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Bharat Petroleum Corp puts Bina refinery expansion plan on hold pending privatisation

NEW DELHI: India’sBharat Petroleum Corphas put on hold its plans to expand itsBina refineryand install a secondary unit at itsMumbai refineryto boost efficiency pendingprivatisationof the company, its head of financeN. Vijayagopalsaid.

The federal government wants to sell its 53.29% stake in BPCL, the country’s second-largest state-run refiner, to raise funds to rein in a ballooning fiscal deficit.

“It is for the new owner to decide whether they want and have the flexibility to add refining capacity,” Vijaagopal told an analyst conference.

BPCL wanted to install a residue fluid catalytic cracker at the Mumbai refinery and connect the plant with a new site where it wanted to build an ethylene cracker.

It wanted to expand the Bina refinery in central India to 300,000 barrels per day from 156,000 bpd along with a petrochemical plant.

Vijayagopal said BPCL privatisation by March 2021 looks “challenging” as the initial bid submission deadline has been extended to mid-November and any spurt in coronavirus infections could prevent foreign players from traveling to do due diligence of the assets.

The company, which has a robust retail presence in key Indian cities, aims to set up 6,000 retail outlets in three years with a focus on rural areas to raise its market share in diesel and gasoline sales to about 32% from 29%, he said.
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