Sanjiv Singh has officially taken over as the chairman of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), the country’s largest fuel retailer. Singh has taken over the reins of the government owned downstream company from erstwhile chairman B Ashok, with effect from June 1, 2017. Prior to his elevation, Singh was Director (Refineries) on the IndianOil Board since July 2014. Singh will also be Chairman of Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (CPCL) and Hindustan Urvarak and Rasayan Ltd. (HURL), a joint venture company set up to revive the fertiliser plants at Gorakhpur, Sindri and Barauni.
Singh will be taking over IOC at a time when the fuel retailer witnessed its net consolidated profit increase by 64 percent to Rs 208.35 billion for the previous year 2016-2017. The company in a statement stated that the new chairman is a staunch advocate of minimum gestation time from concept-to-commissioning and plans to expedite Rs. 400 billion worth of projects in various stages of implementation in the corporation, including capex of nearly Rs. 150 billion in refineries division, in the coming three years.
The company added that Singh has been leading the conceptualising of India’s mammoth 60 million tonnes per annum refinery being set-up on the West coast of India, which will transform the refining landscape of India. However, what will prove to be the biggest challenge for the new chairman is to ensure that the fuel retailer’s revenue and profits maintain an upward trajectory at a time when the government of India plans to roll out Goods and Service Tax (GST) which excludes core petroleum products like petrol, diesel, aviation fuel, natural gas and crude oil.
As these products will not be included the GST ambit, the tax credit which could have been availed cannot be availed under the new tax regime. Company executives also believe that the GST may impact the retailer’s top line by Rs 50 billion. Also, the new chairman will also have to steer the company through rough waters at a time global crude oil prices are swinging due to intensified US shale production and Organization of Oil Producing Countries (OPEC) decision to extended oil production cut by nine months till March 2018.
Singh will also have to work on upgrading the company’s refineries scattered across the nation, in order to align with the country’s goal to run on BS VI fuel by 2020. A chemical engineer from IIT-Roorkee with a Diploma in Management, Sanjiv Singh joined IOC in 1981. He has been with IOC for over 35 years, spearheading refinery operations as well as mega green-field and brown-field projects in refining and petrochemicals.
According to IOC, Singh played a key role in the setting up, commissioning and stabilisation of two of IndianOil’s biggest green-field refineries at Panipat and Paradip. Singh has also steered the successful implementation of the petrochemical projects of Paraxylene/PTA and Naphtha Cracker with downstream units at Panipat Refinery. According to the company the new chairman strongly supports commercialisation of indigenous technologies and has led many such ‘firsts’ in IndianOil refineries likeOctamax (for production of high-octane fuel); indJet (production of aviation fuel); inDSK (reduction of sulphur in kerosene); and indeSelect (gasoline desulphurisation), among several others.
A champion of clean and green fuels, Mr. Singh ensured on-schedule rollout of BS-IV fuels across the country in April 2017 and has now set a frenetic pace for IndianOil refineries to meet the tough deadline of introducing BS-VI grade green fuels in the country by April 2020.