Indian Oil to raise petrol, diesel prices from Friday


The country’s top fuel retailer – Indian Oil Corp – will raise prices of a litre of petrol and diesel by 0.80 rupees from tomorrow, its third such increase this week, according to a notification.

A litre of petrol will cost 97.81 while diesel will be sold at 89.07 in Delhi, the notification said.

Fuel retailers including IOC, Bharat Petroleum Corp, Hindustan Petroleum Corp dominate local fuel sales market and move prices in tandem.

Earlier today, Moody’s Investors Services said that IOC, BPCL and HPCL together lost around 19,000 crore in revenue for keeping petrol and diesel prices on hold during elections in five states.

State-owned IOC, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and HPCL on March 22 and 23 raised petrol and diesel prices by 80 paise per litre each but paused the increase on Thursday.

Oil companies “will need to raise diesel prices by 13.1-24.9 per litre and 10.6-22.3 a litre on gasoline (petrol) at an underlying crude price of 100-120 per barrel,” according to Kotak Institutional Equities.

CRISIL Research said a 9-12 per litre increase in retail will be required for a full pass-through of an average $100 per barrel crude oil and 15-20 a litre if the average crude oil price rises to $110-120.

Moody’s estimated that IOC’s revenue loss was around $1-1.1 billion while that of BPCL and HPCL was about $550-650 million each for the period between November and March.

“This loss in revenue will add to the short term borrowings, funded with working capital lines, of the refiners until such time that crude oil prices stay at elevated levels.

“Over time, the companies might be able to make up for some of these losses if oil prices come down,” it added.

While fuel prices in India are deregulated and the refiners can pass on cost increases to the consumer, a steep price hike such as the one required under the current oil price environment will be in coordination with the government and may involve a reduction in excise duties.

“We do expect that the government will allow the refiners to adjust prices appropriately and avoid a situation where refiners continue to make losses of this magnitude for a prolonged period,” it said.

Commenting on the two days of price increase, Moody’s said this underpins the expectation that the price increases will be gradual and occur over a period of time rather than being a one-time adjustment.

“Until such time, the refining and marketing companies can cover the increase in feedstock costs either by an increase in selling prices or a reduction in excise duties or both, they will have to continue to absorb a proportion of the increased feedstock costs which will hurt their profitability and increase borrowings,” it said.

A sustained increase in crude oil prices will also result in inventory valuation gains for the refiners, which will partially mitigate the impact of lower selling prices.

Higher crude oil prices will also result in increased working capital requirements, resulting in incremental borrowings for the refiners.

Weaker earnings combined with higher borrowings will weaken the credit metrics of the downstream companies, the rating agency said.

“A sharp rise in crude oil prices, combined with the refiners’ inability to increase retail selling prices of transportation fuels in India for over four months (between November 4, 2021, and March 21, 2022) due to recently concluded elections in five Indian states, will hurt the profitability of state-owned refining and marketing companies IOC, BPCL and HPCL,” it said.

High oil prices, however, will have a mixed impact on the sector.

While upstream oil and gas producers such as ONGC and OIL will benefit from higher earnings, downstream companies like IOC, BPCL and HPCL will be negatively impacted because of higher feedstock costs and increased working capital requirements.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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