Rising crude prices, shift to clean energy pose hurdles to BPCL sale
The bid to cross the finishing line on the sale of BPCL by March is facing the twin hurdles of a global crude price spike and the growing shift away from fossil fuels to clean energy. The rapid-fire final rounds of the Air India strategic sale had encouraged the Modi government to wrap up the BPCL exercise quickly.
Analysts said the government’s nudges to state-owned refiners on the pricing of petrol and diesel could dissuade bidders unless they get a categorical assurance from the Centre to allow the full play of market forces.
State-owned refiners continue to price petrol and diesel keeping in mind political considerations as they do not increase product prices during the poll period.
“This would result in unfair competition as the new private buyers of BPCL would have to price their products similar to the state-owned refiner, which would not be market determined,” the analysts said.
The growing shift away from fossil fuel has emerged as a new challenge to the government’s strategic sale of the refiner.
Global energy firms and other investors are keen to be associated with the green fuel which would make it a difficult task for the bidders to rope in firms with technical and financial muscle to clinch the deal.
Saudi Arabia, the world's top crude oil exporter, has announced plans to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2060, setting out an initial $190 billion spending plan and joining a growing list of nations and firms.