Shell Marine Headed Upriver


Shell Marine Products has announced plans to increase its presence in the United States, primarily by venturing inland.

Officials declined to identify particular regions of the inland marine market that may be targeted, saying details of the strategy have yet to take shape. The plans for lubricants are part of a broader initiative, announced this month, for Shell Marine to take over the fuels operations previously managed by Equiva Trading and to expand the combined fuels and lubricants business.

Our lubricants business has been based primarily in ports, most prominently in the Gulf [of Mexico], Marketing Controller Graham Wylie told Lube Report. The inland market is a sizable market that we believe has been somewhat underserved.

Wylie, who is based at Shell Marines offices in the United Kingdom, said fuels customers will have better access to lubricants and related services due to the takeover of the Equiva operations. Equiva is a fuels trading business, formerly a joint venture between Shell and Texaco. Texaco sold its interest to Shell when Texaco merged with Chevron. Shell Marine has been primarily a lubricants business.

Shell Marine has its strongest presence in United States at the ports of Houston, Port Arthur, Texas, and New Orleans. While stating that details of the lubricants business expansion have yet to be worked out, Wylie said it may begin by extending up waterways that empty into the Gulf.

The inland marine market consists of river craft and some coastal vessels that travel on major inland waterways. It differs from the international segment in that vessels are smaller and have different types of engines.

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