Oil drops below $100, eases pressure on oil companies


After remaining above $100 a barrel for two weeks, international oil prices fell to $99.84 on Tuesday, easing pressure on fuel retailers’ margins that kept gasoline and fuel prices down. diesel despite soaring raw material costs. Brent crude oil prices, which topped $100 a barrel on February 28 and hit a 14-year high of $139 a barrel on March 7, fell more than 7% on Tuesday.

The market was rocked by a resurgence of virus cases in China, which could impact demand from the world’s largest crude importer, and signs of progress in ceasefire talks between Ukraine and Russia.

International oil prices, which have soared since Russia invaded Ukraine, have hovered around $40 a barrel in just over a week. For India, the drop in oil prices is good news as it will lower the import bill of the world’s third largest oil importer.

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The companies were due to end an election-related fuel price freeze once polls in five states, including Uttar Pradesh, were completed last week, but they continued to hold rates on hold to give the opposition no problem getting the government stuck in the second half of Parliament’s budget session which started on Monday.

“The fall in crude oil prices is certainly a welcome sign for oil companies,” a senior official said. “They were losing Rs 12-13 per litre, disregarding the marketing margin, on the sale of petrol and diesel. This will now come down.” International oil prices were around $81 when companies pressed the freeze button on Nov. 4.

Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri told the Rajya Sabha on Monday that the price of petrol and diesel at point of sale or depot is determined by international price, cost of insurance, freight, exchange rate, refining margins and a number of other factors. “The oil marketing companies will make their decisions (on fuel prices). They will proceed as soon as they can no longer bear it. If they don’t have the margin or the cushion, they will take the appropriate action,” had he said as he denied suggestions that companies were holding down prices on government instructions so as not to spoil the election prospects of the ruling BJP in five states that went to the polls.

On November 4, 2021, excise duties on petrol were reduced by Rs 5 per liter and those on diesel by Rs 10 to relieve consumers reeling from record prices. All but nine states had also reduced local sales tax or VAT. “We are willing to take the necessary steps to control the price,” he said.

First post: STI


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