New Delhi: Reliance Industries and British energy giant BP plc on Monday signed a partnership agreement to jointly grow the Indian firm's network of petrol pumps to 5,500 from current 1,400, the companies said.
"BP and RIL signed a definitive agreement relating to the formation of their new Indian fuels and mobility joint venture. This follows the initial heads of agreement signed in August this year," a statement said.
The venture is expected to be formed during the first half of 2020, subject to regulatory and other customary approvals.
RIL currently has about 1,400 operating petrol pumps and some 30-odd aviation fuel stations at airports. These will be taken over by the RIL-BP joint venture and grown in future.
RIL will hold 51 per cent in the new joint venture company while BP will have the remaining 49 per cent. This will assume ownership of RIL's existing Indian fuel retail network and access its aviation fuel business.
In August, RIL had said BP will pay about Rs 7,000 crore for acquiring a 49 per cent stake in its existing petrol pumps and aviation turbine fuel network.
This is the third joint venture between Reliance and BP since 2011.
BP had in 2011 bought 30 per cent stake in 21 oil and gas exploration and production blocks of Reliance for USD 7.2 billion. At that time, another 50:50 joint venture, India Gas Solutions, was set up for sourcing and marketing gas in India.
The country currently has 66,408 petrol pumps, with public sector retailers owning 59,831. PSU retailers have plans to double this network and have already starting appointing dealers.
Russia's Rosneft-backed Nayara Energy, formerly Essar Oil, has 5,453 petrol pumps and has plans to scale them up to more than 7,000 in two-three years.
Royal Dutch Shell has 167 outlets and is slated to add 150-200 more petrol pumps.
BP had in 2016 received a licence from the government to set up 3,500 petrol pumps in India but it didn't move on that authorisation.
French energy giant Total SA too is keen on entering the Indian retail market and has tied up with Adani Group for the same.
"The new venture, further development of RIL and BP's longstanding partnership, will include an India-wide fuels retail service station network and aviation fuel marketing business. Building from RIL's existing businesses, the partners expect the venture to co-create a world-class fuels partnership to grow rapidly and help meet India's fast-growing demands for energy and mobility," the statement issued on Monday said.
The partnership, it said, will expand the fuel and ATF network to up to 5,500 petrol pumps and 45 aviation fuel stations over the next five years.
"The retail network will operate under the Jio-BP brand, signalling a new paradigm shift in fuels marketing and mobility solutions. It brings together Reliance's extensive access and connection to consumers through its Jio digital platform and BP's deep experience in fuel retailing around the world. The joint venture will seek to offer Indian consumers high-quality differentiated fuels, convenience and services," the statement said.
BP's Castrol lubricants will also be available across the venture's network.
The agreement was signed in Mumbai by Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of RIL and Bob Dudley, Group Chief Executive of BP.
Ambani said: "I am delighted that BP and Reliance are further building on their strong partnership. BP and Reliance are combining their knowledge, expertise and experience to provide Indian consumers world-class products and services. We believe that together we will bring solutions that will benefit the fast-growing Indian market."
Bob Dudley said: "India is one of the world's most important energy markets its transport and aviation sectors are growing and evolving rapidly. We aim to meet the country's growing demand for mobility solutions, high-quality fuels and services through this new venture. This major expansion of our business here reinforces our long-term commitment to India."