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Petrol, diesel price hike next week: Deora

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(FROM LEFT) MR MURLI DEORA, Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas; Mr Gurudas Kamat, MP; and Mr Ashok Sinha, Chairman & Managing Director, BPCL, at the inauguration of the Lube Oil Base Stocks project at its Mumbai refinery on Saturday. Shashi Ashiwal
(FROM LEFT) MR MURLI DEORA, Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas; Mr Gurudas Kamat, MP; and Mr Ashok Sinha, Chairman & Managing Director, BPCL, at the inauguration of the Lube Oil Base Stocks project at its Mumbai refinery on Saturday. Shashi Ashiwal

Our Bureau

Mumbai, May 27

The Union Government is likely to decide on an increase in petrol and diesel prices next week, said Mr Murli Deora, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas.

The Minister said he could not say what quantum of price increase is going to be considered.

"That will be up to the Cabinet," he said, after the inauguration of Bharat Petroleum Corporation's Lube Oil Base Stocks (LOBS) project at Mahul in Mumbai.

But kerosene and cooking gas, used by the poor and "vulnerable" people, would most likely be left out of the purview of the price increase, he said.

Global oil price rise

There has been an unprecedented oil price increase globally and the government has no choice but to come out with a "little price increase" which everyone will have to pay, said the Minister.

The government is very concerned about the health of the oil public sector companies (mainly Indian Oil Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation and BPCL), which are collectively losing around Rs 160 crore every day, he said.

At the same time, it is important that vulnerable groups do not suffer. BPCL's new integrated LOBS/hydrocracker, 180,000 tonnes facility, has been set up at a cost of Rs 371 crore, and is the only such one in the country, said the company.

The introduction of the environmentally friendly `Group II + base oil' will ensure a quantum jump in the quality of the Mak Lubricants portfolio of the company, it said.

In addition to meeting BPCL's domestic demand, as well as the domestic industry's demand, some of the product would also be exported, said a statement.

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(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated May 28, 2006)
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