Business

Fall in bulk diesel sales not a trend: Indian Oil


Kolkata, Feb 14 (IANS): The considerable drop in bulk diesel sales in the country following partial deregulation of the prices of the fuel in January may not be a "trend", Indian Oil Corporation said Friday.

Bulk sales of diesels have begun to fall and sales of the fuel through retail channels have witnessed a rise after the government decided Jan 17 to allow the state-run oil marketing companies to raise diesel prices in line with increases in global crude oil prices.

"There is a drop in bulk sales and some increase in retail sales. But it is based on a couple of days' sales only. So we would not like to say whether it is a trend or not," Indian Oil Corporation chairman R.S. Butola told reporters on the sidelines of the annual conference of Oil Industry Safety Directorate (OISD) here.

Butola said the drop in bulk sales in diesel might be in the range of 14-15 percent.

"First of all, let us not say that it is a trend. This could be because of other reasons. This could be because of festival seasons when people might have consumed more fuels, or the industry might be slowing. We do not know the exact reasons."

According to reports, consumers of expensive bulk diesel are shifting to retail outlets after the government partially deregulated the prices of the fuel.

Meanwhile, Indian Oil Corporation, the country's largest fuel retailer, said it has chalked out a plan to make a capital investment of Rs.55,000 crore on a constant price basis in the next five years.

"We are expanding our networks. We will spend around Rs.10,000 to 11,000 crore per annum in the next five years," Butola said.

To a question, he said the oil major's operation in Libya was not affected due to political uncertainty there.

"We have some (oil) blocks in Libya. In those blocks only explorations take place. Production has not been affected as they are not in production. The exploration activities are also at a very preliminary level," he explained.

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