diesel slashed to2.5 per cent from 7.5 per cent at present, along with areduction in the specific duty imposed on the most-consumedfuel in the country, a hike in prices of which would havecascading effect on already high inflation.

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