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BPCL plans Rs 7,500-cr outlay during 10th Plan

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Mr S. Behuria (right), Chairman and Managing Director, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd, with Mr A Sinha, Director, at the post-AGM press conference held in Mumbai.

MUMBAI, Sept. 26

BHARAT Petroleum Corporation Ltd has planned an outlay of Rs 7,500 crore in the Tenth Plan, Mr Sarthak Behuria, Chairman and Managing Director, told newspersons at the company's post-AGM press conference.

Mr Behuria said about Rs 3,500 crore would be spent on infrastructure building which would include setting up of lubricants' manufacturing units, LPG plants, retail mordernisation, etc. Roughly Rs 1,800 crore would go towards refinery modernisation to ensure Euro II and III fuel specifications. Around Rs 1,600 crore has been allotted to joint venture investments such as Petronet India Ltd and Petronet LNG Ltd while the remaining would go towards the proposed Bina refinery.

He said the company plans to raise the amount by approaching the markets through an IPO, the proposal for which is pending Union Government approval. "If the IPO does not come through, we may raise the money through debt," Mr Ashok Sinha, Director Finance, said. The company generates roughly Rs 1,500 crore annually, according to senior company officials, and raising debt would not be a problem given BPCL's 1.5:1 debt to equity ratio, they said. The company's working capital requirement during the current financial year is around Rs 1,000-1,100 crore, most of which will come through internal resources while the rest would be raised through short-term borrowings, officials said.

Mr Behuria said the company's crude import needs stand at around 8.3 million tonnes annually.

Roughly five million tonnes imports have been tied up with Middle East National Oil Companies including Saudi Aramco, Kuwait Oil Company and Petronas, Malaysia. The balance is bought through spot tenders, he said.

In the fuel retailing segment, the company has seen 25 per cent higher petrol sales and eight per cent higher diesel sales at its `Pure for Sure' outlets. "We have certified 1,100 PFS outlets during the last year and hope to certify another 900 ROs during the current year," Mr Behuria said. Around seven lakh customers are a part of BPCL's Petrocard customer loyalty programme while about 85,000 customers are part of its Fleetcard programme.

Seeks to hike stake in Bina

BHARAT Petroleum Corporation Ltd has sought approval for increasing its stake in the Bina Oman Refineries Ltd from 26 per cent to 50 per cent. The Bina project has seen costs escalate to Rs 6,354 crore, which includes a foreign exchange component of Rs 2,025 crore.

The project continues to face legal hurdles in the Supreme Court despite receiving much-awaited clearance for laying the crude pipeline through the National Marine Park. Project partners Oman Oil Company Ltd, which had invested nearly Rs 75 crore of the total investments of Rs 150 crore in the project, have decided against further investments.

According to BPCL officials, the six million-tonne Bina project continues to be of importance.

"Our product requirements will grow by another seven million tonnes by year 2008. And we do not have our own source of products supply in the Northern region which makes Bina of critical importance to BPCL," Mr Sarthak Behuria, Chairman and Managing Director, BPCL said.

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