New Delhi (May 12, 2003): Royal Dutch/Shell Group has won permission from the Indian government to set up 2,000 petrol stations in the country, Oil Minister Ram Naik said, quoted by the Press Trust of India.
Naik said the entry of one of the world's largest oil companies is subject to the company submitting a bank guarantee of 5 bln rupees.
Shell will have to set up 11.6 pct of the outlets in remote areas as part of the agreement with the government, he added.
India's oil market is the world's seventh-largest, but has so far been monopolised by state firms such as the Indian Oil Corp Ltd, Bharat Petroleum Corp and Hindustan Petroleum Corp.
India's largest private sector firm Reliance Petroleum and another prominent group, Essar Oil Ltd, have also received permission to set up petrol retail outlets in the country.
"Our market is ever-growing and offers opportunities for even big players like Shell," said Naik, who is on a visit to Iran.
Shell had a subsidiary in India called Burmah-Shell, but it was nationalised by the government in 1976 and renamed Bharat Petroleum.