The countries in which SHV distributes LPG bottled gas, c. 2000.

LPG worldwide

After a decade of diversification, SHV refocuses on its energy activities from the 1980s onwards. Its LPG business embarks on a program of international expansion by taking over local gas companies already part-owned by the company. In doing so, SHV once again builds a strong energy distribution network reaching from the Netherlands to Pakistan. This strength forms a base from which SHV goes on to explore more sustainable energy sources in the new millennium.

From diversification to focus

In the 1970s, SHV followed a strategy of diversification, building a presence in sectors as varied as consumer goods, technical services, and building. At the turn of the new decade, however, the world is changing: a global crisis in both the shipping and oil industries hit SHV especially hard. Significant losses in its tanker fleet force the company to revaluate its strategy. By shifting back to the energy sector, SHV goes back to its roots – only this time the focus is on LPG rather than coal.

In fact, would that old-fashioned, saturated [LPG] market with a somewhat dull ambiance not provide some opportunities?
Paul Fentener van Vlissingen, director of SHV on the LPG market

LPG is mostly a side product from natural gas and oil production, with the gas liquefied in tanks or bottles. In fact, SHV has been trading in bottled LPG gas on a modest scale since the 1950s. But now, in 1981, the company sets a new goal: to become Europe’s largest distributor of LPG. To generate the finances required, SHV begins selling off its non-energy subsidiaries with the exception of Makro.

Calpam tankers at Zutphen, the Netherlands, probably in the 1970s.
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