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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

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IOC chief for equitable sharing of burden of under-recoveries

Our Bureau

New Delhi , May 30

THE Chairman of Indian Oil Corporation, Mr S. Behuria, on Monday said there was a need for three things to happen.

"International oil prices have to come down, which is happening. There should be equitable sharing of the burden of under-recoveries as we had to provide almost 67 per cent petrol and diesel at prices frozen since November last year and no one shared the burden with us. So we are requesting the Government to increase the price of petrol and diesel at least marginally if not to the full extent and to make everyone share the burden."

He was talking to newspersons here on Monday.

When asked whether subsidy should be abolished, he said it was for the Government to take a view on this. "This concept is there in the oil sector as it is there in many other sectors. It is for the Government to take a decision. They have their plans and we are committed to marketing kerosene and LPG under PDS at price and subsidy figure given by them," Mr Behuria said.

Asked about IOC's interest in Pakistan, the Chairman said to begin with, the company is interested in exporting diesel there. "We have made a written offer for a specified quantity of diesel to Pakistan. Our refinery in Panipat could export petroleum products to the neighbouring country to begin with and petro-chemicals produced there could go across the border at a later stage. We are open to any other opportunity on investment. We have aspirations of having long-term exports contracts with Pakistan as we feel that logistically it is most convenient to transport the products, particularly from Jalandhar to Lahore. Eventually we are open to any other investment opportunity there or in any other country subject to Government approval," he said.

About the joint venture project in Iran, company officials said the Iranian authorities are examining IOC's proposal and a positive response is expected by the end of June. "An Iranian team should be coming again in the first week of June to finalise the sales-purchase agreement. There are no major issues involved in the tie-up and only drafting of the agreement is going on," they said.

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