Alarming crude oil price plunge keeping Shell in Greek market

Until last autumn, multinational Shell, which holds a 49 percent stake in the EPA gas supply company covering the wider Athens area, was seriously contemplating abandoning the Greek market. The company’s thoughts of leaving Greece were mostly linked to problems caused by the premature end of the EPA Athens gas supply company’s monopoly as a result of bailout-related gas market reforms intended to generate competition in the market. The country’s ongoing deep recession for a sixth successive year was less of a concern for Shell.

However, intensified woes generated by the further plunge in crude oil prices over the past couple of months, down to levels of less than 30 dollars per barrel, a development that has greatly reduced Shell’s international revenue potential, has forced the multinational to rethink and maintain all its money-making ventures worldwide, even in smaller marginal markets, such as Greece, offering moderate earnings for the corporate giant.

According to energypress sources, Shell has now decided to remain in Greece. The bailout deal’s gas reforms, which has divided distribution and trading activities to help open up the market is believed to be the key reason behind Shell’s decision to carry on here. Data has showed that EPA Athens earns 80 percent of its revenues from distribution activities and just 20 percent from trade. The distribution-related earnings are generated through the collection of distribution fees.

Shell anticipates it will continue collecting these distribution fees following the gas market’s break-up, while it could lose a fraction of its earnings generated by trading activity.

Pundits have pointed out that even an oil major the size of Shell will not turn its back to a steady supply of guaranteed earnings, even if small, amid such global uncertainty.

However, it is believed Shell would accept a good offer to sell its 49 percent share in EPA Athens, which is unlikely to occur for the time being. DEPA, the Public Gas Corporation, holds a majority 51 percent stake in the EPA Athens venture.