Net zero is a buzzword. What are your plans?
We have to be in sync with the government saying that by 2050 we should all be net zero, which can be broken down into categories: First, what is the energy we use. Let’s say we become net zero in it. The second is the power grid. If this is green, the second stage will also be cleared. Third, what we produce and use, such as gasoline and diesel, becomes net zero. This is very difficult. So, one way is to reduce the energy we use, and achieve more energy efficiency. This in itself will reduce emissions in a significant way. Second, whatever electricity we get from the grid, we’ll ensure it’s green.
We are investing heavily in solar and wind energy. We have a 75MW operational wind power project in Rajasthan. We are bidding for 250 MW solar capacity. We can use the grid to transmit that energy to our factories. We have many expansion projects along the line. The intent is to run all the extended capacity on green energy. They will not have captive power stations.
What about mobility solutions in the new era?
Fossil fuels will be there but gas will play a big role because the government has rightly chosen them as a transition fuel. We are committed to CNG and CBG (Compressed Biogas). We have released more than 2000 LoI codes for CBG stations. It will change the rules of the game for us. Our research and development works to generate hydrogen through various pathways. We offer 15 hydrogen buses in the NCR region.
We are also investing in hydrogen production of 99.999 purity at Gujarat fuel cell hydrogen fuel cell bus refinery. We intend to operate these on famous Baroda-Sabarmati and Baroda-Statue of Unity (Kevadia) roads in Gujarat soon. We intend to use wind energy from the Rajasthan project to produce green hydrogen through electrolysis at the Mathura Refinery, such as in the Taj Trapsium area.
All of these will contribute to net zero.
How will competition after BPCL privatization and energy transformation affect your character in retail?
Today, we have around 32,000 retail outlets. All of them are automatic. We know which units of fuel are dispensed at each plug or which outlet is closed. Automation ensures quality and quantity for our customers. We are on par with anyone who comes into the market, be it in the private or public sector. The second part is alternative fuels. We are adding electric mobility, CNG and CBG charging points at our outlets, where possible. CBG will be a great fuel for the future. We are the only oil company to offer CBG from 23 ports. Hydrogen is still far away and it will be quite a few spots to do without. We’ve put the ball rolling. In the end, we’ll make sure he lives up too. LNG is also coming. We have been tasked with creating 20 of the 50 outlets that are planned along the Golden Square.
When do you expect fuel demand to reach pre-Covid levels?
Gasoline is already there. I expect diesel in a quarter max; by Diwali. ATF (Aviation Fuel) will take time, maybe six months or next year.
Does this expansion make sense in light of the push on electric mobility?
We have a third of the world average in terms of per capita energy consumption. We are the only growing economy, except for China, where energy consumption is growing by leaps and bounds. Please understand that the capacity of 250 million tons (refining) is likely to go up to 400 so that there is additional fuel. Demand is rising, we are not in a recession. What you’re saying is okay if the demand for fuel becomes stagnant, the number of outlets will cut into each other’s business. But the whole pie is growing.