New Delhi: Amid the Russia-Ukraine war, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday said oil companies will determine the fuel prices, even as he said there will be no shortage of crude oil in the country.

Puri, however, said the government will take decisions in the best interest of citizens.

“I assure you all that there will be no shortage of crude oil. We will make sure that our energy requirements are met, even though 85 per cent of our requirements are dependent on imports for crude oil and 50-55 per cent on gas,” Puri said at a press conference here.

He refuted the allegation that the fuel prices were reduced by the Centre earlier due to elections and the rates will be hiked again after the polls.

Puri said the Centre had reduced Rs 5 per litre on petrol and Rs 10 per litre on diesel last year, but “young leaders” said it was done because of the Assembly elections in five states, the results of which will be announced on March 10.

He said people should take note of other conditions such as the Ukraine-Russia crisis to understand why the rates were hiked globally.

“Oil prices are determined by global prices and there is a war-like situation in one part of the world and the oil companies will factor that in. The oil companies will themselves determine the prices. We will take decisions in the best interest of the citizens,” Puri said.

He said when economic activities came to a halt due to the lockdowns clamped to curb the spread of COVID-19, the global oil prices fell significantly.

“But now, because of tension and the military action in Ukraine, it (the oil prices) has gone up. The oil companies will take a decision in this regard (to increase prices),” the minister said.

Crude oil prices rose by Rs 37 to Rs 9,321 per barrel on Tuesday as participants widened their positions on a firm spot demand.

On the Multi Commodity Exchange, crude oil for March delivery traded higher by Rs 37 or 0.4 per cent at Rs 9,321 per barrel in 9,660 lots.

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