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HPCL in talks with Total for Vizag refinery

France's Total SA is in talks with HPCL for acquiring up to 26% stake in the Indian petrochemical complex at Visakhapatnam.

india Updated: Nov 25, 2005 17:19 IST

France's Total SA is in talks with Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) for acquiring up to 26 per cent stake in the Indian state-owned firm's new-cum-petrochemical complex at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.

HPCL plans to invest Rs 16,000 crore in building a new export oriented refinery near its existing 7.5 million tones Visakhapatnam refinery and is seeking equity partners for the project.

"We have not yet decided the amount of stake to be offered, but have a comfortable relationship with Total," HPCL Chairman and Managing Director MB Lal told reporters on sidelines of the Asian Oil Ministers conference.

HPCL and Total are expected to own 26 per cent stake each in the Vizag project, while the remaining 48 per cent will be offered to public through an IPO.

The refinery, which will have a capacity to process 15 million tonnes of crude per year, is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2011-12.

The equity participation will allow Total to enter petroleum retailing in India, since it would have invested more than the mandatory Rs 2000 crore which is the minimum investment criteria to secure licence to retail petroleum products in the country.

Lal said state-run refiner HPCL would sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Total which would be similar to its recent agreement with BP.

The British and Indian companies signed a letter of intent last month to form an equal joint venture for the nine million tones Bhatinda refinery in Punjab and possible fuel retailing venture.

First Published: Nov 25, 2005 17:19 IST