Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries and UK's energy major BP plc on Thursday announced the launch of Reliance BP Mobility Limited (RBML), a fuel and mobility joint venture. Operating under the "Jio-bp" brand, the joint venture aims to become a leading player in India's fuels and mobility markets, RIL said in a regulatory filing.
Last year, BP had acquired 49 per cent stake in the 1,400-odd petrol pumps and 31 aviation turbine fuel (ATF) stations owned by Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) for $1 billion.
"Following initial agreements in 2019, BP and RIL teams have worked closely over the past few months in a challenging environment to complete the transaction as planned," RIL said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.
Earlier in May this year, the Competition Commission of India had approved the proposal to set up petrol pumps across the country.The transaction primarily concerns the business of petroleum retail marketing in India.
RBML has received the marketing authorisation for transportation fuels, amongst other necessary regulatory and statutory approvals. The joint venture will begin selling fuels and Castrol lubricants with immediate effect from its existing retail outlets, which will be rebranded to "Jio-bp" in due course.
The fuel and mobility joint venture will leverage Reliance's presence across 21 states and its millions of consumers through the Jio digital platform. "BP will bring its extensive global experience in high-quality differentiated fuels, lubricants, retail and advanced low carbon mobility solutions," the country's most valued firm said.
Global energy supermajor BP plc and RIL expect the venture to grow rapidly to help meet India's fast-growing demands for energy and mobility.
"India is expected to be the fastest-growing fuels market in the world over the next 20 years, with the number of passenger cars in the country estimated to grow almost six-fold over the period," the company said.
RBML aims to expand from its current fuel retailing network of over 1,400 retail sites to up to 5,500 over the next five years. This rapid growth will require a four-fold increase in staff employed in service stations - growing from 20,000 to 80,000 in this period. The joint venture also aims to increase its presence from 30 to 45 airports in the coming years.
Commenting on the partnership Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of RIL said: "Reliance is expanding on its strong and valued partnership with BP, to establish a pan-Indian presence in retail and aviation fuels. RBML will aim to be a leader in mobility and low carbon solutions, bringing cleaner and affordable options for Indian consumers with digital and technology being our key enablers."
Bernard Looney, BP Chief Executive Officer, said: "BP has a proud history in India spanning over a century. We are honoured to be a strategic partner with Reliance-India's most valuable company - and pleased that our partnership has grown in both substance and spirit over this past decade. Reliance's digital capabilities, technical expertise and reach complement our international fuels and service offers. Today's announcement is another milestone in our common goal to serve the Indian consumer. This new venture is a unique opportunity to build a leading, fast-growing business that can help meet India's demands and create exciting new digital and low-carbon options for the future."
Reflecting the companies' net zero ambitions, the new joint venture aspires to provide Indian consumers with advanced fuels with lower emissions, electric vehicle charging and other low carbon solutions over time. RBML is also committed to the decarbonisation of its own operations as well as that of its wider ecosystem, RIL said in the filing.