RIL puts on hold plans to reopen petrol pumps

RIL puts on hold plans to reopen petrol pumps

Mumbai: India’s biggest company by market capital, Reliance Industries Ltd, has put on hold plans to reopen its retail fuel outlets following the Union government’s decision last week to cut petrol prices by Rs5 per litre and diesel by Rs2 per litre. RIL shut its petrol pumps in March.

The move to cut fuel prices—announced by petroleum minister Murli Deora on Friday—has made the reopening of RIL’s 1,432 pumps across the country “not feasible any more", according to a company executive. He did not want to be named because the company has not made a public announcement about the move yet.

In November, the Press Trust of India cited R.S. Pandey, secretary in the petroleum ministry, as saying that “Reliance has informed us that they are keen on reopening their outlets".

RIL and Essar Oil Ltd exited the automobile fuel supply business this year because they couldn’t compete with below-cost prices at which state-owned retailers sold petrol and diesel.

Private oil companies say they are at a disadvantage because state-owned companies are compensated through oil bonds they can’t avail of.

“We are not aware of any move to offer a level playing field for us to review our decision (restarting petrol pumps)," an RIL spokesperson said on Saturday.