Union Minister for Petroleum Murli Deora on Sunday ruled out any immediate hike in prices of petroleum products including LPG and kerosene.
Addressing newsmen in Kochi after laying the foundation stone for the phase II capacity expansion-cum-modernisation project of BPCL-Kochi Refinery the minister said the government and the oil companies had shared 87 per cent of the burden of under recoveries caused by the high oil prices last year.
“As far as possible we will not increase prices of any products now," he said adding that the price of PDS kerosene was not hiked in the last three years.“Nowhere in the world kerosene is sold at a cheap rate of Rs 9 per litre. It really shows the government’s concern towards the poor and weaker sections,” he said. The government is giving a subsidy of Rs 16 per litre to provide PDS kerosene at Rs 9 a litre.
This has been done by providing a huge subsidy by the government and the oil companies to the tune of Rs 500 billion though the global oil prices touched an all-time high, he said.
He said oil industry is currently largest merchandise exporter with exports of over 17.5 billion dollar during the last one year. The government is keen to improve the oil security of the nation and refineries’ expansion is one of the main strategies, he said.
To a question the minister said the Rs 7000 crore Petronet LNG terminal would be commissioned by 2010 end or early 2011. The five million tonne a year LNG import and re-gasification terminal at Puthuvypeen Island was to be completed by the end 2009.
On the reason for the delay, he said that negotiations on long-term procurement would take time. There were several agencies involved and many issues would have to be sorted out, he said.