A late surge in oil prices is expected to increase India's oil import bill to its five-year high. As per estimates, India could close 2018-19 with crude import bill shooting to $115 billion, a growth of 30 per cent over 2017-18's $88 billion.The latest estimates are based on an increase in global crude oil prices from the second half of March when prices reached a new high in 2019. Crude is hovering around $70 a barrel on the back of extended production cuts from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia, and expectation of demand pick-up.
"The latest estimates suggest we could touch or cross $115 billion in oil imports in FY19. This is the highest level of imports in the five years of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government. The Modi government started with an import bill of $112.74 billion in FY15. This, however, went down in subsequent years as the global oil prices crashed," said an official source.However, contradicting apprehensions, the Oil Ministry's Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) in its latest assessment has made a conservative estimate of import bill growing by 27 per cent from $88 billion in 2017-18 to $112 billion in 2018-19.