Oil major Shell's 'Energy Europe' unit will begin supplying electricity to industrial customers in Britain, according to a company statement, in a move that could challenge some of Europe's biggest utilities. Silvia Antonioli reports.
From oil major to utility giant? Royal Dutch Shell is trying to make the jump. The world' second largest oil & gas company said it will soon supply electricity to industrial customers in Britain. Oil majors are trying to adapt to lower crude prices and to evolve as the global energy mix switches towards cleaner sources. In response to these challenges, Shell wants to make a push in the European electricity market. SOUNDBITE (English) Richard Hunter, Head of Research, Wilson King Investment Management: "Shell seems to be reflecting the current moved towards the higher demand for clean energy. It's actually got something of a head start if it decides to go ahead with this move on the basis it has 600 sites already within the UK for example, around 550 of which are petrol stations but there are also oil and gas platforms as well. But that would give Shell a running start into this particular part of the market." The Anglo Dutch company will start by providing energy to its own assets in Great Britain before it begins to supply end users such as large industrial plants early next year. But getting involved in the electrical chain means it will be going head to head with utility titans such as EDF and NPower And they could be less appreciative of a wholesale power supplier becoming a competitor.