Petrol, diesel shortage news triggers panic: Here’s what govt says

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In a bid to allay concerns of a fuel crisis in the country, the union ministry of petroleum and natural gas on Wednesday said that a massive surge in fuel demand in some parts of the country has resulted in “temporary logistics issues” at local level, while assuring that production of petrol and diesel in the country is “more than sufficient”.

The statement which came on the backdrop of reports of petrol pumps in Rajasthan going dry and people queuing up at petrol pumps causing panic among consumers, added that oil companies geared up to tackle these issues by increasing the stocks at the depots and terminals.

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OMCs have taken to extra movement of trucks and lorries to serve the retail outlets and working hours at depots and terminals have been extended including at night, to cater to the extra demand, and provision of extra quantities of fuels for supply in the affected states, the ministry.

Referring to an increase in demand, the ministry said: “It is a fact that at specific locations in some states, there has been a significant increase in demand for petrol and diesel, with an increase being as high as 50% during the first half of June 2022 over corresponding period of last year.”

Such massive increase in demand has been witnessed in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, it said, adding that these are the states where a large quantity of supply is usually done by retail outlets belonging to private oil marketing companies which have now curtailed fuel sales amid high crude prices.

“In general, the increase in demand has been on account of the seasonal surge in demand due to agricultural activities, bulk buyers having shifted their purchases to retail outlets, and a substantial reduction in the sales by private marketing companies with their substantial volumes having shifted to PSU ROs,” it said.

Along with that the crackdown by the government on illegal bio-diesel sales, has also resulted in demand for diesel at the retail outlets, according to the ministry.

“The production of petrol and diesel in the country is more than sufficient to take care of any demand surge. This unprecedented growth has created some temporary logistics issues at the local level,” it said.

“The companies are ensuring that sufficient supplies of petrol and diesel are available to cater to this extra demand, and they are committed to fulfill the energy needs of the nation.”

Crude oil prices have largely been on the rise over the past few months amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict, while retail prices of petrol and diesel prices, although elevated, have remained steady.

Around 7.15 pm, the August contract of Brent on the Intercontinental Exchange was at $120.56 per barrel, lower by 0.50% from its previous close.

Retail fuel prices in India, on the other hand have been steady for 24 days now with the last downward revision on May 22, a day after the government announced to cut excise duty on petrol and diesel.

Pump prices of both the transport fuels increased by ₹10 per litre each, during March 22 to April 6.

In the national capital petrol was sold for ₹96.72 a litre on Wednesday, while diesel was priced at ₹89.62 per litre.