Asia, Middle East & Africa
ONGC looks to HPCL for retail expansion plans Thailand launches fuel
The impending merger of Indian state-run Hindustan
Petroleum Corp. Ltd (HPCL) and Mangalore
Refineries and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) may
put a break on MRPL’s fuel retailing expansion
plans, leaving its parent Oil and Natural Gas Corp.
Ltd (ONGC) to fulfil these ambitions through HPCL,
said two officials aware of the development.
“MRPL is setting up retail outlets within its
span of influence and expects to overcome this
weakness in the medium term. Expected synergies
from the acquisition of HPCL, by the parent
company, ONGC are also expected to mitigate the
lack of retail penetration,” said MRPL in its annual
report for 2017-18.
MRPL entered the fuel retail segment in 2008
Iran in talks with Vitol Group over $1bn oil deal
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and till 2013 it had plans to roll out 120 fuel retail
outlets in the first phase of its retail expansion
strategy. The company has the approval to set
up 500 retail outlets and its parent ONGC has an
approval to set up 1,100 retail outlets.
“MRPL wanted to be a significant player in fuel
retailing, but being a standalone refinery, which is
not part of any oil marketing company, it does not
get compensated by the government for selling
fuel below market price.
The company fears that in the wake of higher oil
prices, the government may once again require the
OMCs to share the fuel subsidy burden. This will
render MRPL’s retail outlets uncompetitive,” said
the second official mentioned above.
Thailand’s Commerce Ministry has launched
“full-litre petrol” mobile apps to assure motorists
that the fuel stations where they fill up are
Commerce Vice-Minister Sakon Varanyuwatana,
said the apps will help buyers identify
verified petrol stations across the country, as well
as the locations of liquefied petroleum gas and
natural gas for vehicle (NGV) stations, convenience
stores, bank branches and ATMs.
The Commerce Ministry’s Internal Trade
Department initiated the full-litre petrol station
programme in 2003 by encouraging both tank
farm operators and oil retailers to join the scheme,
which will see the department inspect the oil flow
meters of the petrol stations to ensure quality
standards and prevent any possible fraud.
Some 3,700 petrol stations from all brands are
participating in the programme nationwide.
Iran is seeking to extend or renew a $1 billion
oil deal with the Swiss Vitol Group ahead of the
promised return in November of US sanctions.
The National Iranian Oil Company is now in
talks with Vitol to rescue their 2016 deal, in which
the trader agreed to pre-finance the equivalent
of $1 billion in exchange for future oil deliveries,
sources familiar with the matter said.
The US publication cited another source in the
know who said the Swiss energy company was
likely to scrap the agreement.
The US threat to go after foreign businesses
in Iran has been harshly criticised in Europe. The
European Union introduced a blocking statute
to shield EU companies from the impact of US
restrictions. Switzerland is not an EU member.
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