New Delhi, August 17:

Indian state-owned oil marketing companies will soon set up 20 depots across the country to buy bio-diesel from entrepreneurs for blending it with diesel. “While the oil companies have suggested a price of Rs 23 Indian Currency (IC) per litre of bio-diesel, we are recommending Rs 25 IC to provide an incentive to entrepreneurs,” petroleum secretary S C Tripathi said here today.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of a Bio-diesel Credit Bank by the Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA). The use of bio-diesel, produced from non-edible oilseeds like jatropha, for blending with diesel, produced from crude, is expected to bring down the volume of imports at a time when global oil prices have risen over $66 per barrel. Diesel usage constitutes over 40 per cent of India’s annual consumption of about 120 million tonnes of crude, with over 70 per cent of it being imported.

The government is still not clear how much bio-diesel of the right kind will be available for blending. To ensure quality procurement, Tripathi said, the oil marketing companies will set up laboratories alongside the collection depots to test the quality of bio-diesel being supplied. While Indian Oil Corp would set up 10 collection depots, both Bharat Petroleum Corp and Hindustan Petroleum Corp would set up five depots each, the official said.

Highlighting the advantages of setting up the bio-diesel credit bank, Tripathi said it would provide all relevant information — right from people engaged in the cultivation of non-edible oil seeds to those engaged in collection and processing of bio-diesel and the desired quality of bio-diesel.

The recent price hike has scared a lot of countries and forced them to think for alternatives.