Rapid network expansion and upstream muscle are the unstoppable forces pushing Lukoil to the fore of fuel retailing in central and eastern Europe (CEE). The firm is the key mover in the region, expanding its site presence by a remarkable 180% over the past three years. But selling petrol is not simply a numbers game: Lukoil is also successfully incorporating a strong shop proposition.
PKN Orlen has begun outlining its retail intentions for the Baltic region as it moves closer to the official acquisition of Lithuanian refinery Mazeikiu Nafta. While this deal gives PKN access to much-needed upstream assets, its lack of retail presence means it will have a lot of work do to if it intends to grow organically in markets where the likes of Lukoil and Statoil are firmly established.
Russian fuel retailer Lukoil has announced an eight-year plan to increase its focus on shop sales at its service stations, while its Baltic subsidiary has launched a new loyalty program. Both events serve to demonstrate Lukoil's new customer-centric aspirations, and suggest that we may see these aspirations being fulfilled in a rather innovative way.
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