Oil bill to exceed $100 bn this fiscal

The country\'s import dependence has increased this fiscal owing to a steady decline in domestic output

New Delhi: With the soaring international oil prices, India's crude oil import bill is likely to almost double from last year and exceed $100 billion this fiscal year. The country's import dependence has increased this fiscal owing to a steady decline in domestic output.

As per the data from the oil ministry's Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell (PPAC), India spent $94.3 billion in the first 10 months (April-January) of the current fiscal year. It spent $11.6 billion in January alone when oil prices had started to surge. This compared with $7.7 billion spending in the same month last year, the data showed.

With the current uncertainty in the oil market, India is worried about the crude oil prices as it now meets nearly 85 per cent of its needs through imports. Rising oil prices could also increase the inflationary pressures in the economy.

As Russia is a major energy producer, the ongoing tensions with Ukraine have brought wide swings in energy prices, on top of the risks of a broader conflict.
Oil prices crossed $100 per barrel in February, and at this rate, the country's import bill could touch $ 110-115 billion by the end of this fiscal year ending March 31.

"India had spent $62.2 billion on import of 196.5 million tonnes of crude oil in the previous 2020-21 fiscal when global oil prices remained subdued in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic," it showed.

In the current year, India has already imported 175.9 million tonnes of crude oil. In the pre-pandemic 2019-20 fiscal, India, the world's third largest energy importing and consuming nation, had spent $ 101.4 billion on import of 227 million tonnes of crude oil.

The nation produced 30.5 million tonnes of crude oil in 2019-20, which fell to 29.1 million tonnes in the following year. "During the current fiscal, it has produced 23.8 million tonnes of crude oil so far as compared to 24.4 million in the first 10 months of 2020-21. The target for 2021-22 is 26.1 million tonnes," the data showed.

"India's self-sufficiency in meeting oil needs was 15 per cent in 2019-20, which increased to 15.6 per cent in the following fiscal but has fallen to 14.9 per cent in the current financial year. India's import bill for LNG also increased to $9.9 billion during the 10-month period of the current fiscal, significantly higher than $6.2 billion worth of imports during the same period," the PPAC data showed.

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