Buoyed by diesel price de-control, Reliance Industries has announced re-opening of all its 1,400 fuel pumps this fiscal.
Reported on the company website, all retail fuel pump outlets owned by Reliance Industries Limited, are set to get into motion by March 2016. It was in March 2008, that Reliance Petroleum (RPL) shut all their retail fuel pump stations across India. This was done because they could no longer offer fuel at competitive pricing.
In 2008, global oil prices shot to $150 per barrel. To control fuel prices in retail, government of India offered subsidy to state owned oil companies by regulating the price of petroleum fuels. This move of the government, kicked all private players, who had about 17% market share, out of business.
Today, the situation is such that the state owned petroleum companies enjoy a near 100% market share in the business. Now with fuel price de-regulated, private players like Essar, Shell and Reliance are slowly returning back in business. Out of 1,400 Reliance petrol pumps, 320 have already restarted, following de-regulation of transport fuels in October 2014. Out of these fuel outlets, 900 retail outlets are owned by the company while the rest are owned by authorized dealers.
Following the fall in crude oil prices last year, the three leading oil marketing companies (OMCs) used to pass on benefits to consumers with revised rates being announced on the 1st and 16th of each month based on fortnightly average of international oil prices and rupee: dollar exchange rates. It is not certain if the private players will also follow the same suit.