India’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has revealed liberalized guidelines that would allow foreign oil companies, including those in the Gulf to carryout bulk and retail marketing of petrol and diesel in the country.
Leading global energy companies, including Saudi Aramco, Total of France and Trafigura, headquartered in Singapore, have been urging the Indian government to allow them to enter the retail segment of fuel marketing.
“The simplified guidelines aim at increasing private sector participation, including foreign players, in the marketing of motor spirit (petrol) and high-speed diesel. Any entity desirous of seeking authorization for either retail or bulk must have a minimum net worth of $33.3 million at the time of making the application and $66.5 million in case of authorization for both retail and bulk.”
Under the new liberalized regulations, approval for retail marketing will be given to an organization that will undertake to set up at least 100 sales outlets across India. “The policy has opened up the marketing sector of petroleum products by removing the strict conditions applicable earlier,” the Ministry claimed.
“The new policy has the potential to revolutionize the marketing of transport fuels in the country. It will also encourage dispensing of alternate fuels and augmentation of retail network in remote areas and ensure higher levels of customer service,” the announcement added.
Until now, oil firms seeking to enter fuel retailing business in India had to have specified investments in refining, pipelines, oil exploration and production or terminals in the country. Only Indian state-run oil companies had such investments, restricting fuel marketing business to these companies.