Aramco and TotalEnergies launch joint service station retail network
Company looks to create valuable jobs, promote brand while enhancing the Kingdom’s retail offering.
In what has been described as a “milestone” by Aramco president and CEO Amin Nasser, Aramco and TotalEnergies have launched the first two service stations of a joint retail network in the Kingdom’s cities of Riyadh and Saihat.
Stations in the network will operate under the Aramco or TotalEnergies brands, providing motorists with quality fuels and premium retail services.
Aramco signed off on the 50/50 venture with TotalEnergies in 2019.
Quality employment opportunities
“With our long-standing partner TotalEnergies, we are creating a premium network that will enhance the experience of Saudi Arabia’s motorists and travelers,” Nasser said. “As the Kingdom scales up tourism projects, we can expect domestic travel to increase, along with demand for hospitality and travel services. With our entry into retail, we plan to deliver the best experience possible for customers, while creating opportunities for Saudis to pursue careers in retail and marketing.”
At the Riyadh inauguration, Nasser toured the state-of-the-art new station with Patrick Pouyanné, chairman and CEO of TotalEnergies; Aramco’s vice president of Fuels and Lubricants, Yasser M. Mufti; and members of the company’s Retail Strategy, Public Affairs, and management.
The opening of the first stations marks an important milestone as we continue to expand our presence in the Kingdom’s downstream value chain.
— Amin Nasser
The group met with the two new station managers, who happen to be the first females to cover such a position in Saudi Arabia.
Nasser was told that a team of 33 employees working over two shift patterns would deliver a fresh and best-in-class service to customers.
The intention of the two partners is to promote attractive employment opportunities for young Saudis who can be expected to grow through the ranks of the organization over the years to come.
The new employees have undergone months of training in preparation for the official launch of the stations.
“We plan to provide our new Saudi customers with more affordable, clean, reliable, and accessible energy,” said Pouyanné. “The opening of these two first initial stations marks another step forward in reaffirming our long-standing partnership with Aramco, following our joint investments in SATORP since 2008.”
Completing the value chain
The launch of the new branded retail network completes the circle of Aramco’s entire value chain, according to Mufti.
Aramco already has a significant presence in the retail sector, with 17,000 stations globally, but the new venture with TotalEnergies is the first time for Aramco’s brand to be seen in stations in the Kingdom.
“I think that the context of this is that retail is one of the fastest growing segments in the oil supply chain. The growth is faster than that of refining,” Mufti said.
“There are also fantastic opportunities to upgrade the offering in what we call the non-fuels business,” he added. “Our vision is to use this as a starting point to expand across the Kingdom to all of the major cities, and to strive to deliver a differentiated customer offering within all of our stations.”
Importantly, Mufti said, the new venture would open the doors for meaningful employment for young Saudis over a range of disciplines.
“If the environment is professional and appealing, and if prospective employees see this as a career opportunity with meaningful work, then we believe that this sector can employ and attract young Saudi talent,” he noted. “This talent would, and could, start in retail operations, which is the most visible part, but could continue to progress to regional and even Kingdom-level oversight and the running of our operations.”
Employees, Mufti added, can develop a career and take on more senior roles such as network development, or roles on the logistics track.
There are also the oversight positions of the non-fuels business, commercial transactions to secure retail tenants, and senior management and executive roles within the new venture.
“We think that this would be an attractive proposition for people, and we have seen that already. Prior to launch, we have been able to attract young Saudis, and we are extremely proud that the stations that we are launching will be manned by, not just Saudi males, but Saudi women,” Mufti noted.
“Developing the company’s retail brand from concept to fruition was a remarkable journey that we are all proud of today,” said Nader D. Al Douhan, manager of Retail Strategy and Development.
“I believe the Aramco retail brand we see today is a testament of the seamless collaboration and effective partnership with our colleagues in the Corporate Communication Department,” said Al Douhan, adding that it was critical to work as one team in the brand development process to ensure that we develop a retail brand that is separate by business nature, but still connected to the company’s brand and its core values.
Al Douhan noted that the opening of the first Aramco service station marks the company’s first entry into the business of consumer space.
“For that, the onus was on the team to work together to devise a differentiated customer offering to be designed around three brand pillars: convenience, energizing, and welcoming,” he said. “From the digital touchpoints to the human elements, to our modern physical attributes — what the customers see and interact with — was planned out carefully to compete with the latest trends in the retail space while placing considerable focus on our core values of safety and environment protection.
“Our differentiated customer offering includes the Fai convenience store, the carwash, the Orizon Care oil change service, and multiple retail outlets, to provide a distinguished customer journey and experience that demonstrates the values and quality standards of Aramco. This is the first launch of the Aramco retail brand, and we are very proud to launch it in the Kingdom,” he said.
Al Douhan further commented on the job opportunities in retail, saying, “We capitalized on this golden opportunity and our stations’ operating model to avail more jobs to the Saudi employment sector within the retail forecourt through various disciplines, from fuel operations, sales, network development, marketing, IT, logistics, and management.”