Gas price hiked due to low domestic output: Chidambaram

New Delhi, June 28 (IANS) Finance Minister P. Chidambaram Friday said the government was forced to almost double the gas prices due to low domestic output and difficult macroeconomic situation.

"Decline in domestic production is resulting in rise in import of LNG. We have to produce more gas," Chidambaram said while addressing a media conference here.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday approved a proposal to hike gas price for the first time in three years.

Chidambaram said due to decline in domestic output and rising consumption, oil import bill was becoming unsustainable.

The finance minister emphasised the need for creating a conducive environment to promote investments in boosting domestic gas production.

He said high gas price would help attract investments in the sector.

"The gas pricing will promote investment in the sector and there is no reason to assume that prices will always increase," he said.

Chidambaram emphasised that the government has not taken the decisions under pressure from the private sector.

"We are not being influenced by anyone... We are influenced by the economic reality to produce more gas," he said.