Government will appoint 10,000 new LPG, or cooking gas, distributors this year under a new procedure so as to extend the universal reach of clean fuel across the country by 2018, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has said.
"The 10,000 new liquified petroleum gas dealerships will be on top of around 16,000 existing dealers in the country. We had declared 2016 as the Year of LPG Consumers and this is yet another step in the direction of making clean cooking fuel available to the entire population of the country by 2018, particularly in rural areas," he said in national capital unveiling the unified guidelines for selection of LPG distributorships.
"About 2,000 agencies are already in the process of being appointed and the remaining would be completed in two phases," he said.
Earlier, speaking on a government website on the two years of work done by the ministry, Pradhan said global oil majors including Saudi Aramco and Total plan to enter the Indian retail fuel market.
"Saudi Aramco is eager to enter in Indian market, we are finding ways to help them," Pradhan said.
"Shell officials recently met me and informed about their plan to expand the retail network in a big way in southern India," he said.
The minister said British oil major BP, to which the government has agreed to grant a licence to market jet fuel in India, "may expand into the Indian retail sector".
"Rosneft (Russia), rich with oil and gas wants to join Indian markets," Pradhan said.
He also said local private oil refiners like Reliance Industries and Essar Oil have started re-opening their fuel stations and are adding new ones to expand business.