Shell's Prasad wants to 'grow India business'

Vol 19, PW 18 (19 May 16) People & Policy

Nitin Prasad must surely count as the youngest Shell country manager seen in India.

At 39 he's younger than Yasmine Hilton who he replaces as Shell's country chief on October 1 and younger certainly than Vikram Singh Mehta her venerable predecessor. A self-confessed jogger who runs to de-stress, scholarly-looking Prasad will be running the treadmill faster than usual as he grapples with the bureaucratic nightmare of absorbing the India operations of BG which Shell bought in February.

Soon he'll be enjoying the company of battle-hardened BG managers about to be turfed out of their central Delhi office after a surprise visit by Shell apparatchiks in mid-April deemed it should close. More seriously he'll have to decide whether upstream-shy Shell will retain or offload the Panna and Tapti oilfields where BG holds 30% in a fractious alliance with ONGC and Reliance permanently at war with each other and the oil ministry.

As master of Shell's lubricants business in India it's not clear what Prasad's view is on the stake BG retains in Mumbai-based gas retailer Mahanagar Gas after its IPO. Will he keep it, will he sell? Closer to home Prasad will need a cunning strategy to keep the Hazira LNG terminal safe from the moth balls once Reliance stops buying R-LNG and convince the world Shell's proposed FSRU off Kakinada is not just another number on a list of FSRU fairy tales planned for the Indian coastline.

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