MRPL to open retail outlets this year

India’s state-owned Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd. (MRPL) will enter the fuel retailing business in the current fiscal year, with plans to open as many as 100 petrol pumps in the initial phase, Chairman Dinesh K. Sarraf said.

“After the deregulation of diesel and petrol, this is the right time to enter retail marketing,” he said.

Oil marketing companies (OMCs), such as Indian Oil Corp. Ltd., Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd. and Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd., currently dominate the fuel retailing business in India. In the past, they have received compensation from the government for so-called “underrecoveries,” while private firms, such as Reliance Industries and Essar Oil, do not. With government deregulation, private oil companies have stated their intention to re-start their retail operations.

MRPL, a subsidiary of another state-owned company, Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC), received its license to operate 500 retail outlets in 2010, while ONGC has a license to operate 1,100 outlets. Sarraf said MRPL initially will focus on the southern cities of Karnataka and Kerala.