Net oil importer India left with few options as price surges

Country imports 85% of crude needs, 50% of its natural gas

As the world’s third-largest oil importer and consumer, India is running out of options as the relentless surge in international oil prices make it imperative to pass them on to consumers, officials said Monday.

India imports 85% of its crude oil needs and about half of its natural gas requirement. While the crude oil is turned into fuels such as petrol and diesel, gas is used as CNG in automobiles and fuel in factories.

“International crude oil prices continue to remain high, providing no respite to major oil importers such as India. (International benchmark) Brent oil future was quoting over $79 per barrel today. A month ago it was less than $72,” a top government official involved in the decision making said.

This has squeezed margins and forced passing on the rise to consumers in the form of a hike in petrol and diesel prices. “With no respite from surging international prices, OMCs have started to increase the retail selling price of petrol and diesel,” the official said.

“Unless international prices relent, oil companies will have no option but to continue passing on the increase to consumers,” another official said.

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