A new joint venture of the two firms will take over 1,400 petrol pumps run by Reliance along with its aviation fuel operations at more than 30 airports across India.
Former Indian Oil Corp (IOC) chairman Sarthak Behuria has joined Reliance Industries as a senior advisor and will help shape the firm’s fuel retail business. Behuria, 68, was till last year with the Adani Group. Sources said Behuria will provide “strategic direction and leadership” to the new fuel retail joint venture Reliance has floated with UK’s BP. Last year, BP Plc paid Rs 7,000 crore to buy a 49 per cent stake in Reliance’s fuel retail business.
A new joint venture of the two firms will take over 1,400 petrol pumps run by Reliance along with its aviation fuel operations at more than 30 airports across India. The partners plan to expand the fuel retailing network to as many as 5,500 fuel retail stations over the next five years. Reliance will hold 51 per cent in the new venture.
The BP deal was part of billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s plan to cut debt of Reliance. Alongside the BP deal, he had also (in August last year) announced plans to sell a 20 per cent stake the firm’s oil refining and petrochemicals division to Saudi Aramco at an enterprise value of USD 75 billion.
Reliance’s share of the fuel retail venture is included in the Aramco deal. St Stephen’s and IIM Ahmedabad-educated Behuria began his career in the energy industry by joining Burmah Shell in 1973. He was then absorbed in Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL), where he served varied portfolios in supply and distribution, sales, industrial relations, and downstream infrastructure, before rising to the position of Chairman and Managing Director in July 2002.
In 2005, Behuria was appointed as the Chairman of IOC, India’s largest oil refining and marketing company. At the end of his five-year term, he was eligible for an extension of service by about one year till his superannuation age but was denied an extension by the government.
Post exit from IOC, he served as Group President of KK Modi Group of Companies from 2010 to March 2016. He was Executive Director (LPG/LNG Business) in Adani Group between April 2016 and 2019.