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Total's Indian joint-venture to seek fuel retailing license

FILE PHOTO: The logo of French oil and gas company Total is seen in a petrol station in Paris, France February 6, 2020. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A joint-venture by India's Adani Gas and France's Total TOTF.PA will soon seek government permission to open retail fuel stations in India, Adani's chief executive said on Wednesday.

India has become a lucrative market for global oil majors after the government removed controls on the retail pricing of gasoline and gasoil and relaxed rules for setting up fuel stations in the country, the world’s third biggest oil consumer and importer.

“Definitely we will take full benefit of the expertise and strength of Total,” Suresh Manglani told reporters on an earnings call, adding that the intent was to become a full-service operator, providing a multi-fuel offering.

The joint venture, Total Adani Fuels Marketing Pvt Ltd, will soon apply for a license under the new liberal fuel retailing rules, Manglani said.

Fuel demand in India is expected to rise in coming years as Prime Minister Narendra Modi pushes for Asia’s third largest economy to grow from $2.9 trillion of gross domestic production in 2019 to $5 trillion by 2025.

British oil major BP BP.L has already teamed up with Reliance Industries RELI.NS in a fuel retailing joint venture, and Shell RDSa.L and Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) also both want to strengthen their presence in India.

Total bought a 37.4% stake in billionaire Gautam Adani-promoted Adani Gas last year to capitalise on India’s push for cleaner sources of energy.

Adani Gas, which has so far focused on selling gas to industry and households, also wants to sell liquefied natural gas (LNG) for transportation.

Modi wants to raise share of gas in India’s energy mix to 15% by 2030 from the current 6.2%.

Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Kirsten Donovan