In the not-too-distant future, drivers will pull up to Aramco service stations in the Kingdom, and the experience will be a new one. The fuel pumps will be modern and self-serve, if the driver so chooses, with the option of paying with a credit or debit card. A convenience store and a well-recognized restaurant will provide plenty of food options.
Like many changes in the Kingdom in line with Saudi Vision 2030, the arrival of Aramco branded gas stations is likely to arrive at an accelerated pace, and it will have a profound effect of raising expectations for the customers’ way of buying fuel for both residents and visitors alike. With the creation of RetailCo, a wholly owned subsidiary established to cater to fuel retailing, “Saudi Aramco will be creating a sustainable and profitable business model for integrating across the hydrocarbon value chain,” said Ahmed A. Al-Subaey, vice president of Marketing, Sales, and Supply Planning and chairman of the board of RetailCo. “RetailCo will grow its operations in both the automotive and aviation fuel segments, offering customers enhanced services and quality products while implementing a sustainable and profitable business model that delivers a new and stable source of revenue for Saudi Aramco.
A ‘shift in paradigm’
Saudi Aramco has been in the global fuel retail business for decades through global partnerships with major international oil companies (IOC) around the world. Motiva in the United States, Showa-Shell in Japan, S-Oil in South Korea, and FREP and SSPC in China are examples of the Saudi Aramco presence in the fuel retail arena with more than 11,000 operating stations globally. This global experience placed the company in a position to confidently enter the Saudi market and bring the best practices from around the world. And by offering a superior customer experience, quality fuels, and convenience services on a world-class quality level, RetailCo will raise standards and provide an enhanced customer experience to all sectors of society.
“One of the key and critical factors for success for RetailCo will be its focus on customers and not only meeting expectations, but raising expectations for what customers expect at a fuel station in the Kingdom,” said Mohammed H. Al-Gahtani, RetailCo’s CEO.
“We are pursuing a total shift in paradigm in the gas station perception among the public, from what people think of gas stations now as a divergence from a main route to get convenience service to a destination of services on major highways, to work, or simply on the way back home,” Al-Gahtani said. “This focus on quality and customer service is what we can add to the retail business in our country, and it is the level of service that not only Saudi Aramco is pursuing, but also the Kingdom through the Saudi Vision 2030 Quality of Life Program.”