Despite one of the toughest operating environments since the Great Depression, Shell Lubricants trumped a tumultuous 2009, growing its global market share to 13.4% from 12.7% in 2008. It also widened its lead over its nearest competitor to 2.5%, up from 1.6% the year before. These figures are especially significant, given that 2009 worldwide lubricant demand declined 8.4% over 2008 to 35 million tonnes.
“Kline’s research shows that despite very challenging market conditions, Shell has continued to outperform the lubricants market as a whole and maintain our global leadership position,” said Chong-Meng Tan, Executive Vice President for Shell B2B and Shell Lubricants. “I believe this is the result of a consistent strategy that focuses squarely on customers, as well as leading technol ogies delivering superior products and services that add value for clients.”
According to Kline, the impact of the global recession had been less severe in the Asia-Pacific region, which continued to show the most robust volume growth. Shell achieved strong growth in China to garner an 11% market share, extending its lead as the top international supplier; in growth markets like Indonesia, Shell is a significant player among international oil companies. Kline also noted that the USA – the largest lubricants consuming market – was among those that were most impacted by the economic downturn. Nevertheless, Shell continued to maintain its leadership position with an 11.6% share.
On the industry’s competitive landscape Kline indicated that technological expertise has been, and will increasingly become, an important differentiator for lubricants suppliers. This is a key strength for Shell, whose technological leadership includes more than 70 years of inn ovation through investing in research and development (R&D),! and rec ruiting world-class scientists to create some of the most advanced lubricant products available. Most recently, Shell broke ground for the construction of a technical services centre in Zhuhai, China. When operations start in 2011, the centre will provide comprehensive lubricating solutions to Chinese customers in the automobile, shipping and power industries. Shell also partners with leading original equipment manufacturers, customers and institutions in projects that enable testing of its products in some of the most demanding conditions.
Shell’s focus on customers has won the confidence of many who are market leaders in their sectors. Earlier this year, Shell and Hyundai Motor Company announced the renewal of their global lubricants agreement, making Shell the preferred lubricants supplier for a further five years. International mining companies such as Anglo American have also extended their contracts with Shell over the last 12 months.