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Subsidised diesel dams furnace oil demand  

Subsidised diesel dams furnace oil demand
(Courtesy: Business Standard, New Delhi, December 19, 2011)

The perils of subsidy take different shapes. It is not only subsidised domestic LPG or kerosene oil being diverted for commercial use. With the price of diesel being stable under government control, industrial users of furnace oil in several states are increasingly turning to diesel instead.

This is one reason why the consumption of diesel is now growing at a sharper rate than petrol after several years. It is not just diesel passenger vehicle sales driving this trend. Furnace oil is largely an industrial fuel. It is a key ingredient in generation of electricity and heat in a number of production units.

Being market-linked, the price of furnace oil has been moving up. R S Butola, chairman of IndianOil, the country’s biggest oil marketer and refiner, said furnace oil is selling at $103-104 per barrel in India, compared to diesel’s price of $97 per barrel. This is due to a price cap on diesel, as a result of which the domestic oil companies are retailing it at a loss of a little over Rs 12 per litre.

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