BPCL To Set Up 800 Retail Outlets

Bangalore: | Updated: Jun 27 2003, 05:30am hrs
Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) plans to set up 800 new retail outlets across the country in the current fiscal. We have plans of putting up an aggressive expansion of about 800 new outlets, BPCL chairman and managing director S Behuria said at a press conference.

The company has also received the necessary regulatory approval to expand the network. Oil companies have been asked to put up their plans to the regulator. We have put it up and also got approval, he added.

He said during the past four years the company has been setting up on an average 120-140 retail outlets per year. Other oil companies such as Reliance, Essar Oil, Shell and Numaligarh Refinery Ltd have also received the green signal to set up retail outlets numbering around 10,000 in the country.

According to Mr Behuria, refinery margins are likely to decline in the current fiscal compared to the previous year. We have had a little less than $4 (margins) last year mainly because the product prices have remained high. This year so far the margins have not been good because there has been stability and prices have come down. It is unlikely to be as good as last year, he added.

The company is also exploring the possibilities of importing crude from West Africa to replace crude from Mumbai High. In the last fiscal, BPCL and Kochi Refineries Ltd (KRL) together required 16.5 million tonnes of crude and Mumbai High provided 7.5 million tonnes. The rest was imported, he said.

On the possibility of a VRS in BPCL, Mr Behuria said the company has not received any approval in this regard. We reckon about 10 per cent to be surplus as of today. But more than half may get absorbed in the new growth initiatives. And if we have a VRS, we may expect five per cent to leave. That will be about 600 people, he said. BPCL currently has 12,500 people on its rolls.