A newly formed joint venture of French supermajor Total and an Adani group firm will soon apply to the government for permission to open petrol pumps in India, Adani Gas chief executive said. Total-Adani Fuels Marketing Ltd will apply for licences to offer the full bouquet of auto fuels at retail outlets, Adani Gas CEO Suresh Manglani said in first-quarter earnings call.
Last year, Total had bought 37.4 per cent stake in billionaire Gautam Adani-promoted Adani Gas to enter the world’s fastest-growing fuel market. “Definitely we will take full benefit of the expertise and strength of Total,” he said.
Total-Adani Fuels Marketing Ltd, which is a subsidiary of Adani Gas , will offer natural gas, petrol, diesel, and electric vehicle charging facilities. He said the joint venture will seek licence under the liberalised fuel retailing regime announced by the government.
Last year, the government allowed any entity with a net worth of Rs 250 crore to set up petrol pumps in the country.
This replaced the earlier regime of only companies that have invested Rs 2,000 crore in either hydrocarbon exploration and production, refining, pipelines or liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals to be allowed to retail fuel in the country.
Manglani said Total has got a second seat on Adani Gas board after the appointment of Jose Ignacio Sanz Saiz, who is vice-president for gas, renewables, and power in India and Country Chair of Total. “Currently we are focusing on CNG development. But a separate company, Total-Adani Fuels Marketing Ltd will come into fuel retailing in the future. That plan is being developed. We will be offering multi-fuel to customers,” he said.
The Gautam Adani-led utility firm sells piped natural gas (PNG) to households and compressed natural gas (CNG) for vehicles and aims to diversify into retail sales of other fuels through this joint venture.
Total, which in August 2018 exited a JV with Royal Dutch Shell in a 5 million tonne liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal at Hazira in Gujarat, had in October last year announced the acquisition of the stake in Adani Gas.
This was followed by a 50:50 joint venture the two had agreed upon in October 2018 for two LNG import terminals of Adani on the east and west coast of India as well as for setting up of 1,500 petrol pumps in the country over 10 years.
The French firm is the latest energy major seeking to expand its presence in India, which is the world’s third-largest and the fastest-growing energy consumer. In August 2019, Reliance Industries said Saudi Arabian Oil Co is in talks to buy 20 per cent of its oil-to-chemical business at an enterprise value of USD 75 billion.
State-owned oil marketing companies Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) currently own most of the 69,924 petrol pumps in the country. Reliance Industries, Nayara Energy (formerly Essar Oil), and Royal Dutch Shell are the private players in the market but with limited presence. Reliance, which operates the world’s largest oil refining complex, has 1,400 outlets.
Nayara has 5,756 pumps, while Shell has just 194.
Currently, IOC is the market leader with 29,368 petrol pumps in the country, followed by HPCL with 16,707 outlets, and BPCL with 16,492 fuel stations