sold to the railways, state transport corporations, defence, power plants, other industrial users, etc. These entities were getting diesel at prices even lower than subsidised rates prevailing at retail outlets.India consumes around 64.5 million tonnes of diesel, out of which around 12 million tonnes is bulk sales.
The move to deregulate bulk diesel had led private oil refiners like Reliance and Essar to hope that they could exploit the opportunity. But with the drop in sales volumes and diversion towards retail sales, the private companies haven’t made any headway in the space.
“We have received enquiries from some bulk consumers and are exploring the options of serving them. As the majority of the bulk consumers are either government or government-controlled units, we can look for some volume customers in Gujarat. Most of the bulk consumers have annual contracts and we will participate once they come up for renewal,” an Essar Oil spokesperson said.
However, industry expert feels that if the diversion is not controlled with immediate effect, the slide in bulk diesel sales is likely to continue fuelling black marketing.