With the advent of e-commerce and online retail in the country, oil marketing companies are looking to tap into the potential by starting online retail of diesel. Companies like Indian Oil, BPCL, and HPCL are focussing on online retail to cater to the rural section of the society and commercial establishments. This is expected to help stakeholders save time and bring about increased productivity.
Oil marketing companies are waiting for the last round of approvals from the Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organisation (PESO) before online bookings are open.
The delivery model for online sales will be similar to that of LPG cylinders. The process will require a fresh set of delivery tankers fitted with hosepipe and nozzles. Safety clearance is needed for the areas where there will be movement of these tankers. As fuelling needs large open spaces, all busy/congested residential areas will be prohibited from the home delivery network as well.
The companies are experienced in supplying aviation turbine fuel to airports along the same lines, but the situation may be different for rural areas and cities.
The Executive Director of retail, BPCL, mentioned that the company is expecting the final safety clearance to come next month. This would facilitate the online retailing of diesel by the end of December. He also stated that the companies are targeting around 2% of the total consumer base to initially shift to the online platform. In the long term, there will be more consumers moving towards online purchase.
Narrow roads, traffic congestion, and small-scale retail pumps that are nestled in the city make it difficult for loaders and large earth movers to transport fuel to the fuelling stations. Moreover, third-party contractors who are involved in mining activities prefer onsite fueling. Online booking and delivery would be of immense help to these entities.
All India Dealers Association has expressed concerns over the transportation and fuelling of vehicles in residential areas, owing to safety. But PSUs are mindful of the safety processes and said that they will ensure that all regulations are followed before online booking commences.