Shell targets growth in gas market

Shell, the energy company, yesterday reiterated its plans to grow gas volumes and said that it was poised to enter the residential market for gas and power.

The company, in a presentation to investors, announced two technology joint ventures. Shell also revealed that it was close to expanding its InterGen joint venture in the US with Bechtel, the engineering company, which develops machinery for the power industry.

Phil Watts, chief executive of Shell's gas and power business, said: "Gas is the key growth market - and a market in which Shell is uniquely well positioned with the largest resource base of any private company."

The group said that it plans to grow gas volumes by about 8 per cent a year over the next five years. Currently, some 40 per cent of Shell's turnover comes from gas, and the rest from oil-related business.

Shell said that is looking at opportunities to market and power to residential customers in the US and Australia. It also said that it had a potential domestic venture in one unnamed European country.

Shell announced it would combine its technology for monitoring oil and gas wells with that of Halliburton, a US company, in a 50-50 joint venture that would enable real-time downhole readings.

It also said it had established Shell Technology Investments Partnership, a joint venture with Beacon Group, a private equity firm.

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