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Petro export leap reins in oil import tab

New Delhi, Nov. 26: India’s exports of petroleum products, including diesel, petrol, naphtha and aviation turbine fuel, is expected to cross Rs 13,000 crore (around $2.6 billion) this fiscal, which means a 25 per cent rise over last year’s Rs 10,868 crore.

Petroleum secretary B. K. Chaturvedi told The Telegraph that although the import of crude oil had gone up by 6 per cent to 51.9 million tonnes during the first seven months (April-October) of this fiscal, this higher import bill would be offset by the surge in exports and the hardening of the rupee vis-a-vis the dollar. The country had imported 49.3 million tonnes of crude during the same period of the previous year.

The downstream oil companies have exported 7.3 million tonnes of petroleum goods during the first seven months of the current financial year compared with 6 million tonnes in the same period last year.

The average import price of the Indian crude basket, which is a mixture of sour crude from the Gulf and Nigerian sweet crude, has remained more or less the same at $27 per barrel for both the years.

Chaturvedi said that barring any sudden increase in crude prices, the government expects the net foreign exchange outgo for the petroleum sector to remain in the same region as last year’s figure of Rs 73,500 crore.

He said the increased exports of higher value-added petroleum products reflects the growing strength of the Indian downstream hydrocarbon sector as earlier even these products were being imported.

The jump in exports has been the highest in the case of diesel, followed by petrol exports which more than doubled. Aviation fuel exports registered a four-fold increase although the quantity exported was naturally much smaller. The increased exports are also a reflection of the excess refining capacity in the country and the failure of demand for petroleum products to grow at the anticipated rate.

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