The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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HPCL shrugs off divestment blow

Mumbai, Sept. 25: Unfazed by the divestment setback, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) has chalked out ambitious plans to foray into the exploration segment, enter Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and invest Rs 11,000 crore in the Tenth Plan.

The company has initially earmarked Rs 500 crore for exploration and production. However, this figure could change depending on the company’s position in the bidding process of New Exploration Policy-IV (NELP IV).

According to chairman and managing director M. B. Lal, the corporation is looking for a “big sized and long term entry” in the exploration and production segment. “We want to go in a significant manner, not in a peripheral way,” he said yesterday. Investments in this segment could go up to Rs 1,500 crore if the corporation does well in the exploration and production segment.

The company is not looking at a joint venture to bid for the oil blocks, Lal added. However, it may opt for strategic partnerships which would offer technical support. The expertise of Prize Petroleum Company, a joint venture with some experience in the upstream sector, will be taken.

Senior company officials said that of the Rs 11,000-crore investment, over Rs 1,600 crore and Rs 1,100 crore would be spent to develop better fuel at its Vizag and Mumbai refineries respectively. While Rs 1,105 crore will be dedicated towards retail automation, upgradation and modernisation, Rs 1,027 crore will be spent on terminals and Rs 400 crore on product pipelines.

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