Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri on Sunday urged oil marketing companies to cut petrol and diesel prices if crude oil prices in the international market decrease, ANI reported.

“Oil marketing companies should cut down prices once international prices are stabilised and they have managed to recover under-recovery,” he said at an event in Varanasi.

Under-recovery refers to selling fuel at rates below the cost of production.

Petrol and diesel prices have remained unchanged in the country since May 22. On May 21, the Union government had reduced excise duty on petrol by Rs 8 per litre, and on diesel by Rs 6 per litre.

Puri said that prices of Brent Crude, a leading benchmark for crude oil, have come down, while India is increasing imports from Russia. “Both of these have a combined impact on the overall fuel import bill, but losses are still there which seems to be the reason why oil marketing companies are not able to cut the prices,” he said.

The minister said that the oil companies acted responsibly by not burdening consumers with a rise in global energy prices in aftermath of the war in Ukraine.

“One reason for keeping prices of petrol and diesel under check is the reduction in taxes,” Puri said, reported ANI. “The central government revised the taxes twice between November 2021 and May 2022.”

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year, Western countries have tried to curb Moscow’s revenues from oil exports to limit financial flows supporting the war. However, India has continued to import crude oil from Russia.