Reliance Industries may propose to sell or lease out its 1,432 petrol pumps to Indian Oil Corporation even as it will reopen shortly the outlets that were shut a year ago.
Reliance may propose to transfer its petrol stations into a joint venture company run by the state firm,a source said.
The company had invested about Rs 5,000 crore in setting up the retail network and it does not make sense for it to keep them idle, he said.
Partnership with IOC would help the company overcome the handicap of not being able to use fuel from its two refineries at Jamnagar in Gujarat because they have been converted into only-for-exports units. Also,it would enable the pumps to avail of subsidy if the government doesnt free fuel pricing and international oil prices bounce back.
But IOC has not yet taken a view on the fillers sent by Reliance,the source said. A Reliance spokesperson did not return call made to get company comments.
The company,at the same time,is buying petrol and diesel from refiners such as MRPL and Ruias-owned Essar Oil to reopen its petrol pumps in phases.
The company has started removing the protective gear put around dispensing units when the petrol pumps were shut in March last year. From Monday (March 16),it will start preparation to sell petrol and diesel from some of these, a source said. It had shut all of its 1,432 petrol pumps in the country a year ago after sales dropped to almost nil as it could not match the subsidised price offered by public sector competition despite rising cost of crude oil.
IOC,BPCL and HPCL get bonds from the government and discounts from crude producer ONGC for selling petrol,diesel,domestic LPG and kerosene below cost.
Reliance is now using fuel from other refineries to reopen these outlets as the only-for-exports status for both its refineries at Jamnagar in Gujarat makes it prohibitive for it to sell fuel domestically.