The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is issuing a notice to three state-owned oil marketing companies (OMCs) on a probe on whether they form a cartel to fix petrol prices.

The commission is also looking at the coal and fertiliser sectors, where government-owned companies dominate the market. “Law does not distinguish between government and private companies,” said Ashok Chawla, chairman of CCI, addressing the annual global investor conference here of Kotak Institutional Equities. “After the government clarified that it does not have a role to play in petrol pricing after deregulation, we have taken up the issue.”

Despite the uncertainty surrounding re-insurance for oil refineries over crude oil import from Iran, companies here are not perturbed yet about the United States’ sanctions in this regard. They said they believe the government would come out with a solution by June.

Hit largely by the sanctions are the country’s largest importer of Iranian crude oil, Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals ( MRPL), a subsidiary of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), and Indian Oil’s ( IOC’s) Chennai Petroleum Corporation.

Indian Oil Corporation review meeting later this week

The next phase of rise in diesel prices seems, unlike earlier, to be a non-combined exercise from the three government oil marketing companies ( OMCs). On January 17, the government allowed Indian Oil Corporation ( IOC), Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPC) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPC) to eliminate the loss on sale of diesel to bulk consumers at one go and do a gradual rise in prices at monthly intervals for retail outlets — the government had suggested a 45-50p/litre rise at a time. A month gets over this Sunday, since the decision

The government will pay Rs 25,000 crore additional cash subsidy to state-owned fuel retailers to make up for part of the revenue they lost on selling auto and cooking fuel below cost this fiscal.

The Finance Ministry on February 7 issued a "comfort letter" to Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp (HPCL) sanctioning Rs 25,000 crore for part of the revenue they lost on selling diesel,

New Delhi: Fearing oil refineries will be hit hard by the Finance Ministry's move to change the way petrol and diesel are priced, Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily has asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to constitute an expert committee to decide on the issue.

The Finance Ministry has informed the Petroleum Ministry that auto fuel needs to be priced at export parity rather than import parity as the 2.5 per cent customs duty was adding to the under-recoveries of the state-run oil marketing companies without contributing any revenue to the exchequer.

With an eye on bigger imports, the oil marketing firm may get its French partner Total to set it up

State-run oil marketing firm Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) is planning to invest Rs 600-700 crore to set up its second underground liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) storage facility in Mangalore. The company could rope in its partner, Total SA of France, to build the cavern. "Given the demand for LPG, we think importing in large quantity would make more sense than importing in smaller capacity. We are discussing the feasibility of this project and would decide on the same in the next six months," said a senior HPCL official, requesting anonymity.

The government’s decision to cap the number of subsidised LPG (liquefied natural gas) cylinders seems to have brought cheer to oil companies as their auto gas segment has registered significant growth since last September.

IndianOil Corp Ltd, for instance, saw a growth of around 22 per cent in volumes and nearly two per cent in its market share. It traded nearly 10,517 million tonnes (mt) of auto gas in December against 8,593 mt of auto gas in September.

The project, supposed to be ready last year, had been delayed due to labour and land issues, and slow progress on the power plant front
Shine Jacob

With environment clearances delaying Indian Oil Corporation (IOC)’s product pipeline, the state-run company plans to commission its Rs 30,000-crore refinery at Paradip in Odisha this September.

Their first target could be bulk buyers but state-owned companies are well-entrenched in that market

At 65 million tonnes per annum, diesel accounts for nearly 40 per cent of all petroleum products sold in the country. Not surprisingly, it is a huge opportunity for private oil marketing companies. Now that the government has decided to decontrol diesel prices for bulk users and allowed government-controlled oil marketing companies to raise retail prices in small monthly doses, private oil companies such as Reliance Industries, Essar Oil and Shell India have a real opportunity on their hands.

Looking at ways to stop bulk diesel users from securing fuel from retail outlets

With dual pricing for diesel in place, oil marketing companies (OMCs) are looking at ways to stop bulk diesel users from securing the fuel from retail outlets. The three public sector OMCs — Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited — want the government to put in place regulations for this.

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