The same old "package' of reduction in taxes and duties, issuance of oil bonds and higher subsidy sharing by the upstream oil companies will not work this time around. Only increasing the retail prices of petroleum products will. Will the Government go the extra mile? Raghuvir Srinivasan Advertisement

TIMES NEWS NETWORK New Delhi: The oil ministry has removed the clouds of uncertainty over continuation of Indraprastha Gas Ltd as the city's sole supplier of CNG (compressed natural gas) for automotive and kitchen uses. The ministry has spiked the sectoral regulator's decision de-recognising IGL's projects in the Capital, saying the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board does not have powers to judge entities set up through government orders before it came into existence.

Petrol and diesel prices have marginally increased from Friday midnight consequent to a corresponding hike in the commission for petroleum dealers by the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. Revision In the city, the increase of three paise on petrol, taking the retail price of a litre of the fuel to Rs.49.64 and four paise on diesel, resulting in the price going up to Rs.34.44, however, has not cheered the dealers. They complained that the quantum of the upward revision of commission fell short of their expectations. Protest

Faced with surging crude oil prices in the international markets and massive under-recoveries being incurred by the oil marketing companies (OMCs), the government has decided to compensate them by issuing oil bonds to the extent of 50 per cent against incurring under-recoveries during 2007-08 on sale of petrol, diesel, kerosene and domestic LPG at subsidised prices.

Why blame the petroleum minister for not hiking oil prices when no one else is arguing for market prices? Poor Ram Naik and Mani Shankar Aiyar! They got all the blame for messing up with oil prices and halting the reforms that had been initiated with the proposed dismantling of the administered pricing mechanism (APM) for oil products from April 2002.

The All Assam Students' Union (AASU) today despatched a memorandum to the Union Minister of Petroleum and the chairman, Indian Oil Corporation urging them to take urgent action to retain the identity of Assam Oil Division, Digboi Refinery of the Indian Oil Corporation Limited, keeping in view the interest of the people of the region. The AASU stated that the decision to shift the entire marketing operation of Assam Oil Division from Digboi to Guwahati to a new set up has created confusion in the minds of the people of Assam.

The United Progressive Alliance government has done well to join the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline sponsored by the Asian Development Bank. But it should guard against the temptation of viewing the project as a substitute for the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline. Given high global oil prices and its growing energy needs, India needs all the gas it can get.

Public sector petroleum companies' losses on fuel sales cross Rs 500 crore a day; govt under renewed pressure to allow them to raise petro-product prices New Delhi, April 23: The price basket of crude oil that India imports has crossed an all-time high of $110 a barrel, widening the losses incurred by state-run firms on fuel sales to over Rs 500 crore per day and increasing pressure on the government to allow oil companies to hike the prices of petroleum products like petrol, diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene.

Even as the last date for bidding for Nelp-VII has been deferred till May 16, owing to uncertainty over sops for the E&P players, the petroleum ministry has not given up just yet. The ministry, in its internal report, said focus would be given on increasing domestic production by attracting investments, both private and public, in the upstream sector. This would be done by involving the industry in formulating an investor-friendly E&P investment regime.