Oil India May Acquire 74 Per Cent in BPCL's Numaligarh Refinery, Assam to Hold 26 Per Cent Stake.
- Journalist: Peter Schmidt
Assam’s oil and gas explorer Oil India (OIL) and the Assam government may acquire BPCL’s entire 61 per cent stake in Numaligarh Refinery (NRL), preserving its public sector character. OIL may hold close to 48 per cent stake, while the government may pick up the remaining to raise its stake from 12.4 per cent to 26 per cent. This acquisition will give OIL an opportunity to enter the lucrative fuel refining sector followed by its entry into retailing. Assam Commerce and Industry Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary recently announced that the state government will pay up to Rs 20,000 million to pick 13.6 per cent of BPCL stake in the refinery. Hence, BPCL will hold the stake of over Rs 80,000 million in OIL, including the control premium. With the Centre acquiring around 50 per cent in BPCL, the stake sale in the NRL will help it pocket around Rs 40,000 million. Estimates for NRL acquisition would be finalized post-demerger of the refinery from BPCL as per the cabinet decision, however it is expected that OIL may have to invest around Rs 60,000 million to pick up the BPCL stake. However, privatization of BPCL has taken a political angle in the Northeast with strong views against disturbing the refinery's PSU character.