Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) plans to restart its entire 1,400 retail fuel pump outlets in fiscal year ending March 2016.
The stations were closed in 2008 when global oil prices urged towards $150 a barrel and the government's subsidy to state fuel retailers knocked privately-owned retailers out of the market.
The top three state refiners, Indian Oil Corp, Bharat Petroleum Corp and Hindustan Petroleum Corp, between them sell nearly all of petrol and diesel consumed annually in India.
RIL and Essar Oil Ltd, the only other private refiner in India, had together captured about 17 per cent of domestic retail market for diesel and 10 per cent of petrol by 2006.
"Over 320 retail outlets already operational. Target restart of entire network of 1,400 outlets in FY16," RIL said in an investor presentation post announcing third quarter earnings.
RIL had shut down all of its 1,432 petrol pumps around March 2008 because of huge losses it incurred in trying to match public sector firms, which sold fuel at rates much lower than their cost as they got government subsidies.
The government in June 2010 deregulated or freed petrol pricing by not providing any more subsidies. This allowed Essar to re-enter the retailing arena, selling only petrol from most of its 1,400 outlets.
Diesel, India's most consumed fuel, was deregulated in October last year and since then the private retailers have again entered the market.
Essar started diesel sales from all its outlets and has expanded its network to 1,600, which is likely to go up to 2,500 in one year's time.
"Target aggressive volumes in the bulk diesel market post de-regulation," RIL said.
The firm had in 2006 touched a market share of 14.3 per cent in diesel and 7.2 per cent in petrol.
The company said it will leverage technology to provide superior customer value across the network. "Consistent customer experience across all touch points through efficient mix of people, processes and technology."