Shell began its downstream marketing operations in Oman in 1958 when the Shell Company of South Eastern Arabia - the forerunner of Shell Markets (Middle East) Limited – obtained trading rights from the Late Sultan Said bin Taimur. The fuel was initially imported on trading dhows, the drums were tied with a rope and floated ashore and then hand-rolled inland. All trading was carried out through a local agent.
When in 1958 Shell obtained a contract from PDO to supply fuel it was decided to build a depot at Saih al Mailah Bay (now known as Mina al Fahal). The department had two bulk tanks for motor gasoline and Gasol, a two paint bulk filling gantry, a go-down for lubricants, a drum filling gantry, a small depot office and a house.
The depot was commissioned and the first bulk cargo was discharged from the “Dilmun” through a submarine pipeline to the beach. When the tanks were eventually full, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held to mark the occasion on 12th December 1958.
In 1962, Shell started selling aviation fuels, supplied in four-gallon tins at the old airport of Bait al Falaj. Later, with the opening of Seeb International Airport, Shell would go on to become the major supplier of aviation fuels, fuelling services and lubricants at all airports in Oman.
Towards the end of Shell’s first decade in Oman, the sales in Oman reached 184,000 barrels and represented 15% of the total business of Shell Markets (Middle East) Ltd. which was established in 1966 with its General Manager based in Doha (it would not be until 1982 that Oman would have its first resident General Manager).