Fuel prices continue to rise, Modi to meet oil company heads

Cornelia Mascio
Ottobre 15, 2018

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday morning will meet chief executives of top global and Indian oil and gas companies on emerging energy scenario, with ripples from United States sanctions on Iran and volatile oil prices threatening growth.

Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo and Union Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan would also attend the meeting, as per the sources.

The list of 40 company heads who will be attending the meeting today will include Reliance Industries' Mukesh Ambani, Hindustan Petroleum's M K Surana, Indian Oil's Sanjiv Singh, ONGC's Shashi Shankar among others.

The meeting would also look at measures to attract investments and steps for making it easier to do business in India.

Despite the government's move earlier this month to reduce Value-Added Tax on fuel prices by Rs 2.5 and several BJP-ruled states announcing a similar rate cut on petrol and diesel prices, there has not been much relief for the common as the petrol reached Rs 82.72 per litre in Delhi and Rs 88.18 in Mumbai on Sunday.

Modi's first meeting was on January 5, 2016 where suggestions for reforming natural gas prices were made.

The meeting, which will be held under the aegis of the NITI Aayog, will focus on challenges posed by volatile oil prices and the U.S. sanctions on Iran.

In the last edition in October 2017, suggestions were made for giving out equity to foreign and private companies in producing oil and gas fields of state-owned ONGC and OIL. But the plan could not go through in view of strong opposition from ONGC.

In the national capital, petrol was priced at Rs 82.72 per litre, up from Rs 82.66 on Saturday, data on the Indian Oil Corporation website showed. Similarly, petrol prices in Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai also rose on Sunday - to Rs 88.18, Rs 84.54, and Rs 85.99 per litre respectively.

The prices vary from region to region due to local taxes, as the product is excluded from the Goods and Services Tax regime.

The Opposition has repeatedly blamed the Centre for the steep hike in the fuel price, while the latter has maintained that global crude oil prices and other worldwide factors are responsible for the increase in prices of petroleum products. India consumes over 2 billion barrels of oil and gas annually, out of which 85% is imported.

This comes as fuel prices continue to rise across the four major metros, burning a hole in common man's pocket.

In Mumbai, diesel touched Rs 79.

In Delhi, petrol today costs Rs 82.72/litre and diesel is Rs 75.46/litre.

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