IB Times
IB TimesReuters file

The price of crude oil imported into India has steadily gone up in the past two months. It was $38.57 per barrel on March 18, up 54 percent from $24.96 per barrel on Jan. 18, according to the government data. 

"The international crude oil price of Indian Basket as computed/published today by Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas was US$ 38.57 per barrel (bbl) on 18.03.2016," an official statement read Monday. 

The implication could be a rise in petrol and diesel prices if the uptrend continues, given that the taxes on these items, which are already high, are unlikely to be reduced. 

The retail price of petrol (Rs 59.68) has a combined tax component of 57.9 percent, or Rs 34.58, according to the PPAC.

The Central government has increased the excise duty five times since November till now to raise Rs 17,000 crore in additional revenues this financial year. 

Globally, crude oil prices have rallied 55 percent, from $27/barrel in February to $42 in March, reported NDTV.

India consumes more, pays less 

The consumption of petroleum products by the world's third-largest importer of crude is on the rise. "During the period April 2015 to February 2016 petroleum product consumption registered a growth of 10.0% as compared to the same period last year," said the PPAC.

The country's crude oil import bill for the April 2015-February 2016 period was $59.6 billion for 184.2 millio metric tonnes (MMT), down 44 percent from $106.6 billion paid for importing 172.9 MMT, according to the PPAC report. 

Import dependency increases

The import dependency went up from 78.4 percent to 80.6 percent, given that domestic crude oil production was almost flat at 33.9 MMT during April 2015-February 2016, from 34.2 MMT during the corresponding period last year. 

 India's 2015-2016 oil import bill is likely to be $64.24 billion, down $48.5 billion, or 43 percent, from $112.74 last fiscal, according to the estimates by the PPAC.

Prices of petrol and diesel are deregulated products in India. The top five oil supplying countries to India are Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Nigeria, Venezuela and Iran.