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NEWS - ASIA, MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA INDIA LOOKs TO HOME DELIVERIES TO INCREASE DIGITAL PAYMENTS Oil marketing companies like Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation will soon go the e-commerce way as the government plans home delivery of petrol and diesel in a bid to increase digital transactions in the sector. Sources close to the matter said Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan presented the idea at a meeting of the consultative committee of members of Parliament in Srinagar on 21 April. “This would increase the number of digital transactions and would become more comfortable for consumers. Besides, it would cut long queues at fuel stations as the same would be delivered at consumers’ doorsteps,” an industry source said. According to the plan, consumers can book fuel online, which will be delivered directly to their houses by the oil marketing companies. At present, about 38,128 retail outlets in the country have point-of-sale machines and over 86 per cent have digital infrastructure. After demonetisation, oil marketing companies are giving a 0.75 per cent discount on cashless transactions, while over 72,000 e-wallets have also been activated. “This is one step ahead in our road map, as it may give consumers additional benefits of digital transactions. However, details of the rollout are yet to be finalised,” the source added. Oil marketing companies have conducted about 35,000 consumer awareness campaigns to promote digital transactions since the old high-value notes seized to be a legal tender. Pradhan indicated that daily cashless transactions have increased to Rs 400 crore per day from Rs 150 crore per day in November. Sinopec acquires 75% stake in Chevron South Africa Asia’s largest oil refiner, Sinopec has acquired a 75 percent tsake in Chevron Corporation’s South Africa business. Through the deal, valued at $900 million, Sinopec will secure its first major refinery in the continent, keeping in line with its aim to expand in international markets. Per the deal, Sinopec will acquire a controlling stake in Chevron’s South Africa and Botswana assets, including a 100,000 barrel per day oil refinery in Cape Town, a lubricants plant in Durban and a network of around 820 fuel stations. Local shareholders will own the remain 25 percnt interest. Sinopec will continue with Chevron’s Caltex brand name for the retail fuel stations for around five years, until it forms a rebranding strategy. The company will also be making technological upgrades at the acquired assets to meet local demand and drive growth of the indigenous oil industry. The deal is well aligned with Chevron’s $15 billion divestment program announced in 2014 as the company is focusing on balancing its global portfolio with its long-term business priorites. It will help Chevron to slash costs and streamline its business models amid plunging oil prices. The state owned Chinese company Sinopec had invested around $6 billion in downstream business in many countries across the world in the last five years. The deal marks the company’s foray into South Africa, which provides a large and growing market with proper regulatory framework for import parity pricing. OMAN GOVERNMENT considers fuel subsidies for the poor Industrialists, trade unionists and community leaders are optimistic about Oman’s cabinet discussing a system to ease the burden of rising fuel prices. Mohammed Hassan Al Ansi, a senior official in charge of logistics and transportation affairs at the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI), said there should be a solution that subsidises fuel prices for those with limited income or those receiving social security benefits. “In the absence of a system of public transportation, such as trains and official buses, which is not yet in place in the Sultanate, there must be a reasonable alternative to help those in need with regards to fuel prices for vehicles,” Al Ansi said. Salim bin Nasser Al Aufi, undersecretary at the Ministry of Oil and Gas, said Oman’s cabinet will study a proposal to partially compensate poor families, who are unable to afford rising petrol prices after the government eliminated subsidies on petroleum products last year. “A cap on the petrol M91 grade price will continue until the cabinet takes a final decision. The cabinet needs more information. They are studying it and once they come out with a solution, it will be announced,” Al Aufi said. According to Al Ansi, the support would help boost the standard of living for those struggling to afford fuel, and could take the form of coupons or cards. M91 and M95 petrol is cheaper for motorists in Oman this month, compared with March, after the government cut fuel prices. The subsidy, which varied each month, was removed on January 15. NNPC sacks four top officials over missing fuel scandal The management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has asked four top officials of the agency to leave. Those asked to step down are the Managing Director of the NNPC Retail, Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue; the General Manager (Operations) of NNPC Retail, Mamza Gwadabe; as well as Ibrahim Bello, another official of NNPC retail. The identity of the last person is yet to be confirmed. The four were asked to leave on 13 April over the ‘missing’ petrol scandal involving Capital Oil & Gas Nigeria Limited owned by businessman, Ifeanyi Ubah. A committee set up by the NNPC to investigate the matter reportedly found the officials culpable and recommended their dismissal from service. However, reports suggest they were in fact asked to retire. The case and the officials are now to be referred to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for a full-scale investigation of the matter. Insiders claimed it was Mrs. Nnamdi Ogbue who triggered the initial investigation after her attention was called to the matter. The products, over 100 million litres of petrol worth over N14 billion, belonging to the NNPC Retail, were stored at the private depots under a throughput arrangement as part of the corporation’s strategy to build strategic national fuel reserve. Indian oil eyes Move into Myanmar Retail Market Indian Oil Corp. is keen to start retailing operations in Myanmar and has submitted a proposal to the government. After making forays into Bangladesh and Nepal, the Indian refiners are keen to venture into the country whilst also consolidating their presence in their earlier South Asian markets. Later this year, Numaligarh Refinery Ltd in Assam will be the first off the block in selling petroleum products to Myanmar. “Supply of fuel will initially be by road and if the quantity required turns out to be huge, then it will make sense to invest in pipelines,” a source said. Indian Oil also plans to expand its Nepal operations by opening 100 retail outlets in partnership with Nepal Oil Corp. The source also said there are ongoing discussions to extend the scope of an earlier planned pipeline between Raxaul in Bihar to Amlekhganj in eastern Nepal as well as a possibility of two additional LPG pipelines. 10 erpecnews is published by McLean Events, Conferences and Media Ltd.


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