PRL, NRL, Byco under radar- proposal floated to shut refineries

There are reports that the government is planning to hike prices of petroleum products by a hefty sum as crude oil hit a seven-year high after an increase of 3 percent.

However, talks on the Iranian nuclear programme still offer a ray of hope.

The soaring prices are also the result of an international conflict. Russia has massed troops near Ukraine borders. The US and the UK have already ordered their citizens to leave the country.

On Friday, Brent crude future rose to $94.44 a barrel after an increase of $3.03, or 3.3 percent, while West Texas Intermediate rose to $93.10 after a hike of $3.22 or 3.6 percent.

Experts believe the hike could translate into an increase of Rs4 to Rs5 per litre in the prices of petrol and diesel for Pakistani consumers.

Crude prices have been fluctuating since early February. Brent stood at $89.26 on January 31. It rose to $93.27 on February 4 but slumped to $90.78 by February 9.

The Pakistan government absorbed the previous hike by reducing the sales tax on petroleum products.

Experts say if the government decides to pass on the overall increase to consumers, the prices of petrol and diesel could rise by up to Rs12.

The future of oil prices depends on the outcome of the Iran nuclear talks and the Ukraine conflict. British Financial expert Joel Frank says a Russian attack may push the crude oil to above $100.

On the other hand, successful nuclear talks would allow Iran to sell its oil and gas in the international market.

LNG: Meanwhile, prices of liquified natural gas (LNG) have gone down.

The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) has set the price for Sui Northern Gas Company for February at $13.37 per MMBTU which was $13.56 in January while the price for Sui Southern Gas Company has been fixed at $14.07 for February which was $14.28 in January.

In November, the government was faced with the option of either buying LNG at a spot price of $30 per MMBTU or let the country experience a gas shortage.


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