Will Shell exit the petrol retail business? That is the speculation circulating in business circles amid talks that the oil and gas giant plans to sell its 900 petrol stations in Australia as well as the Geelong refinery.
The rumours named a consortium, allegedly led by a large investment bank for $3 billion, as a potential buyer.
Besides Shell, BP is said to be likewise planning a similar move for its 225 company-owned stations and its refineries in Queensland and Western Australia.
The two oil and gas giants are reportedly shifting their focus on exploration and production.
Royal Dutch Shell, the mother company of Shell Australia, is going ahead with drilling plans for gas in the Great South Basin offshore in New Zealand. The venture is in partnership with OMV of Austria and Mitsui of Japan.
Shell New Zealand, in a statement quoted by Invezz.com, confirmed the company's drilling activity in New Zealand, but Chairman Rob Jager is confident what they would find is natural gas, not oil.
However, Shell Australia and BP did not comment on the speculations. If Shell would divest itself of the petrol stations, the move would affect retail giant Coles which leases 630 such stations, running them under a Shell-Coles Express banner.
Shell has actually been searching for a buyer for the Geelong refinery since April 2013.