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Reliance eyes direct fuel sales in US, Europe

business Updated: Dec 13, 2007 21:00 IST
Deepak Joshi
Deepak Joshi
Hindustan Times

Oil refining major Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) is exploring ways to sell its petroleum products directly in the US and Europe. At present, the company sells its petroleum products through traders.

“We are exploring the possibility of marketing fuel in the US and Europe,” a senior RIL official said on Thursday. RIL sells around 4-5 million tonnes of petrol annually and a small amount of jet fuel in the US. With the new refinery at Jamnagar expected to be operational by the third quarter of next year, the company has to look at options for selling its petroleum products overseas. The 27-million tonne greenfield refinery is in the special economic zone (SEZ).

RIL’s domestic retail sales plans have been hit by the government’s decision to allow state-owned oil marketing companies to sell petrol and diesel below cost and compensate them through oil bonds. This has made it difficult for RIL to sell fuel in the domestic market and had put its plans to open retail outlets in abeyance.

In September, RIL had acquired a majority stake and management control in an East Africa-based oil retail distribution company Gulf Africa Petroleum Corporation (GAPCO). The acquisition made through its wholly-owned subsidiary Reliance Industries Middle East (RIME), a company registered in the United Arab Emirates.

GAPCO, which is headquartered in Mauritius, has a presence in East Africa in the petroleum downstream sector. It owns and operates storage terminals in Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania), Mombassa (Kenya) and Kampala (Uganda), and has other well spread depots in East and Central Africa.