The fuel retail business in the country is set to face some competition with the petroleum ministry simplifying norms for bulk and retail sale of petrol and diesel.
An entity with a net worth of at least Rs 500 crore is eligible to obtain the liberalised licence for both bulk and retail sales, which is seen as a move to attract global giants such as Total SA of France, Saudi Arabia’s Aramco, BP Plc of the UK, and Trafigura’s downstream arm Puma Energy in the sector.
Currently state-owned refiners virtually monopolise the market in which IOC is the market leader with 29,368 petrol pumps, followed by HPCL with 16,707 outlets, and BPCL with 16,492 fuel stations.
Clarifying on the November 2019 liberalised fuel licensing regime, the ministry of petroleum and natural gas said any entity with a net worth of Rs 250 crore can get a licence to retail petrol and diesel to either bulk or retail consumers.
For those seeking authorisation for both retail and bulk sale should have a minimum net worth of Rs 500 crore at the time of application, it said in a statement.
The clarification arose as some of the interested parties had sought so on the net worth clause, officials said.
Last year, the government had relaxed the norms for the retailing of auto fuels, allowing non-oil companies to venture into the business. Prior to that, a company had to invest Rs 2,000 crore in either hydrocarbon exploration and production, refining, pipelines or liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals to obtain a fuel retailing licence in India.