Shell, India will become a key location for sourcing energy transition equipment in five years. As the businesses expand, the country will also employ the most Shell workers globally.
Throughout its gasoline retail, petrol, lubricant, and technology divisions, Shell employs 11,000 people in India. Employees at the IT centre are trying to create digital twins of the company’s remote assets, and many more are involved in remote asset monitoring.
Huibert Vigeveno, director (renewables & downstream), Shell, predicted that “in five years, India will be our greatest employer.” The number of Shell employees in India will surpass those in the US, which currently holds that title, as the company’s investments in the country’s energy industry and chances for international partnerships increase.
We will have made significant progress towards greener electrons and molecules in five years, he predicted. In India, Shell is starting to make headway in the green energy sector by purchasing renewables companies and forming partnerships with a range of clients to support their decarbonization initiatives. It paid $1.55 billion to acquire the renewable energy platform Sprng Energy last year. Also, it debuted its first EV charging station last year and plans to install 10,000 rapid charging stations. India will have a lot to offer in terms of sourcing goods and services, machinery, and other activities, which we will use both domestically and internationally, according to Vigeveno. The sourcing might be dispersed along the full value chain of the energy transformation, from renewable energy to biofuels and electrolyzers. According to Nitin Prasad, chairman of Shell Companies, India, “India is clearly emerging as an alternate sourcing destination for essential components of equipment.” What is also taking place in the energy transition is that you are looking at machinery that is much better suited to the ecology and environment of India: more modular design, more oriented towards automation, robotics.
As it enhances its presence in the low-carbon sector, Shell has seen its interest wane in the refinery business. “If you look at 20 years ago, we used to have 55 refineries. If you look at early 2020, we had 16 refineries, and we are concentrating now on five refineries, which I’m transitioning to energy and chemical parks,” Vigeveno said. Shell didn’t bid for Bharat Petroleum Corp (BPCL), a state-run refinery India planned to sell to the private sector. The government cancelled the sale plan last year due to poor investor interest.
Shell doesn’t need refineries to support its fuel sales network, Vigeveno said. “You don’t really require a refinery to be a very successful mobility provider. What you need is to have very strong logistics. You need terminals, depots, pipelines, trading capabilities,” he said.
A small portion of India’s 86,000 petrol pumps, or roughly 350 stations, are operated by Shell. There is no lack of ambition, according to Prasad. “This is more complicated than just a rebranding exercise. There is a cycle for construction. A station takes three years to develop. In comparison to just a few cities and towns a few years ago, Shell is now present in 128.
Shell is interested in green hydrogen, but it must first wait for the right demand to materialise before using its worldwide resources to make investments in India. Whether it’s in the mobility industry, the steel industry, the ammonia industry, or in other industries, Prasad said, “We are working with the government to come back and put mechanisms in place that will create the demand use cases.”