‘BPCL privatization on track’
   Date :14-Oct-2020

Dharmendra Pradhan_1 
OIL Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Tuesday said, there was no scaling down of the capacity of the planned mega 60 MTPA refinery on the west coast as it was essential to meet future fuel and petrochemical demand in the country. Pradhan also said, the privatization of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) was very much on track but the Government was treading cautiously given the size of the divesture. Speaking at the Energy Intelligence Forum 2020, he said, fuel demand is expected to reach pre-COVID-19 levels in the first quarter of the 2021 calendar year.
“India currently has an oil refining capacity of around 250 million tonnes per annum (MTPA). In the next decade, we want to add another 100 million tonnes. Looking at our demand, we must have 350 million tonnes refining capacity by 2030,” he said. India, the world’s third-largest oil consumer, is likely to see fuel consumption double by 2050 despite the push for renewables and alternate sources of energy such as battery-run vehicles or EVs. “We are little lagging behind (in implementation schedule) not because of the economic issue but certain local issues.
We are not going to rethink the size of the refinery,” he said. Land acquisition has delayed the project and the lead promoters of the refinery are talking to the Maharashtra Government for suitable land, Pradhan said. The project was earlier planned to be located at Ratnagiri but ran into land acquisition hurdles, leading to a search for an alternate site.
The refinery, where Saudi Aramco and Abu Dhabi National Oil Co have taken a combined 50 per cent stake, was originally planned to be commissioned by 2024-25. On the privatization of oil refining and fuel marketing company BPCL, the Oil Minister said, “divestment is very much on the cards” but the Government was treading very cautiously because of the size of the sale. The Government, which is selling all of its 51.11 per cent stake in BPCL, has already postponed initial bid deadline four times and the expression of interests are now due next month. At current prices, the Government stake is worth Rs 37,600 crore and the buyer will also have to make an open offer to acquire an additional 26 per cent from the public which will cost another Rs 19,000 crore, he said.