MUMBAI: The historic rout in oil markets that sent US crude prices plummeting to as much as minus USD 40 a barrel is unlikely to translate into any big reduction in petrol and diesel prices in India as domestic pricing is based on different benchmark, and refineries are already filled up to brim and cannot buy US crude just yet.

With storage capacity already overflowing amid coronavirus-induced demand collapse, traders rushed to get rid of unwanted stocks triggering the collapse of US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for May delivery.

Indian Oil Corp (IOC) Chairman Sanjiv Singh said the collapse was triggered by traders unable to take deliveries of crude they had previously booked because of a demand collapse. And so, they paid the seller to keep oil in their storage. "If you look at June futures, it is trading in positive territory... around USD 20 per barrel," he said.

Low oil prices may seem good in short-term but in the long run it will hurt the oil economy as producers will have no surplus to invest in exploration and production which will lead to a drop in production, he said.

Oil companies have not changed rates despite a fall in international prices as they first adjusted them against the increase that was warranted from a Rs 3 per litre hike in excise duty and close to Re 1 per litre additional cost of switching over to cleaner BS-VI grade fuel from April 1.

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