India's second largest refining and oil marketing company Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) plans to inject $4.5 billion over a period of five years in fields of exploration, gas marketing and petrochemicals.

HPCL, which runs two refineries with a total capacity of 260,000 bpd and has stakes in about 22 oil and gas blocks, is also keen on buying minority stakes in producing assets overseas.

The refiner plans to raise $1-1.5 billion in debt to partly fund the capital expenditure plans.

Quoting HPCL Finance Director C. Ramulu, Reuters reported that the state-run refiner hopes to invest about $1 billion for exploration and production by 2012.

We are quite bullish on upstream and are very serious about making investments in it, Ramulu said in an interview.

We are keen to consider acquisition of a minority stake in producing properties overseas... we cannot buy higher stakes as we do not have experience that an operator needs, the finance director was quoted as saying.

HPCL is also keen to increase focus on new revenue streams such as gas marketing and petrochemicals.

According to Ramulu, the refiner is in talks with the West Bengal government for buying a stake in the Great Calcutta Gas Supply Corporation.

The refiner has a tie-up with state-run gas utility GAIL (India) Ltd for three city gas distribution projects in India.

HPCL has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with France's Total, Mittal Energy Investments, state-run explorer Oil India Ltd and GAIL for a new refinery-cum-petrochemicals unit in Visakhapatnam on India's east coast.

The equity stakes for each company will be worked out later, Ramulu was quoted as saying.

HPCL features in the Fortune Global 500 list and was positioned at No.336 in 2007 moving up 32 spots from last year.

In October, HPCL reported a Q2 decline in net profit along with a drop in sales.

The refiner said net profit for the quarter ended September declined to Rs.853 crore ($216 million) from Rs.1222 crore ($309 million) a year ago.

Net sales fell to Rs.24,234 crore ($6.13 billion) from Rs.24,367 crore ($6.17 billion) a year before, HPCL said in a filing with the National Stock Exchange (NSE).