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BPCL focus on exports

Calcutta, Aug.30: Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) is going all out to beef up exports with its petro products like lubricants and high speed diesel.

S.A. Narayan, BPCL director (human resource) said the company is looking at the export opportunities in Africa, West Asia and south-east Asia.

“We have set up an international division to deal with the export-import businesses. We have already taken initiatives to export our lubricants and the response from our target markets are very good,” Narayan said.

He was speaking at the launch of the company’s high performance petrol ‘Speed,’ which will be available in the city from its 70 ‘Pure for sure’ retail outlets.

Asked if the company is planning to explore the international markets through joint ventures, Narayan said all possibilities are being looked into. “We have to go by the norms of a particular country where we want to export. Somewhere we may appoint an agent or in some cases a joint venture may be the option. But everything is now in a very nascent stage and we will do whatever is needed to strengthen our export mission,” he said.

Narayan said that deregulation in the oil sector has offered various opportunities to the Indian oil companies and BPCL is going to tap these. “We are also importing crude and base oil now from various countries. If the situation demands, we may enter into international futures trading subject to the government’s approval,” he said.

BPCL, which is top on the government’s disinvestment agenda for the current year, may also merge its subsidiary Kochi Refineries Ltd with itself to prop up the overall valuation.

“The employees of Kochi Refineries are very keen on the merger and we are also not averse to it,” Narayan said. He, however, refused to divulge further details on the issue.

If KRL is merged with BPCL, the refining capacity of the public sector oil major will increase to over 13 million tonnes per year from the existing level of six million tonnes. Sources said the move is being planned to jack up BPCL’s share price prior to the disinvestment programme.

BPCL currently holds 55.04 per cent in KRL while banks and financial institutions have a combined stake of 23.69 per cent. The public holding is a little higher than 13 per cent. BPCL had acquired the stake in KRL, which has a capacity of 7.50 million tonnes per year, in March 2001 at Rs 83 per share.

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