Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) is yet to receive any official communication from the government on a proposal to sell its 53% stake in the public Sector fuel retailer. “I have not got any idea of any concrete proposal from the government side,” BPCL director (finance) N Vijayagopal told reporters on Friday. He said the Union cabinet is yet to take a decision on BPCL so far, say newsreports. The Union Cabinet is expected to consider privatisation of BPCL next week.
Not many prospective buyers of BPCL have reacted favourably to the Narendra Modi government’s proposal to sell its entire 53.29% stake in BPCL. Newspaper reports suggested that Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries, India’s largest private enterprise, may not bid for India’s second largest petroleum retailer after Indian Oil. If there are no takers, the government may ask Indian Oil to pick up its stake in BPCL. It was reported earlier that the Prime Minister’s Office had discussed the matter with petroleum ministry officials. The government had forced Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) to buy its 51% stake in another fuel retailer HPCL for close to Rs 37,000 crore last year.
The sale of BPCL is key to the government meeting its disinvestment target of Rs 1,05,000 crore for the current financial year. Multinationals oil majors like Saudi Aramco and Abu Dhabi National Oil Co are likely to bid for the government stake. BPCL has 15,078 fuel stations and 6,004 cooking gas agencies across the country.