Propose to do away with tenders for crude oil imports: Pradhan

Mumbai, Feb 15 (IANS) A cabinet note will soon be moved to do away with the tender process for crude oil imports and switch over to spot purchases to ensure better delivery at lower prices, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Monday.

“Soon, we (petroleum ministry) will shortly move a cabinet note to set up a common trading platform for all three PSU (public sector undertaking) oil refiners,” Pradhan told reporters here on the sidelines of the ongoing ‘Make in India Week’ event.

“Once set up, it will be up to the companies to decide how to use the platform… individually or collectively,” he said.

Despite being the third largest consumer of oil, India is currently the only country that still procures crude through the tender process, the minister added.

State-run oil marketing companies have a centralised procurement system under which they have to take prior permission from the ministry on a periodic basis for making crude purchase.

With international crude prices falling over 70 percent over the past year to under $30 a barrel, spot purchases now ensure better delivery at lower prices, while the tendering route normally involves paying higher prices as also delays in supply.

Speaking earlier at the event, ministry’s Secretary K.D. Tripathy said India’s oil and gas import bill was $100 billion in 2014-15, which not only has adverse implications for the country’s energy security but also puts pressure on the current account and fiscal deficits.

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