History and current operations
Shell Bulgaria was founded in 1991 and opened its first retail site in 1993. We were the first international oil company to enter the Bulgarian market and now have already 29 years presence in Bulgaria. Since 2016 Shell has expanded its business presence in Bulgaria and made an Upstream entry in the country. Together with our partners Woodside (30%) and Repsol (20%) we are exploring for oil and gas in Khan Kubrat Block in the EEZ of Bulgarian Black Sea. During the license period of 5 years there were safely conducted 3D seismic survey and the exploration well “Khan Kubrat 1”, which itself is beyond the license commitment. For the moment we are reviewing the outcome of the drilling process, and we’re not yet in a position to take a decision about the next steps.
In 2017, Shell added another business to its portfolio in Bulgaria - the supply of aviation fuel. Shell & MOH Aviation Fuels Bulgaria, which is a 100% subsidiary of Shell & MOH Aviation, is a supplier to Sofia Airport, which is the largest airport in Bulgaria. So, at present we have both upstream and downstream projects in the Bulgarian market.
What we offer in Bulgaria in more than 100 retail sites is what Shell is offering globally - high quality fuels which are developed in research and development centres of Shell like the one in Hamburg and adapted to local specifics, convenience retail products and the euroShell card service for delayed payments and effective management of its corporate clients’ automotive parks, as well as the ClubSmart loyalty program. Every month over one million customers are serviced at Shell Bulgaria’s retail sites.
Benefits of Bulgaria
We were the first international company in the downstream business and this gave us a great advantage. The market was underdeveloped and we saw potential for growth. We saw a chance to set Shell global standards and corporate culture in Bulgaria and thus to have a positive impact on the business environment.
There are a number of benefits we see investing in Bulgaria, such as the political environment which is very important for a company like Shell. Despite occasional turbulent times there has been relative political stability. Bulgaria is a member of the EU, NATO. Bulgaria has the currency board as well as stable GDP growth in the last few years. Although with COVID-19 the situation has changed significantly.
Last but not least, the strategic
geographic location at the crossroads between West and East is another benefit
we value. This is important for the downstream business which we operate at the
moment but as well for other potential business opportunities. So, all these
elements make Bulgaria attractive for an international company like Shell.
Road network expansion
We are always keen to explore opportunities, but in general we are not growing at the pace with which we have grown so far. We have 103 retail sites in Bulgaria, 82 are Shell owned sites, the rest are dealer operated franchises under the Shell brand. They use our brand and apply all the Shell standards. There is no difference for our customers. Franchisers must comply with certain conditions, pass a due diligence process, have the competences and capabilities to do the job and have the right location and asset, and be prepared to cooperate with Shell and comply with all the high requirements – including safety of operations.