The Rio Tinto Award for Long-term Commitment
Winner: Shell Pakistan Ltd.
Shell Pakistan, until 1993, a collaboration between Shell and Burmah Oil, has just celebrated its centenary. It traces its history back to 1899 when paraffin, probably for oil lamps, was first imported from Azerbajjan in the Caucasus.
It remains a major supplier of paraffin (kerosene), an important fuel for poorer Pakistanis. But it also supplies aviation fuel through computer-controlled systems at Karachi and Islamabad airports.
Shell is Pakistan's second biggest oil company (after Pakistan State Oil) and its biggest supplier of petrol, sold at 1,200 mainly dealer-owned filling stations throughout the country. These employ 15,000 people directly. A further 10,000 are engaged in supply, manufacturing, cartage and other work.
Most of the pump attendants are illiterate. Shell sends mobile training units round the filling stations, teaching the staff there to read and write and to cope with maths, English and Urdu, the national language. Shell also works with tanker drivers teaching them how to avoid accidents. It provides rest areas where they can break their journeys. Despite the aggressive driving common in Pakistan, no Shell driver has been hurt in a road accident in the last three years. Since 1995 Shell has set up 'Select' stores at 61 filling stations, selling a wide range of goods 24 hours a day.
Besides investing in oil exploration, refining and distribution and the upgrading of filling stations, Shell prides itself on investing in Pakistani society. Poor drinking water means that many Pakistanis suffer from kidney disease. Shell has provided much of the money for The Kidney Centre, a fully equipped, 100-bed hospital in Karachi. The centre provides treatment free for people who cannot afford it, as many as 14,000 a year. Shell also helps the Layton Rahmatulla Benevolent Trust which seeks to prevent and cure eye diseases. It has nine hospitals throughout Pakistan and has treated five million people free of charge.
Working with the British Deputy High Commission in Karachi, Shell has supported a resource centre for children's education in human rights. A series of children's television programmes carrying civic and human rights messages is being made. Also with the High Commission Shell has supported workshops and publications organized by War Against Rape, a group of men and women committed to fighting gender-based oppression and violence. Shell has helped SOS Villages provide homes for needy children and it has sponsored disabled athletes in the Special Olympics.
In Karachi, Shell has backed preservation of the beautiful Mohatta Palace. Near its head office, it has refurbished a park which was destroyed in the building of a bridge.
Shell Pakistan has a turnover of £500million a year, of which it pays nearly £300million in duties, taxes and levies. This means that it contributes about a twelfth of all the tax paid in Pakistan. Shell owns 51 per cent of the company's shares, the rest being held locally. Over 4,000 people own 500 ten-rupee (10p) shares or fewer. Despite tight control of petrol prices in Pakistan, they reaped a dividend for the past year of 125 per cent.
Shell Pakistan Ltd Shell House, 6 Ch Khaliquzzaman Road
Karachi, 75330 Pakistan
Tel: (92-21) 5689525 Fax: (92-21) 5684551