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Total seeks Indian partner to open petrol pumps

Firm plans to invest in LPG infra, LNG as well as renewables segment

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Total seeks Indian partner to open petrol pumps
A customer holds a gas pump as he fills-up his car in a Total station in Nice, France. (File photo: Reuters)

French and gas major on Friday said it is mulling entering fuel retailing in in collaboration with a local partner.

"It's a big market with big players like Indian and others having thousands of retail stations. It has been recently deregulated. Obviously we are thinking about it," Total said at an industry event in New Delhi.

"I think for us is also a matter of finding the right Indian partners," he said, while adding that Total has to find the right partner to do fuel retailing business.

Pouyanne further said: "It's not because we are large company and we can do very well, we have the money, the financial capacities, we have the expertise in many of these businesses, but I think it is also to understand the local ways of making business and in we have specifics."

"So, yes we have an interest, but we have to find the right partner to do the local business like most of its peers have done as well."

Earlier, after meeting Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, he said Total plans to invest in expanding infrastructure in India, including boosting storage capacity, import terminals and distribution network.

The firm sells lubricants and in India. It had in 1998 commissioned a fully integrated import terminal at Mangalore. It also has a minority stake in import terminal at Hazira in Gujarat.

Pouyanne said India's growing energy market, especially LPG, and renewables, were attractive for investments for Total.

"Met the Chairman & CEO of Total SA, Mr Patrick Pouyanne, and his team. Assured to extend all possible support," Pradhan tweeted.

He said he encouraged Total to invest in infrastructure, gas pipelines, terminals and petrochemicals business in India.

"Welcomed the valuable partnership between Total and our in the areas of LPG, LNG, Gas infrastructure & renewable energies," Pradhan said in another tweet.

The liquefied natural gas (LNG), Pouyanne said, is a good market in India. "We are already in Hazira. We are trying to see if we can expand," he said, adding that there are "plenty of terminals" in Gujarat.

Besides the 5 million tonnes a year Hazira import facility, Petronet LNG Ltd operates a 15 MT terminal at Dahej and Gujarat State Petroleum Corp (GSPC) is building a 5 MT terminal at Mundra in the state.

"We are among the top 3 leading in the LNG business, to bring more gas in the LNG terminals. Many terminals are being built. We are already partners in Hazira terminal, we can also develop the gas market in India," he said.

There are "too many (LNG terminals) in Gujarat", he said.

Royal Dutch Shell owns 74 per cent stake in while Total has the remaining 26 per cent.

"India is a growing market - LPG, LNG and even as well," he said. "We are looking at expanding in LPG -- LPG plants, networks, we already have a (LPG) cavern (and are looking at) expanding storage capacity, import terminals -- all the infrastructure that is necessary to expand the LPG business."

He, however, did not give investment details saying "we have some plans".

"We are already importing LPG...We are also a big trading company," he said.

First Published: Fri, September 01 2017. 20:36 IST