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Govt has received 3 EoIs for BPCL; committed to disinvesting shares in PSUs: Pradhan

The Centre has received three EoIs from potential investors for buying out its stake in state-run BPCL, Dharmendra Pradhan has said

The Centre has received three EoIs from potential investors for buying out its stake in state-run BPCL, Dharmendra Pradhan has said.
The Centre has received three EoIs from potential investors for buying out its stake in state-run BPCL, Dharmendra Pradhan has said.
  • Commenting on the government’s public sector policy, Pradhan said that the government is committed to disinvesting its shares in PSUs in order to bring in more professionalism

  • It would be a matter of strategy for India to import either crude oil or liquefied natural gas (LNG), said Pradhan

New Delhi: The Centre has received three Expressions of Interest (EoIs) from potential investors for buying out its stake in state-run Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan said on Wednesday. While addressing a webinar on ‘The Road to Atmanirbhar Bharat,’ organised by Swarajya magazine, Pradhan said that there’s a “lot of interest” for BPCL. “DIPAM has recently informed market... I think three parties have given EoI for the bidding process,” said the minister.

While it is known that one of the three EoIs has been received from Anil Agarwal’s Vedanta, the other two have been received from global funds, and one of them is touted to be Apollo Global Management.

‘Govt committed to & keen on PSU disinvestment’

Commenting on the government’s public sector policy, Pradhan said that the government is committed to disinvesting its shares in PSUs in order to bring in more professionalism. “The government is committed to offloading its shares from state-owned firms to bring in more professionalism (in these companies). It is committed and keen,” asserted Pradhan.

As part of Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, the government has announced its plan to exit management control from PSUs in non-strategic sectors and to keep one to four PSUs in strategic sectors. The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) is set to notify the list of strategic and non-strategic sectors. 

‘India wants to diversify sources of crude import’

Responding to a question on India’s crude oil import quadrupling in the last two decades, Pradhan said that the government has fixed targets for reducing import dependency. India would attempt to reduce dependence on crude oil imports through discovery of small (oil) fields, exploiting more hydrocarbons, providing liberal incentives, though it will still have to depend on imports, the minister said. 

He stated that the crude oil market growth will be driven by India and added that the Indian government has made it clear that it wants crude oil at a reasonable price. “We are open to all producers and we want mixed destinations. We are more focussed on alternative fuels and sustainable energy methods,” said Pradhan. 

‘Matter of strategy for India to import either crude oil or LNG’

Pradhan said that it would be a matter of strategy for India to import either crude oil or liquefied natural gas (LNG). “We are keen to develop alternative energy and have made $20 billion capital investments with 1,500 plans under various stages of execution. Meeting demand is not a concern but a challenge. We will choose a de-carbonised pathway,” he said.

He said that in line with that strategy, the Centre is keen on increasing the share of natural gas in India’s energy mix. The share of natural gas in overall fuel consumption was 6.5 percent until 2014 but steps are being made to make the country more “gas-centric,” he said.

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“We have been setting up LNG terminals, trunk pipelines, freeing up marketing, production to provide cleaner fuel. This government is spending $66 billion in gas infrastructure by setting up pipelines in the north-eastern States. We are integrating pipelines from Kutch to Kohima and Kochi to Kashmir,” Pradhan said.

LNG capacity is also being increased from 20 million tonnes (MT) to 50 MT and India was importing gas at competitive price from countries such as Qatar, US, Australia, Russia, he said. The government has also taken steps for better trade in gas by setting up gas exchange ICEX. “We have also done spot purchases which have been economic and viable during coronavirus times,” he added.

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