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India’s Slow Moving Big Government Owned Oil Retailers Look To EVs and RE As They Face Oblivion

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Large Indian government-owned retailers are facing a difficult future with the advent of Electric Vehicles threatening their business models in the medium term. Indian Oil Corporation, BPCL, and HPCL are multibillion-dollar Indian PSUs which feature on the Forbes 500 list. These companies manage thousands of petrol/gas pumps across India and also have the capacity to refine millions of barrels of oil per day. With an almost oligopolistic hold on retailing of fuel for transports, these companies generate billions of dollars in revenues and have a vast infrastructure to serve them besides employing tens of thousands of people

However, these government-owned retailers which have led a more or less protected environment with secure profits and revenues are facing a major technology disruption with the onset of EVs in the transport industry. With the Indian government setting a target of full electrification of transport by 2030, these giant companies might not have a business left if the government achieves its target.

Oil and Gas

BPCL Refinery

These companies are now looking at diversifying into EVs and renewable energy in order to keep themselves relevant in this new environment. They have made piecemeal and uncoordinated efforts to get into this area by building some rooftop solar and wind plants however they have no real strategy or thinking on what to do.

Also, read List Of Best Electric Cars Running In India

IOCL which is the biggest Indian oil retailer is thinking of putting charging stations at its existing petrol pumps and also of manufacturing batteries. However, the company may not succeed as utilities are better placed to build these charging stations given that they already have access to power and grid networks. Besides a number of startups will also enter this field as there is no monopoly over fuel supply which these vendors have. Agile and nimble companies will beat these slow-moving companies in my view. Also, battery manufacturing requires different skills than refining oil and these companies may not be suitable to go against the like of major battery companies and auto companies which are putting up battery plants.

Check out our list of Oil & Gas Companies in India

These companies are still slumbering and not being proactive which is what you would expect from them. I predict that these companies will go bankrupt or remain a shadow of their current selves over the next 15 years. They do not have the capability or drive to reinvent themselves.

“For electrical cars to make a significant dent in the fossil fuel market, it will take time,” Mukesh Kumar Surana, chairman and managing director of HPCL, said after the annual general meeting on 15 September. “We as a company periodically keep on reviewing our portfolio and when an opportunity arises in the segment, we will look at it,” he added.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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