By Nayan Dave
In the wake of increasing international crude prices, sales at Reliance Industries’ (RIL) over 160 fuel outlets across Gujarat are facing supply problems for petrol and diesel. In fact, some of the pumps have been forced to halt sales temporarily in the state.
One of the dealers of RIL in Ahmedabad, on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that sales from Jio-BP petrol stations have temporarily stopped from Sunday evening. However, on Monday, in a statement, a Jio-BP spokesperson said, “As we navigate this unprecedented scenario of volatile fuel prices, Jio-BP remains committed to fulfilling the brand’s promise of bringing the future of mobility to Indian customers. Any speculation around Jio-BP shutting down operations are conjectures without any basis.”
Not only RIL’s dealers, more than 1,600 dealers of the other two private companies — Nayara Energy and Shell — have also been facing the problem of irregular supply for the past couple of days, said Arvind Thakker, president of Federation of Gujarat Petroleum Dealers’ Association (FGPDA). According to Thakker, if these two companies decide to stop sales from their retail outlets, the state may see long queues at petrol pumps of government-owned Indian Oil (IOC), Hindustan Petroleum (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum (BPCL) in the near future.
Of the three-government owned companies, dealers of HPCL and BPCL are also facing a day’s delay in petrol and diesel supply, he added. There are nearly 4,500 petrol pumps of private and government-owned companies in Gujarat. Gujarat consumes nearly 550 million litres of diesel and 250 million litres of petrol per month. The current diesel price in Gujarat is Rs 99.50 per litre, said Thakker, adding, “Petroleum companies can’t afford to sell at this rate as they are incurring losses of Rs 25 per litre for diesel alone.”
Sources in Nayara Energy said that even in the current tough situation, the company is trying to continue supply to all its fuel dealers not only in Gujarat but across the country. As the fastest-growing private fuel station network in India, Nayara Energy has over 6,500 petrol pumps in India and over 1,200 pumps in various stages of commissioning. The company plans to have a network of over 8,200 petrol pumps by 2024, covering national and state highways as well as rural areas.
Mukesh Ambani-led RIL has a countrywide network of nearly 1,400 pumps. Shell has nearly 200 pumps in India.