RIL to restart all 1,400 fuel retail outlets by March 2016: Report

Reliance Industries Ltd plans to restart its entire 1,400 retail fuel pumps during the current financial year and ramp up domestic marketing amidst slowing exports, the company stated in a website report.

RIL had closed all it retail outlets in the country after fuel prices skyrocketed with crude prices touching $150 a barrel in 2008, making retail business for private refiners difficult in India as they had to compete with subsidised sales by state-run oil marketing companies.

RIL and other private refiners are expected to be back in the retail business with the government lifting the administered price mechanism and allowing oil PSUs to sell petrol and diesel at market-determined prices.

Reliance had last year restarted over 320 of its fuel outlets, according to the website report.

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries (RIL) had commanded a 14.3 per cent share of the market for diesel and 7.2 per cent share in petrol sales in 2006.

However, since the closure of its retail outlets, the top three state refiners - Indian Oil Corp, Bharat Petroleum Corp and Hindustan Petroleum Corp - between them were  selling nearly all of petrol and diesel consumed in India.

"RIL and Essar are getting aggressive in the fuel retail segment post diesel deregulation. So far there has been a shift of 0.2-0.3 per cent from the market share of state-run oil marketing companies," reports quoted a senior official from Indian Oil Corporation as saying.

At present, RIL's fuel retail market share is less than 0.5 per cent.

''RIL is launching aggressive consumer schemes for quick ramp up of volumes and targeting to replicate 2006 performance levels," the company said in an analyst presentation after release of its third quarter results.

In the presentation, RIL said it has seen diesel demand at its outlets go up 11 per cent quarter on quarter. The industry has however, seen demand for diesel go up only by 1 per cent owing to slowdown in economic activities.

RIL plans to leverage technology to provide superior customer value across the network. The company also proposes to give value added services through fleet management programme to help customers with fleet control, cash flow management, cashless transactions and information.