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E-business Comes To India - 11 September, 2002

Indian Oil Corp, the country's largest crude importer, will use e-commerce for its crude oil buys, a move which will speed up its decision-making and give the oil firm better prices in tenders.

This plan will be implemented in four or six weeks. State-run IOC has prepared the software and will undertake test runs before issuing the first e-commerce tender by the end of October.

The current system of issuing oil tenders denies the company the best price because it takes 36 hours to decide which party to buy crude oil from and oil traders have to factor price volatility into their tender prices.

The IOC, which accounts for about 40 per cent of India's refining capacity of 2.3 million barrels per day, is revamping its foreign trade operations and has appointed consultants to improve its system of importing crude oil.

It is keen to set up a foreign trade desk in London or Singapore but will wait for the recommendation of its consultants before taking a decision.