India’s private fuel retailers — Reliance-bp and Russia’s Rosneft-backed Nayara Energy — have begun pricing petrol and diesel at market rates for the first time in over a year after a fall in global oil prices cut losses, sources said.
Reliance BP Mobility (RBML), a joint venture between Reliance Industries Limited and UK’s bp, Nayara Energy and Shell sold petrol and diesel at huge losses as they tried to match the below-cost frozen rates of dominant public sector retailers.
The losses were despite pricing fuel at slightly higher rates than state-owned Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL).
But a fall in international oil prices over the last six weeks has helped bring the PSU pump-matching retail rates on a par with cost, three sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.
Nayara, the largest private fuel retailer that owns over 7 per cent of India’s 86,855 petrol pumps, started pricing petrol and diesel at market rates sometime in March and RBML’s 1,555 petrol pumps are selling diesel on a par from this month.
With oil prices dropping to $78 per barrel this week from being high, RBML is offering a Re 1 per litre discount over PSU rates, at select petrol pumps, they said, adding the joint venture, however, continues to price petrol at rates higher than PSU competition.
While the softening international oil prices had rekindled hopes for a revision in retail prices by the PSU, an oil ministry official stated that a cut in rates is now likely as IOC, BPCL and HPCL are yet to fully recoup the losses they incurred on selling petrol and diesel at rates below cost last year.
The three public sector retailers have broken even on petrol but there are some losses on diesel, the official said.
Sources said diesel at all Jio-bp outlets is now on a par with PSU competition or at market price.
However, Jio-bp — the brand under which RBML retails fuel — isn’t selling regular diesel but high-performance diesel designed for Indian vehicles and roads to give better fuel economy.