Gail, IFFCO, Shell, OOC Plan Consortium To Bid For HPCL

New Delhi, December 24: | Updated: Dec 25 2002, 05:30am hrs
Leading public sector companies along with international oil and gas majors including Gas Authority of India Limited (Gail), Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Ltd (IFFCO), Shell International and Oman Oil Company (OOC) are planning to form a consortium to bid for government equity in Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL).

Top industry sources revealed that Gail has already held discussions with Shell. Also, IFFCO chairman and managing director US Awasthi was recently in Oman to hold discussions with OOC. When contacted, CMD, Gail, Proshanto Banerjee refused to comment. However, he did not deny holding talks with Shell and IFFCO. Mr Awasthi also declined comment saying, It was premature to say anything. He too did not deny that IFFCO had approached Gail and OOC for forming a consortium to bid for HPCL. IFFCO was earlier planning to submit a joint bid with KRIBHCO.

The government has recently announced its decision to privatise HPCL through the strategic sale route. The finer details on disinvestment proposals in HPCL and BPCL, including the quantum of strategic sale, public offer and the criteria for bidders, is being worked out by the disinvestment ministry in consultation with the petroleum ministry. A final view on sell-off modalities will be taken by the Cabinet Committee on Disinvestment (CCD).

Alongside, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) are also mulling a 50:50 joint venture to bid for HPCL.

Sources said that while the government is yet to formally announce the entry of PSUs in the bidding process of HPCL, it has already been agreed at a recent meeting of senior Cabinet ministers, chaired by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, that administrative ministries can submit a proposal on allowing PSUs under their control to bid for HPCL.

Once allowed to bid, the consortia of PSUs along with international oil majors are planning to submit aggressive bids for acquiring government equity in HPCL, said a potential PSU bidder.

Other players likely to participate in the bidding process include ONGC, Reliance Industries Limited, BP Amoco and Kuwait Petroleum.