Green energy will drive new capacity at IOC: Shrikant Madhav Vaidya, Chairman
IOC chairman Shrikant Madhav Vaidya shared with his vision for transforming India’s largest state-run oil refiner and fuel retailer into a new age energy major.
Net-zero is the buzzword. What are your plans?
We have to be in sync with the government saying that, by 2050, we all should be net-zero, which can be broken into categories: One, what energy we use. Suppose we become net zero in that. The second is grid power. If that is green, then stage two is also cleared. Third is what we produce and is being used, such as petrol and diesel, which becomes net-zero. That is a tall order. So, one way is to reduce the energy we use, bring more energy efficiency. That itself will reduce emissions in a big way. Second, whatever electricity we get from the grid, we will ensure it is green.
We are investing in solar and wind energy in a big way. We have a 75MW operational wind energy project in Rajasthan. We are bidding for 250MW solar capacity. We can use the grid to transmit that power to our plants. We have several expansion projects down the line. The intention is to run all expanded capacity on green power. They will not have captive power plants.
What about new age mobility solutions?
Fossil fuels will be there but gas will play a big role because the government has rightly chosen it as the transition fuel. We are committed to CNG and CBG (compressed biogas). We have issued 2,000-plus LoIs for CBG plants. That will be a game-changer for us. Our R&D is working on generating hydrogen through different pathways. We are introducing 15 hydrogen buses in the NCR region.
We are also investing in producing hydrogen with 99.999 purity at Gujarat refinery for hydrogen fuel cell buses. We intend to operate these on the iconic Baroda-Sabarmati and Baroda-Statue of Unity (Kevadia) routes in Gujarat soon. We intend to utilise wind power from our Rajasthan project to produce green hydrogen through electrolysis at Mathura refinery, as is in the Taj Trapezium Zone.
All these will contribute towards net-zero.
How will competition after BPCL privatisation and energy transition impact your retail character?
Today, we have about 32,000 retail outlets. All of them are automated. We know the units of fuel dispensed in each delivery or which outlet is closed. Automation ensures quality and quantity to our customers. We are on a par with anyone who comes in the market, be it private or public. The second part is alternate fuels. We are adding charging points for electric mobility, CNG and CBG at our outlets, wherever possible. CBG will be one big fuel for the future. We are the only oil company to offer CBG from 23 outlets. Hydrogen is still far and it will be few locations where we dispense it. We have set the ball rolling. Eventually, we will make sure it also scales up. LNG is also coming. We have been tasked with setting up 20 of the 50 outlets being planned along the Golden Quadrilateral.
When do you expect fuel demand to reach pre-Covid levels?
Petrol is already there. Diesel I expect in a quarter max; by Diwali. ATF (jet fuel) will take time, maybe six months or next year.
Does such expansion make sense in view of thrust on electric mobility?
We have one-third of the global average in terms of per capita energy consumption. We are the only growing economy, apart from China, where energy consumption is growing in leaps and bounds. Please understand that 250 million tonnes (refining) capacity is likely to rise to 400 so that additional fuel is there. Demand is picking up, we are not stagnant. What you are saying is okay if the fuel demand becomes stagnant then the number of outlets will cut into each other’s business. But the whole pie is increasing.