- PM appealed to top oil producers to held India bridge "resource crunch"
- Saudi oil minister, however, said prices were not within their control
- Petrol, diesel prices in India have steadily gone up for weeks
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday appealed to top oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, to help nations like India bridge what he called a "resource crunch" - a fallout of rising crude prices. At the third annual brainstorming session with chief executives of top global and Indian oil and gas companies, PM Modi underscored how high oil prices were hurting global growth and sought reasonable prices that work for both producers and consumers.
The rising crude oil prices have pushed the rupee down - this year it has fallen 14.5 per cent, making imports costlier. The country is heavily dependent on imports, with around 83 per cent of the fuel being bought from abroad.
"The oil market is producer driven and both the quantity and prices are determined by the oil-producing countries... Though there is enough production, the unique features of marketing in the oil sector have pushed up the oil prices," a statement issued at the end of the meet quoted the prime minister as saying.
Saudi oil minister Khalid A Al-Falih, who was present at the meet, however, said oil prices were not within their control.
"Many factors lie outside the control of oil producers like us... we only control supply," he told reporters. He, however, said he has met the Prime Minister and oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan and "assured them of full and continued commitment of meeting India's oil demand and investing in India".
The meet was held as petrol and diesel prices continued their upward march despite a drop in crude oil prices by 5 to 6 dollars a barrel. The hike has almost wiped out the Rs 2.50 cut made by the government last week.
Diesel now costs Rs 75.46 per litre in Delhi - slightly higher than Rs 75.45 a litre price when the government announced the excise duty cut on October 4. Petrol costs Rs 82.72 per litre and has witnessed an increase of Rs 1.22 per litre since the October 4 decision.
The Congress has kept up the pressure on the government over the oil price rise. "I don't understand. World fuel prices are falling, how are the petrol prices rising? Modi-ji not putting money in your pocket, so whose pocket is he giving it?" party chief Rahul Gandhi has said.