Following the three successful pilots — one each by the state-run oil marketing companies (OMCs) — to deliver diesel at doorsteps, each of these firms will soon have eight such test projects.
While OMCs till now were directly offering the service, start-ups under the supervision of the OMCs, and private fuel retailers such as Reliance Industries and Essar Oil, now renamed Nayara Energy, will also be allowed to offer doorstep delivery of diesel if they show interest and obtain required permissions.
According to a person close to the development, requisite permissions from the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO), which works under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, have been obtained to scale up pilots. The three earlier pilots in Pune, Mumbai and Delhi have been conducted for three months by Indian Oil, HPCL and BPCL. However, the 24 pilots planned now will likely to be conducted for six months.
“These pilots will give a larger sense in terms of whether the project can be implemented across the country,” said the person.
Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan had announced the idea of home delivery of fuel in April 2017. Liquefied petroleum gas and piped natural gas are currently delivered to households, apart from fuel retail outlets selling lubricants and diesel in containers for agricultural use. Kerosene is also sold in containers to eligible beneficiaries at government fair price shops.
Around 3.5 crore transactions for buying diesel and petrol take place daily across petrol pumps in the country and doorstep delivery is aimed at easing congestion at outlets, apart from providing convenience. Diesel has been selected for pilots as it is considered less hazardous than petrol once taken out of the licensed area for dispensing into motor vehicles.
Vehicles used for dispensing diesel need approval from the PESO and fuel is dispensed wherein the vehicle is fenced, with 4.5 metre being left vacant on both sides.
The current development is likely to augur well for start-ups which have been itching to enter the segment. In June 2017, Bengaluru-based start-up ANB fuels started home delivery of petrol and diesel under the brand, MyPetrolPump. But the PESO issued a notice to the OMCs to stop supply of fuel to the company citing that the fuel transportation service was unsafe.
“Now start-ups will also be allowed to do pilots. They will source from one of the fuel retailers and will be overseen by them. However, the responsibility of safe distribution of fuel will lie with the fuel retailer,” the person said.