Sunday, June 08, 2008

Oil Companies, Reverse Robinhood, and Zero Carbon, Me!

I am not a very figures kind of person, except when it is “figure” of the other kind. I can remember bank account numbers, pin codes, ATM codes, etc. but when it comes to remembering a lot of statistics I go blank.

But this thing was easier than expected. Since the government is increasing prices of petrol I did a few searches on the net and a few calculations. I found that all the oil companies owned by the government, including the ones that were prospecting for oil were running at losses.

I remember those halcyon days when Bharat Petroleum was Burmah Shell, and Hindustan Petroleum was Esso. These companies were making decent profits before the government nationalised them, and my friends, whose parents worked in these companies were well dressed, and came to school in bicycles from the nearby Shell Colony in Chembur, while I sweated it out on my two feet.

How can a government company that has a monopoly turn from making profit into making losses is what beats me. What gets my gall even further is that Aramco and other oil companies make obscene profits while our companies are wallowing in the red. Sheer inefficiency and laziness. Why look at Aramco when Reliance Petroleum, a recent entrant, can import crude, refine it and sell it locally and make a profit of Rs. 1,463.55 crore in 2001 (I don’t have the latest figures, but this will suffice).

Which makes our public sector oil companies including ONGC, HPCL, and BPCL into money guzzlers and blood suckers making losses in excess of Rs 8,000 crores. It’s to mitigate this loss that Manmohan and his merry company of friends are increasing prices. I did some simple maths and found that the increase in revenue being touted as the panacea will still not cover the losses made, and therefore the public sector companies will again be in the red. Remember my words!

Why is the government feeding these inefficient vultures who can neither fly or hunt for prey? Why can’t they privatise the oil companies and let them by run by the Ambanis, or the Ruias for that matter, if not the multinational corporations mentioned above? Why can’t oil in India retail at international prices, considering that our huge economy is so dependent upon it?

I saw a break-up of oil pricing in India and was amazed to find that taxes accounted for almost 50 per cent of the sale price. Why can’t these taxes be reduced? None other than Saha, a former chairman of ONGC has suggested that the regime of controls and public distribution benefit the rich and not the poor, something of a reverse Robinhood.

From an article in The Mint I found recently that I am one of those specimens who are the most unpolluting in the world. I use public transport, doesn’t use electricity to shave or brush my teeth (as such, the electricity board in my corner of the world switches off for a few hours when I am doing all these), don’t use the geyser (well, occasionally, when it’s too cold), I switch off the computer monitor when I am not using it, I don’t own a car, I don’t use deodorants (the worst contributor of chlorofluorocarbons), and therefore I don’t contribute much to the carbon deposits in the outer atmosphere. Ergo, I should be compensated with Carbon Credits which have recently started trading on MCX (India’s commodity exchange, read this poem I wrote.)

Oh forget that, who bothers, but what I don’t understand is that good carbon citizen that I am, why am I being penalised by the higher prices I am going to pay for the autorickshaw, the vegetables, the train tickets, etc. just because the national oil companies are making losses.

Privatise those damn bloodsuckers and fire those drones who sit guzzling all my money in those mammoth oil companies! Damn you reverse Robinhoods!

1 comment:

dayanand said...

Hello Sir,

I remember an article i read which had a point and a counter point in 1990. It said oil prices wont go up more than 100 $ per barrel as price cannot go after a limit. But we have 135 $ a barrel now... lol....