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Sinopec, the second China firm to enter fuel retail market here, is set to open its first station this quarter in Yishun.

10 Oct 2018 | Local News : Singapore


Sinopec, the second Chinese company to enter the multibillion-dollar fuel retail market here, is set to open its first station this quarter. The Yishun Avenue 1 kiosk, flashing its Easy Joy corporate tag and flag-flying Sino Power petrol brand, is near completion.

Sinopec is said to be sourcing its fuels from Shell, with which it has a close working relationship
Sinopec secured the 1,689m2 empty plot in Yishun for $42.5 million in February last year. It has since secured a second plot in Bukit Timah Road, reportedly for around $45 million.

The site was previously occupied by Singapore Petroleum Co - owned by fellow state-owned player, PetroChina. Sinopec's maiden station, which wears a red livery, has a car wash and a convenience store. The company remained unreachable for comment.

Sinopec is said to be sourcing its fuels from Shell, with which it has a close working relationship in China. In 2004, the pair inked a deal to open 500 refuelling stations in China. The Anglo-Dutch giant has meanwhile continued to dismiss talk that it will sell or lease some of its kiosks in Singapore to Sinopec. In response to queries from The Straits Times, a Shell Singapore spokesman said, "Shell Singapore does not comment on rumours. We are committed to invest and grow our retail business in Singapore and Singapore remains a strategic country for Shell."

Shell's network of stations here has shrunk by more than 20% in the last 15 years to 57 today - in line with an industry-wide reduction which saw the number of refuelling stations falling from a peak of over 220 to around 170.

Speculation that Shell might cede some stations to Sinopec is fuelled by the look of its convenience stores. Since ending its 11-year old partnership with retail operator 7-Eleven last year, Shell has reverted to its own Shell Select store brand. But after more than a year, stores at some stations remain in what seems like a transitional phase, with unlit signages and bare fluorescent in-store lighting.

One industry source said, "According to a contractor, these are the stations which will be sold to Sinopec." Short of an outright denial, Shell repeated its 'do not comment on rumours' statement. "In June 2017, we reintroduced the Shell Select brand in Singapore and we continue to improve our site facilities and service offerings at our retail stations," its spokesman said. In the most recent tender for a refuelling station site in Bukit Batok, Shell submitted a bid of $76 million, trailing Chevron's $77.3 million, and SPC's record winning bid of $92.7 million.
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