Dec. 8. — Though crude prices are showing a sign of respite for the past one month, international experts in the oil field claim that crude prices could reach as high as $182 a barrel from the present price of $43 a barrel.
The prediction was made during the proceedings of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO) conference in Berlin recently. If the assessment of the expert is true, the petrol price might cross even Rs 100 per litre.
It was brought to the attention of the government, admitted the Union minister for petroleum and natural gas, Mr Mani Shankar Aiyer.
“Government keeps under review available information on prognostic crude availability and prices. It is confirmed that one expert was of the view that crude could reach $182 per barrel, but there are several other authoritative view on this,” the minister said.
Senior officers in the petroleum ministry, however, ruled out such a steep hike in the near future. “There is only one expert who said that petrol price could reach $182 a barrel, the others were of the view that prices would hover around $60-80 per barrel,” said a senior officer in the petroleum ministry.
“There is no need to be panicky, and we can assure that Petrol prices would not touch as high as projected in the ASPO, at least in the near future,” the officer said.
The government has already taken several measures to enhance oil security of the country, including increasing of exploration efforts through the new exploration licensing policy (Nelp), acquiring acreage abroad, exploration in new areas, especially in deep water and difficult frontier areas, and expediting the development of newly discovered fields.