Reliance fuel blues

Vol 14, PW 20 (07 Apr 11) News in Brief

Fuel retailers in Gujarat claim Reliance is on the verge of closing its petrol pump business altogether.

PETROWATCH learns Reliance has shut nearly 20 petrol stations across India in the last three months alone, mostly in Gujarat. More, Reliance has stopped paying its nationwide network of fuel retail dealers their monthly ‘Return on Investment’ with effect from April 1, one of the few incentives to persist in Reliance’s loss-making business.

Gujarat once had nearly 325 fully functioning Reliance fuel stations but this has dropped to just 110, most only partially operational. Of the 1432 retail stations Reliance originally set up across India, only about 150 stations are fully operational, while about 450 stations are partially operational.

Dealers find it difficult to sell Reliance fuel to cars, trucks and buses when diesel and petrol is available much cheaper at fuel retail stations run by state-owned oil marketing companies IndianOil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum.