Assam Government requests Central Government to divest BPCL's stake in NRL to Oil India

Twesh Mishra New Delhi | Updated on January 23, 2020

File photo   -  THE HINDU

State seeks to buy 13 per cent more stake in NRL for ₹ 2,000 crore

The Assam government has requested the Centre to divest its stake in Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd in favour of Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) to Oil India Ltd (OIL).

According to Assam’s Minister for Commerce, Industry and Act East Policy Affairs, Chandra Mohan Patowary, the State government has also proposed to increase its stake in NRL by 13 per cent for ₹2,000 crore.

“The State government has requested the Centre that all shares of BPCL in NRL be given to Oil India. The Assam government is also ready to pay ₹2,000 crore if 13 per cent (more) share is given to us,” Patowary said. He made this proposal during his speech at the ‘National Conclave on Emerging Opportunities in Natural Gas’ sector.

Patowary said that NRL was set up under the Assam Accord and that it should be under the control of OIL, a public sector undertaking with majority operations in the State. In NRL, BPCL currently has 61.65 per cent stake, OIL has 26 per cent and the Assam government 12.35 per cent.

The ₹2,000 crore estimate for a 13 per cent stake for NRL, as proposed by the Assam government, puts the total valuation of the company at around ₹15,000 crore. Clubbed with a premium for transfer of management control, BPCL’s stake in NRL is being pegged at around ₹10,000 crore, according to officials in the know.

The acquisition of NRL will add 3 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of refining capacity to OIL’s portfolio. The NRL board had also approved a plan to expand its capacity to 9 mtpa with an investment of ₹22,000 crore.

In November last year, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) gave its approval for the strategic disinvestment of Centre’s shareholding of 53.29 per cent in BPCL. This approval excluded BPCL’s shareholding in NRL. The CCEA had also approved the strategic disinvestment of BPCL’s shareholding in NRL along with the transfer of management control to a Central Public Sector Enterprise operating in the oil and gas sector.

Published on January 23, 2020

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