The finance ministry may not provide any excise duty concession on petroleum products as demanded by the petroleum ministry in the light of sliding global crude prices.
The petroleum ministry had sought a minimum Rs 1 per litre excise duty concession on petrol and diesel citing the high rate of tax on petroleum products in India.
Sources in the finance ministry said that the condition of oil marketing companies (OMCs) are improving due to softening global oil prices, hence further rationalisation of duties are not necessary.
The trend is visible as OMCs losses on diesel have been arrested at around Rs 0.13 per litre (average of September 16-30) compared with around Rs 5.5 per litre in the previous fortnight. OMCs have already started making about Rs 1.5 per litre profit on petrol since the last two quarters.
The Rangrajan Committee has recently raised the issue of taxation on petroleum products and based on its recommendations duties had been rationalised. The total taxes-to-retail price ratio of petrol and diesel compares favourably with other comparable countries, besides the worse period for OMCs are over, sources in the finance ministry said.
Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) chairman Sarthak Behuria confirmed that the company was making Rs 1.50 on the sale of every litre of petrol and on diesel margin is marginally negative at Rs 0.13 per litre. Speaking to ET, petroleum secretary MS Srinivasan said: OMCs are still bleeding on kerosene and liquid petroleum gas (LPG).
He, however, said petrol margins of OMCs are positive, and a near break-even is reached in diesel sale. OMCs are, however, apprehensive regarding volatility of global crude prices. Prices are based on the average of previous fortnight.
There is lot of volatility in the market, marketing director of a public sector OMC said. He said crude prices were on the rise on Wednesday.
This would mean that the consumer would not get any price relief in the immediate future. It is feared that global crude prices may go up again in the winter when western countries would need fuel for their heating requirements.
OMCs are taking a hit of Rs 200 per cylinder on domestic LPG and Rs 16 on the sale of every litre of kerosene, Bharat Petroleum chairman and managing director Ashok Sinha said. He said the company was, however, earning $4 on processing every barrel of crude oil.