Kazakh fuel station chain scraps Shell/Gulf franchise plans

PetroRetail, operator of Kazakhstan’s biggest fuel station network, has scrapped plans to switch to either Shell or a Gulf brand and will instead revive its own Qazaq Oil brand, sources familiar with the plans told Reuters.

PetroRetail in a statement to Reuters confirmed plans to use its own brand but declined to disclose details.

The company, which purchased hundreds of gas stations from state energy firm KazMunayGaz in 2018, has moved to cut costs, including spending on brands, in the wake of a sharp drop in fuel demand due to the pandemic, market players say.

According to two sources, PetroRetail, owned by several Kazakh businessmen, was previously in talks with Shell regarding a potential franchise agreement. One source said it has held similar discussions with Gulf Oil.