Union Petroleum Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri on Thursday indicated that state-run petroleum company, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Corporation (BPCL) is not going to be privatised shortly. Along with this, he said that no such proposal is yet under consideration.
The government had in November 2019 proposed to sell BPCL under its asset monetisation scheme. At that time the government had said that it would sell its 52.98 per cent stake in this public sector petroleum company. The government had received three initial bids for BPCL, but only Vedanta Group made the financial bid. In such a situation, in May 2022, the government announced to put on hold its plan of privatisation of BPCL.
When asked about the government's plan in this regard, Puri said while talking to the media, "When there is only one bidder, then how can the sale take place under the process of competitive tendering? You are aware that not only do the administrative ministries do the work of implementing disinvestment plans, but DIPAM is also involved in it. But as far as my knowledge is concerned, at present no proposal for sale of BPCL is under consideration."
On the other hand, DIPAM said in a statement that given the current conditions in the energy market around the world, many investors are staying away from the investment process. This statement of the Union Minister has put an end to all the speculations in which it was being said that the Central Government is going to resume the disinvestment process of BPCL.
By the beginning of 2020, the government was certain that BPCL would be privatised even before Air India. Given the company's profitable position at that time, the government expected that investors would be very excited about BPCL. However, due to the pandemic, not only did the process of privatisation of BPCL got delayed, but it also did not get the response that was expected from the investors.
BPCL has suffered a loss of about Rs 6,300 crore in the first quarter due to no change in the rates of expensive crude oil and petrol and diesel. However, during this period the income has increased from about Rs 90,000 crore to Rs 1.38 lakh crore.