Shell starts E20 pump sales
After several years of consideration, Shell Co of Thailand eventually decided to jump into the gasohol E20 fray, as it foresees a steady rise in local demand.
Shell officially began selling the fuel on Friday at 32 petrol stations in Greater Bangkok.
It plans to expand to 100 pumps nationwide by year-end.
Grant McGregor, the general manager for retail sales and operations, said E20 expansion next year depends upon the market response.
Shell has 550 pumps nationwide, some of which stopped offering regular petrol in January. It is these nozzles that will be used for other products including E20.
"We expect continued growth in the E20 market, as this segment's sales grew 30% in the first quarter," said Mr McGregor.
The Energy Business Department reported March demand for gasohol E20 was 2.32 million litres a day, up by 213% year-on-year and 11% month-on-month.
The number of E20-compatible vehicles in Thailand has surpassed 2 million units this year thanks in part to the government's first-time car buyer scheme and is expected to reach 3 million next year, the report said.
Mr McGregor said Shell is the third oil retailer to launch E20 in Thailand, following state-owned PTT and Bangchak Petroleum Plc.
"Our E20 is designed to protect the engine against corrosion by using a proprietary inhibitor," he said.
Shell is also considering entering the E85 market, as it requires a lot of work in blending more ethanol content in the petrol, said Mr McGregor.
"We plan to have a communication strategy with our customers to ensure awareness and confidence in our products," he said.
In March, Esso (Thailand) said it is awaiting approval from its parent company to launch E20 in the second quarter.