Shell is placing a big bet on petrol stations and convenience stores in China, India and Mexico as it looks to shore up profits during the electric car revolution.
By 2025, the oil and gas giant plans to grow its global network of roadside stations by nearly a quarter to 55,000, targeting 40 million daily customers, Shell said in a statement this week.
It will add another 5,000 convenience stores selling coffee and snacks, with growth focused on rapidly growing economies in emerging markets.
Shell, as well as rivals such as BP, sees retail as a way to secure demand for the fuels it refines, as consumption could peak as early as by the end of the next decade due to the growth in electric vehicles.
Already in 2017, marketing accounted for around a quarter of Shell's earnings. "We plan to lead through the energy transition," Shell head of downstream John Abbott said.
Already one of the world's biggest retailers with a well known brand, Shell expects earning from its marketing and commercial businesses to grow annually by 7 percent into 2025, when it will deliver $4 billion in earnings.
Around half of the new petrol stations will be built in fast growing economies, mostly in China, India, Indonesia, Russia and Mexico, where Shell's market share is smaller compared to local companies, Istvan Kapitany, Shell's head of retail said.
"These markets will produce half of the oil (demand) growth by 2025," Kapitany said.
The company is also rolling out a number of experimental initiatives to introduce electric battery chargers and hydrogen chargers to its traditional petrol stations, hoping to capture some of the growth in the non-combustion engines
Shell is also bracing for a world of "lower for longer" oil prices due to rising oil supplies, particularly from the United States. Shell and others cut tens of thousands of jobs, lowered spending and brought in new technology to simplify field designs and operations.