India's Largest Refiner Bids to Sell Fuel in Newly Open Myanmar

  • Indian Oil Corp. wants to market refined products in nation
  • Chairman Ashok says proximity an advantage for shipping fuel

India’s largest oil refiner wants to help fuel Myanmar’s fledgling economy.

Indian Oil Corp. has submitted bids to enter the fuel marketing and retail business in Myanmar, Chairman B. Ashok said in an interview Tuesday. The country is forming a democratic government after an election in November, part of a political and economic transformation that’s bringing an end to more than five decades of isolation.

“The Myanmar market is opening up,” Ashok said. “We expect the fuel business to pick up, LPG business to pick up. So we are looking at possibilities there.”

On Thursday, Myanmar’s parliament approved Aung San Suu Kyi and 17 other nominees to take positions in the incoming government’s cabinet, following her National League for Democracy party’s landslide victory in November’s election. The country will need $80 billion of power, transport, and technology projects through 2030 to modernize its economy, according to the Asian Development Bank.

Ashok expects several international energy companies will be interested in the Myanmar market. Indian Oil has advantages, he said, such as refineries on India’s east coast that would only have to ship fuel a short distance across the Bay of Bengal to get to Myanmar. The company also has experience setting up fuel stations and managing logistics, which would be helpful in the nascent market, he said.

Indian Oil’s primary focus will remain on its domestic market, where growth in gasoline and diesel consumption is expected to remain robust, Ashok said.

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