Shell enters the domestic energy market

Gas Dispute Threat To UK Power Supplies

First Utility, which serves around 825,000 homes in the United Kingdom, signed a licensing agreement with Shell in 2015 that allowed it to operate in the German household energy sector under Shell's brand.

Shell Energy Europe, the group's European focussed gas and power marketing and trading business, would continue to supply wholesale gas and electricity to energy retailers in continental Europe, as well as in the UK.

First Utility, which has become the largest challenger to the Big Six energy providers, will operate as a stand lone entity in Shell's New Energies division.

However, First Utility - which serves around 825,000 customers in the UK - is seen as one of the "Big Eight" UK power suppliers, and Shell said it wanted to "enter a new part" of the changing energy market as it transitions towards low carbon sources.

The deal is subject to regulatory and other approvals and is expected to complete in early 2018.

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The Big Six energy suppliers are also being challenged by increase competition from smaller providers and the deal is likely to pile further pressure on them.

Shell's executive vice president of new energies, Mark Gainsborough, said the company's move into Britain's household energy market would improve choice for customers.

"Our strategy in new energies is to build a stronger position in the power business", Mr. Gainsborough said.

Europe's biggest oil and gas company said the acquisition of First Utility, which supplies gas and electricity to 825,000 households in the United Kingdom, formed part of a strategic push into the power supply and services business.

Shell shares were up 27.50 pence, or 1.1%, at 2438 pence at 1453 GMT.

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