Global oil and gas giant Shell says it is actively looking for the “right opportunities” to get into Australian electric vehicle charging and hydrogen production but has yet to lock down the right initiatives.
In a media briefing on Thursday, Shell Australia chair Tony Nunan said that Shell was continuing to search for the right opportunities locally to expand its offering into electric vehicle charging services.
“We will continue to scan opportunities, and where we see an opportunity in a market, and we think that we’re able to deliver for our customers and make a return for our shareholders in doing so, we’ll go after it,” Nunan said.
“EVs is clearly going to be a growth area. And if we believe that it’s the right match for us, we will look hard at it. If not, we will continue to focus on other parts of our portfolio. But, I think generally seeing us get into it [globally] is a signal that we see it as a growing segment elsewhere in the world, and we’ll watch it very closely here in Australia.”
Shell has made major plays into the Australian electricity market, with the acquisition of commercial and industrial retailer ERM Power, which has since been renamed Shell Energy and has made a significant push into the large-scale solar market. The acquisition was part of a global commitment by Shell to invest $2 billion a year in its New Energies business.
Globally, Shell has made a significant investment in charging infrastructure and recently acquired the UK’s largest charging network provider.
The company, which is a household name as a retailer of petrol, has set itself a target to operate half a million electric vehicle charging stations over the next four years, as part of a major pivot by the oil and gas company into the selling of electricity, diversifying its business as the world works to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels.
Shell no longer directly operates re-fuelling stations in Australia but has licenced its brand to Viva Energy which in turn operates around 1,200 refuelling stations. Viva has started trialling the provision of ultra-fast charging stations at Shell branded petrol stations, recently deploying its second ultra-fast charger in Tasmania.
Nunan added that Shell Australia was also examining local opportunities to invest in hydrogen production, noting that it was a sector that Shell has a long history with, noting that Australia had a strong natural advantage in hydrogen production and its potential for use across multiple industries.
“We’ve been in hydrogen for decades, when I say been, this isn’t desktop studies, we’ve we’ve been selling hydrogen to our customers for decades,” Nunan said.
“Globally, we see that that it’s it’s actually an area that, in our view, plays to our strengths as a company.”
“For us, as a company, we look at opportunities across Australia. We’ve got a very large presence in the east, and the west coast of Australia, which is unique in our industry and I think it also uniquely places us in hydrogen.”
“But it’s not a certainty. These things have got to stack up. They are technically complex, and they require significant amounts of capital. And so we will continue to scan it. We will take the time that’s necessary to make the best possible decisions on this. And I think as a country, we’ve got to continue to position ourselves well,” Nunan added.