Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Sunday, Aug 11, 2002
BPCL, Petronas in talks for crude supply deal
Mr S. Behuria, CMD, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd, and Mr S. Varadarajan, General Manager, Retail (South), at a press conference in Chennai on Saturday.
CHENNAI, Aug. 10
BHARAT Petroleum Corporation Ltd is in talks with Petronas of Malaysia for sourcing crude oil, BPCL's Chairman and Managing Director, Mr S. Behuria, told a press conference here on Saturday.
Until April, all the crude needed by refineries in the country was canalised through the Indian Oil Corporation. But since the beginning of this financial year, refiners such as BPCL have to buy crude themselves.
BPCL has tied up about 55 per cent of its crude oil needs with various suppliers. It expects to similarly firm up another 10 per cent of its requirements, the rest would be bought in the spot market, Mr Behuria said.
Mr Behuria was here in connection with the launch of `Speed', a branded fuel for petrol-powered vehicles, which is a blend of petrol and a special additive bought from Chevron Oronite Company. The blended fuel, available at select petrol stations, is retailed at Rs 1.26 more than the "normal" petrol price.
Mr Behuria said use of Speed would result in enhanced overall engine performance, in terms of easy starting, smooth idling, reduced emission and higher power.
Answering questions, Mr Behuria said all the legal hurdles in the case of the proposed Bina refinery had been removed, thanks to a recent Supreme Court's order, which lifted a restraint placed by a department of the Gujarat State Government.
However, he said, the project cost of the 6-mtpa refinery had increased from around Rs 5,000 crore to Rs 6,500 crore, and therefore, BPCL would have to go to the Government of India for approval of the enhanced investment.
Mr Behuria said BPCL had only on Friday received a directive from the Government, ordering the cancellation of the petrol bunks awarded since January. He said during the period, around 850 dealers and distributors had received BPCL's franchise, of which around 520 were operational.
Those that are not operational would be immediately advised of the cancellation of the LoIs.
BPCL would take over those that have begun operations and re-commission them after inviting competitive bids.
Mr Behuria said BPCL's proposal for coming out with an initial public offering was pending with the Government.
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