Global energy giant Shell is strategically expanding its presence in India, according to CEO Wael Sawan. In an exclusive interview with CNBC-TV18, Sawan described India as one of the "beating hearts" of the company and its largest hub for talent and innovation.

Sawan revealed that Shell has invested $5 billion in the country and indicated that the company is planning a “methodical” expansion of its operations in India. He said, “We continue to be methodical in our growth in India, we continue to focus on the key hubs where we see that we have the advantage to be able to win.”

While refraining from speculating on the potential size of Shell’s electric vehicle (EV) charging business, Sawan disclosed that the company has a significant presence in India with 350 retail sites. He stated, “Suffice it to say that those 350 sites, and potentially other partnering opportunities, create that foundation that allows us to grow the EV charging business.”

A key focus of this expansion is the EV charging infrastructure. Sawan stated, “So indeed, we are the second largest EV charging player in the world after Tesla. And we’re looking at it from a global perspective.” He added that Shell sees a big opportunity to leverage its existing footprint in India in this area.

The company’s strategy is to leverage its retail sites, offering customers convenience and service, as its primary asset. Shell is also exploring partnerships with other players in India and beyond to expand its network.

Sawan disclosed that the company is witnessing substantial momentum in the EV sector in China, Europe, and the USA. Despite concerns about a slowdown in EV adoption, Sawan is not worried and believes that the costs of EVs are decreasing, and penetration will take time. He stated, “EV costs are coming down, (but) it’s going to take time for the penetration to happen. I mean, it’s taken decades to be able to get the current carpool that we have. And it’ll just take time to be able to get the EV penetration.”

As appeared on CNBC TV 18