File photo of NRL

Privatisation bound public sector refiner Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) said on March 1 that its board has approved the proposal for sale of the company’s equity shares in the Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) to a consortium of Oil India Limited and Engineers India Limited, along with the Assam government.

BPCL is selling its entire shareholding of 61.65 per cent in NRL to the consortium as part of its sell-off process that mandated separation of the Assam-based refinery before the strategic sale.

As per the information shared with the stock exchanges, BPCL said that in case the Assam government does not participate in the purchase of shares in NRL, its entire shareholding will be sold to the consortium.

In the current structure of Numaligarh Refinery, BPCL holds 61.65 per cent stake, OIL holds another 26 per cent and the Assam government holds 12.35 per cent.

NRL has been carved out from BPCL and is not part of the assets which are being sold as part of its privatisation plan. The transaction is now subject to the approval from the shareholders of BPCL.

Sources indicated that the state government may pick up additional equity in the refinery so that its holding increases to 26 per cent which gives it effective control over the operation of the refinery. The balance 48 per cent of BPCL’s equity may be divided between OIL and EIL with the latter picking up 10 per cent stake.

NRL is the largest customer of OIL’s crude produced from its Northeast fields. The acquisition is expected to improve the synergy in OIL’s portfolio and it develops an integrated oil operation involving exploration, refining and marketing.

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