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HPCL to raise tankage in eastern region

Our Bureau

KOLKATA, March 26

HINDUSTAN Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) is in the process of augmenting its tankage capacity in the eastern region.

The capacity, currently estimated at 1.5 lakh KL, is to rise by another 15,000 KL shortly, with the commissioning of a depot at Rajbandh (near Durgapur) within the next few days.

Two more depots — one each at Somnathpur near Balasore in Orissa and Jasidih in Jharkhand — are in the pipeline. While the Somnathpur depot will be launched within the next few months, the one at Jasidih may be launched in another year or so.

It might be noted that HPCL has five depots and one terminal in Orissa and three depots at Jharkhand. In the eastern region, the company has five terminals — four in West Bengal (two at Budge Budge and one each at Ramnagar and Haldia) and one in Orissa (Paradip) — and a total of 18 depots spread over West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and the north-eastern states. In West Bengal, the Rajbandh depot will be the company's first depot in the State.

The terminals, all port-based, are much bigger in size and capacity and are linked to depots (located inland and are of smaller in sizes) by rail and roadways.

In the eastern region, HPCL has a market share of 21.7 per cent in motor spirit (petrol) and 21.9 per cent in diesel and plans to increase the same to more than 22 per cent each in the fiscal 2002-03. The eastern region accounts for 11 per cent of the company's total business.

From April 1, when there would be no Oil Co-ordination Committee to provide the transport subsidy following the dismantling of the administered pricing mechanism (APM), the public sector oil companies would be sharing products among themselves and the arrangement would be in force for two years.

Thus HPCL, which has no refinery in the eastern region, would draw upon supplies from the Indian Oil Corporation's Haldia refinery to feed its market in the region. At the same time it would supply products from its refineries to IOC in Maharashtra and Karnataka where the latter does not have any refinery.

According to Mr S. Biswas, deputy general manager, HPCL, eastern region, the company proposes to open two retail outlets for auto LPG in the State in the next financial year. The company has only one such outfit in Mumbai, while the other is proposed to be launched soon in Delhi.

In 2002-03, the company proposes to open more than 20 retail outlets for auto LPG all over the country. One problem with setting up auto LPG is that it requires a large space, at least 20,000 to 25,000 sq ft.

Earlier, Mr Biswas announced the launching of Club HP in 16 retail outlets of the company in the city. The scheme, also launched on Tuesday in 85 retail outlets of the company in four metros, namely, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore, presupposed offering value-added services and facilities to customers from these selected outlets.

The kind of services to be offered would depend on which of the three categories, namely, standard, mega and max, the retail outlets belonged to. The top class services would be offered at the max category and the standard would offer just certain routine services.

In Kolkata, there is only one max category retail outlet, 11 belonging to the mega category and four to standard.

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