Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL), one of India's premier petroleum refining and marketing companies, is targeting to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040 with a view to reducing carbon footprint and getting ready for the energy transition in the future from fossil fuels to non-fossil fuels. BPCL has identified six strategic areas as pillars of future growth and sustainability to create additional revenue streams and provide a hedge against any possible future decline in liquid fossil-fuel business.

These strategic growth areas will be in petrochemicals, gas, renewables, new businesses (consumer retailing), e-mobility, and upstream. While the core businesses of refining and marketing of petroleum products will continue during the period for stability and consistent cash flows, BPCL will invest ₹1.4 lakh crore in the next five years to effect this transition, says Arun Kumar Singh, Chairman & Managing Director. Detailing the roadmap under each of these six strategic areas, he says in the annual report for 2021-22 BPCL has placed topmost priority on the expansion of its petrochemicals product portfolio. It will set up two new refinery-integrated petrochemical projects– a 1.2 metric million tonnes per annum (MMTPA) ethylene cracker unit at Bina refinery and a 0.4 MMTPA polypropylene unit at Kochi refinery.

Natural gas is going to be a key strategic area of growth in the future for BPCL, now among the top three city gas distribution (CGD) players in the country. The company has secured licenses for eight new geographical areas (GAs) under the recently concluded 11th and 11A CGD bid rounds. With this, BPCL has licenses for developing CGD networks in 25 GAs covering 62 districts and a total of 50 GAs covering 105 districts, inclusive of JVs. Further, 8 new GAs were commissioned in FY22, while work in other GAs is fast progressing towards completion.

The third area of growth for the Maharatna PSU refiner will be diversification into Renewable Energy (RE) business. It has established a new business unit 'Renewable Energy' and is planning to set up 1,000 megawatts (MW) by 2025 and 10,000 MW by 2040. Further, the company will step up its biofuel business to reduce carbon footprint. It recently achieved blending of more than 10% ethanol in petrol.

BPCL recently formed a new business unit - New Businesses - for expanding the consumer retailing business more vigorously and in newer ways. Initial focus will be on small towns and rural areas. Within just nine months since the creation of this business unit, BPCL has already opened 30 'In & Out stores' in tehsils and partnered with 300 rural womenfolk entrepreneurs named as 'Urja Devis' in rural areas. Plans are to create 1,500 'In & Out stores' and engage 15,000 Urja Devis in the coming year, says Arun Kumar Singh.

In the electric mobility space, BPCL has come up with a novel concept of creating 'Highway Fast Charging Corridors.' On a pilot basis, the company has adopted the 900-km Chennai-Trichy-Madurai-Chennai highway (NH-45) to develop it as a Highway Fast Charging Corridor. "Going forward, BPCL plans to grow in this space in tandem with market expansion", says the CMD.

In the upstream (oil and gas exploration) business, with most of its assets now either in the development or production phase, BPCL is well on its path to taking its revenue generation to the next level, says Arun Kumar Singh. Its wholly owned upstream subsidiary Bharat PetroResources (BPRL), with a consortium of partners, has found oil and gas discovery in BM Seal 11 concession in Brazil. The field development plan is expected to be submitted shortly, which will be followed by a final investment decision for monetisation of the discoveries. Also, in Mozambique, offshore gas discoveries are being developed for monetisation through the liquified natural gas (LNG) route by the consortium. The project execution activities are expected to re-commence soon with the improving security situation in that region, says the BPCL CMD.

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