Reliance's ambitious marketing plan to sell petrol

Vol 6, PW 4 (24 Apr 02) Midstream & Downstream

TO CALL it 'ambitious' would be the understatement of the year.

When approved, Reliance's marketing plan for petrol and diesel, submitted to the oil ministry on 28th February, will change the face of the country - literally! Imagine the Reliance logo emblazoned on 5,849 petrol pumps from Maharashtra (where it plans to set up 684) to Assam (where it plans 110), from Jammu & Kashmir (45) to Tamil Nadu (560). Is it any wonder Reliance might have to wait a while before getting approval Yet it might come sooner than you think.

Reliance's application proudly states that it has spent Rs14,000cr ($2.86bn) on construction of its 27m t/y refinery at Jamnagar - easily surpassing the Rs2,000cr ($408) entry ticket to set up a network of petrol stations. Reliance wants to build coastal and inland tankage terminals across the country to store a total of 1.7m kilolitres of product - to add to the 12.9m capacity already available with PSUs.

And for the first time we have official confirmation from Reliance that it's planning to build "additional cross-country pipelines as soon as the need for such a pipeline arises and the proposition is economically viable." For now Reliance is happy to "move the product through the existing pipeline system subject to the pipeline systems coming under the common carrier principle." As for its coastal terminals, these will be "replenished" by tankers. Reliance also "intends to put up facilities for storage and distribution" alongside the Petronet-India promoted Central India Pipeline when it is constructed.

One thing Reliance does not tell us is how much all this will cost. A host of bankers, consultants and contractors are no doubt lining up ready to oblige.

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