Anglo-Dutch oil major Shell has staged a return to auto fuel retailing in India after a gap of nearly three decades, opening its first petrol pump in Bangalore last week.
"We have commissioned the first of our retail outlets at Bangalore last week," Mr Vikram Singh Mehta, Chairman, Shell Group of Companies in India, told reporters on the sidelines of an oil and gas conference here on Friday.
Royal Dutch/Shell had to wind up its India operations in 1976 after its petrol pump network and refinery at Mumbai were nationalised and renamed Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL).
Shell will be the first multinational oil firm to start fuel retailing in India after the Government opened up the sector to private players in April 2002.
So far, auto fuel retailing in the country was a domain of the three state-owned firms — IOC, BPCL and HPCL. Recently, domestic private entities such as Reliance Industries Ltd and Essar Oil have opened a few petrol outlets.
Shell, which has a licence to open up to 2,000 petrol pumps in the country, will invest Rs 250 crore in phase-I of its retail plan that focuses on setting up petrol pumps in the South.
"To begin with, we are concentrated on southern States. We are now embarked on setting up petrol stations all across the South and will expand to other regions of the country in due course," he said.
Shell, which secured the retail licence on investing more than Rs 2,000 crore in setting up an LNG import facility at Hazira in Gujarat, is sourcing petrol and diesel for its retail foray from Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd, a subsidiary of state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, he added.