New Delhi: India, which already has the highest number of petrol pumps in the world, will get another 35,600 retail outlets in next 2-3 years as government embarks on a massive expansion plan to boost oil product availability.
The country has 51,870 petrol pumps with Indian Oil Corp (IOC) being the market leader with 23,993 outlets, followed by Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) with 12,869 pumps and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) with 12,123 outlets.
Private sector has meager presence with Reliance Industries and Essar Oil owning about 1,400 outlets each and Shell operating three.
"As part of their plan to increase the accessibility and availability of oil products, the retail network of public sector oil marketing companies (OMCs) is being expanded by increasing the number of retail outlets and LPG distributorship in the country," Oil Ministry said.
Besides petrol pumps, OMCs have 13,896 LPG dealers (IOC 7,035, BPCL 3,355 and HPCL 3,506).
Listing its achievements since the NDA government took office, the ministry said OMCs have "advertised for setting up of new retail outlets at 35,668 locations and new LPG distributorships at over 7000 locations."
This, it said, will "improve availability of fuel in the farthest areas of the country."
"As part of the government's agenda to benefit the backward sections of the society, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has, for the first time, reserved 27 percent of new retail outlets for citizens falling under Other Backward Castes (OBC) category, in addition to 22.5 percent reservation for Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes," it said.
This, it said, would enable OMCs to "further government's objectives of growth with equity."
The three retailers have begun using solar energy for lighting their petrol pumps.
"So far, 2,140 of their retail outlets have been powered by solar energy. The target is to increase the number to 7,200 retail outlets by March 31, 2017," the ministry said.
The expenditure incurred on solarisation of one retail outlet ranges from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 25 lakh and the firms are developing a model to provide soft loans to dealers to fund this investment.
There are also plans to expand the network of compressed natural gas (CNG) stations and increase availability of piped natural gas as an alternative to LPG.
There are currently 950 filling stations supplying CNG in 47 cities in 12 states.