The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas plans to offer financial partnerships to start-ups in the oil sector to give a boost to the ‘Startup India’ initiative.

“All oil public sector undertaking units (PSUs) will invest and provide financial partnerships to start-ups engaged in exploration and production and downstream activities to encourage local innovation and add skills,” Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said while speaking at IndianOil Petrochemical Conclave.

Pradhan said the government was working on a policy to give 10 per cent purchase preference to local entrepreneurs to boost the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the petrochemical industry.

He said the sector had seen a 14 per cent growth, which is about 1.5 times the growth in GDP, and that the Centre had a set target to increase the petrochemical industry’s output to 12 million tonnes from the current capacity of 6 million tonnes.

Pradhan added that capital outlays worth ₹2-lakh crore is expected to be made in diverse product lines — polyester intermediates/polyester film/yarn, polymers and other petrochemicals — to set up a petrochemical complex.

Indian Oil Corporation Chairman B Ashok said the company plans to invest ₹7,650 crore in setting up a petrochemical complex at its Paradip refinery in Odisha in the next three to four years. The complex will have a 7 lakh tonnes per annum polypropylene plant and ethylene derivatives complex to manufacture around 3,5 lakh tonnes of mono-ethylene glycols.

Asked why the benefit of sliding crude oil prices was not being passed on to consumers, Pradhan said the government had passed on 60 per cent benefit, but the cess it collects is used to create a buffer to counter volatility in crude prices.