In April 2017, petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan had through a tweet said the ministry was exploring ways for home delivery of petroleum products such as diesel and petrol.
Taking another step towards realising the ambitious target of delivering diesel and petrol at the doorstep, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), in consultation with the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO), has finalised the design of the container to be used for this. “We have advanced slightly. We had discussions with PESO and a design has been frozen for containers to be used. We have worked out a design and there may be minor changes in consultation with PESO,” said Sanjiv Singh, chairman, IOC. He added that at present, the initiative is only to home-deliver diesel given petrol is more hazardous once it goes out of the licenced area. In April 2017, petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan had through a tweet said the ministry was exploring ways for home delivery of petroleum products such as diesel and petrol. At present, liquefied petroleum gas and piped natural gas are delivered to households, and fuel retail outlets also sell lubricants and diesel for agricultural use in containers. Kerosene, too, is sold in containers to eligible beneficiaries at government fair price shops. Around 3.5 crore transactions to buy diesel and petrol take place across petrol pumps in the country every day. However, as reported by FE earlier, the idea had hit a roadblock as stakeholders including that from the petroleum ministry, oil marketing companies, department of consumer affairs, and the department of industry policy and promotion had raised concerns especially about the safety of the distribution mechanism.
The roll-out of the plan is yet to be decided though. “Given statutory clearances will be involved in the process, we do not want to take chances as far as safety is concerned and that is why we have not thought of a date as of now for roll-out,” said Singh. Usually, such plans first undergo a testing phase before actual implementation of the programme. Singh added that OMCs may also look for change in guidelines to increase the amount that can be carried for distribution as the current limit is too small for making it economically viable. As per current rules, licence for transport or storage of petroleum class B (non-bulk) in quantity not exceeding 2,500 litres and in receptacle not exceeding 1,000 litres is not required. Class B petroleum includes diesel but not petrol.
Though OMCs will take responsibility of the operations in order to keep the process within their supervision, but the activity will be done by external parties. “We will look at how to go about distribution of the product as we have to see the market we are going to serve and the volumes. However, it will not be done by us 100%. We will outsource,” added Singh.