RIL-BP venture in fuel retail
Reliance Industries Ltd and BP on Tuesday announced a new joint venture to sell auto fuels and ATF in the country.
The new partnership extends their alliance in oil exploration and will see the duo expand Reliance’s network of petrol pumps to 5,500 over five years from 1,400 at present. The proposed investment was not disclosed.
The joint venture comes at a time the auto sector is mired in a slump, marked by falling sales.
However, Reliance-BP feels the slowdown is temporary. A statement from RIL said over the next 20 years the country would become the fastest growing market for fuels, with the number of cars estimated to grow almost six-fold.
The joint venture will assume ownership of Reliance’s existing fuel retail network in the country and access its aviation turbine fuel (ATF) business. It will be held 51 per cent by the Mukesh D Ambani flagship and the rest by BP.
RIL disclosed the final agreements will be reached by the end of the year. Subject to regulatory and other customary approvals, the transaction will be complete in the first half of 2020.
Besides selling fuels at petrol pumps, the venture will have novelties such as mobile-fuelling units and packaged fuel, including home-delivery. The statement said Reliance-BP would leverage Jio’s customer base.
The venture is also expected to benefit from access to fuels from RIL’s Jamnagar refining complex.
Reliance chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani signed the agreement with Bob Dudley, group chief executive of BP.
“This partnership is a testimony to the strong ties between BP and Reliance. Our robust partnership in developing gas resources in India has now expanded to fuel retailing and aviation fuels. This transformative partnership will deepen our engagement with the consumers in further enhancing the world-class services across the country, Ambani said.
“India is set to be the world’s largest growth market for energy by the mid-2020s. BP is already a large investor here and we see further attractive, strategic opportunities to support this growth. We are working closely with Reliance to develop India’s gas resources, helping to meet the country’s demand for the key fuel,” Dudley said.