PSU oil cos expanded retail operations during pandemic though product demand remained sluggish

New Delhi (IANS)┬áPublic sector oil marketing companies IndianOil, Hindustan Petroleum and privation bound Bharat Petroleum remained active in the country’s oil market in 2020 even though the pandemic and lockdown severely dented demand for petroleum products.

Even with petrol and diesel sales remaining below the pre-Covid levels in the last part of 2020, the PSU oil companies continued to invest in expanding their retail outlets with the three adding 5482 retail outlets in the 10-month period of FY21 up to January end 2021.

The private sector on the other hand remained mute on their marketing initiatives adding a mere 376 fuel outlets.

Among the PSUs, IOC added 2147, BPCL – 1,792 and HPCL – 1543 retail outlets in the April-January period of FY21.

According to a report by Emkay Global Financial Services, retail outlets’ market share increase has been the highest for BPCL followed by HPCL, though IOCL and others saw a decline yoy. RIL added only 12 new outlets, while Nayara added 298 during the April to January period.

BPCL also maintained the lead in retail outlet petrol throughput: the company’s petrol throughput per retail outlet (RO), a key efficiency indicator, was 56.2kl/month in Q3FY21 vs 52.4 for HPCL and 49.5/48.3 for IOCL/others.

For diesel, the brokerage said, it cannot be properly ascertained due to the lack of proper bulk-direct sales data company wise. Players like RIL have reported much higher overall throughput/RO, though diesel has a B2B character, which can be utilized to push higher volumes. BPCL, nevertheless, has reported a total throughput/RO of 170kl/month in FY20 vs 147/152/154 for IOCL/HPCL/industry.

Based on Q3FY21 reported figures, IOCL’s market share in petrol fell from 40.4% to 40.0% yoy and in diesel (incl bulk), it declined from 43.7% to 42.6%. Total volume market share also fell from 39.9% to 39.5%. Meanwhile, BPCL, HPCL and private/others gained in auto fuels. The total market share of BPCL/HPCL improved by 35bps/68bps, though private/others lost 62bps. IOCL’s diesel market share improved by 64bps qoq from 41.9% in Q2.

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