BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Brunei Shell Marketing (BSM) has come a long way since it began its operations as Shell Marketing Company of Borneo Ltd in 1959.

In 1974, the company was known as Shell Marketing Company of Brunei Ltd until 1977 when Brunei Shell Marketing Company Ltd was formed as a joint-venture between the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di Pertuan Of Brunei Darussalam and Shell Overseas Holdings Limited.

Sixty years on, the BSM name is synonymous with quality and reliability.

BSM is best known for its fuel products. However, it has other products in its portfolio including lubricants; liquefied petroleum gas; Jet A-1 fuel for aviation and ship-to-ship bunkering and bitumen.

BSM currently employs 90 staff, of which 98 percent are Bruneians in technical and non-technical positions. 

An archive photo of an old Shell station. Photo: Courtesy of BSM

Delivering quality customer service

Managing Director Muhammad Norshafiee Dato Paduka Hj Abd Jalil summed up BSM’s 60-year milestones and achievements as having excellent safety performance; strong brand; trust and relationship with the community and partners.

“Everyone who grew up in Brunei is familiar with BSM. It is part of the fabric of Brunei’s society. Our relationship with the community is our unique selling point and I think that is what is special about BSM,” he said. 

BSM Managing Director Muhammad Norshafiee Dato Paduka Hj Abd Jalil in an interview with The Scoop. Photo: Yusri Adanan/The Scoop

Shell retail stations also underwent a visual identity makeover to mark its 60th anniversary.

BSM has always been striving to be customer-centric, focusing on the best possible way of delivering products to customers.

From its first Shell retail station SM Teck Guan at Kg Sultan Lama in the 1950s, BSM has grown to 36 retail stations that cater to the needs of motorists in the country. 

Despite the company’s mature age and reputation, the managing director said there is still scope for the company to innovate and offer something new to its customers, specifically in utilising data analytics to improve its branding and marketing to cater to its new demographic of digital-first customers.

BSM Aviation team confirming the completion of refuelling to aircraft with a stakeholder. Photo: Courtesy of BSM

Investing in digitalisation

In view of changing marketing trends and distribution of products, BSM is repositioning itself to meet the needs of an increasing number of customers who prefer the convenience of doing things on their mobile phones. 

Muhammad Norshafiee said BSM is now all about improving customer experience, not just at filling stations but also its overall product portfolio.

He said enhancing customer experience can be done by guiding and working together with business partners in various sectors to not only deliver Shell’s quality products, but also provide professional services.

“Digitalisation cuts across BSM’s internal processes to improve efficiency and effectiveness in our operations which you don’t really see outside of BSM.”

BSM has invested in technology and innovation in its operations, which include implementing safety features for its drivers and tankers.

“On the customer side, we are leveraging on mobile and the new demographic of customers who expect digital-first.

“The cashless payment at Roxana filling station in Seria is just the beginning. At the end of the day, it’s all about improving the customers’ experience,” he added.

Photo courtesy of BSM

Lending support to local communities

The managing director said support for the local communities is another BSM achievement.

“A large proportion of our retail stations are managed by cooperatives. Those cooperatives give employment opportunities to the local communities and provide income for the cooperative members. Sometimes people forget that.

“The other stations are also run by local SMEs so it is a huge support for local communities,” he added.

Thirteen Shell stations are managed by cooperatives, which employs about 280 people.

To deliver its commitment in commercial operations, the managing director said BSM will continue its core focus of ensuring the security of supply.

“Making sure that we do everything in a responsible and safe manner will remain, we will not deviate from those two things.”