Moily condemns Modi as UPA initiator of strategic oil reserves

NEW DELHI-SEPTEMBER 19 () Former Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily on Thursday criticized the Modi cold shoulder administration of the Congress-led UPA regime, for example, announcing the construction of strategic oil storage facilities for the country's energy security.

Moily said in a statement that the UPA was targeting such price shocks and strategic oil storage on three, given the rise in gasoline and diesel prices for the third year in a row as a result of devastating Saudi attacks on international oil markets Places were built and two more were in preparation.

The current government has been moving at a snail's pace over the last six years to use these facilities (given the price volatility), he said. This is criminal neglect on the part of the Ministry of Oil.

He said Congress-led UPA had built oilfields in Vizag, Andhra Pradesh and Padur, and Mangalore, Karnataka, to guard against contingencies and emergencies.

The caverns were commissioned during my tenure as the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, he said, adding that India's strategic oil reserves are 55 percent of the available underground storage capacity of 5.33 million tons.

The UPA-2 had also planned two more caverns - one in Odisha and one in Padur in Udupi in Karnataka.

All preparatory work was carried out. The current NDA government has not taken another step to build the new caverns, he said.

The UPA-2 had a master plan to build refinery capacity in both the private and public sectors and to tap unconventional resources such as shale and CBM alongside conventional sources to make the country self-sufficient by 2030 in terms of production and refining capacity, he said ,

The steps of UPA-1 and UPA-2 were cold-shouldered by the current NDA regime. The NDA government appears to be quite happy when making statements after the others, without taking concrete steps to make India in terms of oil reserves and self-sufficiency. He added that such emergencies and contingencies as the current crisis in Saudi Arabia are.

The price of petrol on Thursday increased by 29 paisa per liter to 72.71 rupees and the price of diesel by 19 paisa to 66.01 rupees per liter in the state capital.

The hike went back to 39 paisa per liter increase in gasoline and diesel prices in the last two days.

The Thursday increase is the largest one-day hike since Treasury Secretary Nirmala Sitharaman's budget on 5 July, where rates have been increased by nearly Rs 2.50 per liter due to the increase in excise duties on fuel.

Following Saturday's drone strikes, international oil prices rose by nearly 20 percent in intraday trading on Monday - the largest increase in nearly 30 years - as the attacks halved production in Saudi Arabia.

Interest rates have declined over the next two days and have accounted for about half of the profits. India imports 83 percent of its oil needs, of which Saudi Arabia supplies one-fifth. Saudi Arabia is the second largest supplier after Iraq. It sold 40.33 million tonnes of crude oil to India in fiscal year 2018/19, when the country imported 207.3 million tonnes of oil. ANZ MR

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