OPEC raises price
The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) today raised the base price of its crude oil to $18 a barrel. The cartel also said members could add surcharges of as much as two dollars a barrel as market conditions permit, but set the maximum price of a barrel of OPEC oil, including allowances for quality, at $23.50. The new price structure in fact leaves OPEC a two-tiered system of prices, much like the one the cartel had in the first half of 1977. Saudi Arabia, which had held out for a low price, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, will be the only countries actually charging $18 a barrel.
MP river pollution
Even while large-scale pollution of rivers and streams in Madhya Pradesh is fast turning them into virtual septic drains, proving a serious health hazard to millions of people, the MP Prevention and Control of Water Pollution Board seems reluctant to take action against erring industries releasing untreated chemical pollutants into the rivers. Only 32 of the 170 industries, which have been given consent by the board, have bothered to install treatment plants to check their pollutants. But even after five years’ wait – the board was set up in 1974 – the authorities responsible for checking water pollution in the state have failed to use their sweeping powers against erring industries.
OPEC impacts India
The latest increase in crude prices announced on June 28 by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will impose an additional burden of Rs1,200 crore a year in foreign exchange. This volume of impact will be at the current level of crude imports totalling 16.5 million tonnes in 1979. Speaking at a meeting of the MPs Consultative Committee attached to his ministry, the petroleum and chemicals minister, H N Bahuguna, voiced his grave concern at the 35 per cent rise in the prices of crude approved by the OPEC at its meeting in Geneva.