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Shell lays foundation stone for innovation hub in Bangalore

Special Correspondent
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Whitefield facility to be relocated to the new campus

Matthias Bichsel, Project and Technology Director, Royal Dutch Shell, delivering a speech during the foundation stone-laying ceremony forthe company’s new technology centre in Bangalore on Thursday.— Photo: K. GOPINATHAN
Matthias Bichsel, Project and Technology Director, Royal Dutch Shell, delivering a speech during the foundation stone-laying ceremony forthe company’s new technology centre in Bangalore on Thursday.— Photo: K. GOPINATHAN

Multinational petroleum major Royal Dutch Shell has announced the laying of the foundation stone for its global technology and innovation hub in Devanahalli near Bangalore on Thursday. The facility, which will be the third such hub (the other two being at Houston and Amsterdam), is expected to commence operations in 2015.

Matthias Bichsel, Director, Projects and Technology at the parent company, said that the existing facility at Whitefield would be relocated to the new campus when it is ready. There are about 900 people working at the facility. Shell employs about 3,000 people in India.

Yasmine Hilton, chairperson of the Shell group companies in India, said that Bangalore was a “logical” choice for the new facility because it had “an abundant supply of world-class talent”. The proximity to research institutions was an additional advantage, Ms. Hilton said.

Ambassador of The Netherlands to India Alphonsus Stoelinga said that his country was supporting research by Indian students working in the field of computational sciences, energy and chemistry.

Dr. Bichsel said that the widening deficit in energy supplies had spurred Shell to develop “game-changing technologies”. Shell had an annual budget of $ 1.5 billion for research and development, he said. Researchers at the Bangalore facility had made significant contributions to Shell’s development of catalysts, lubricants and “future fuels”, he added.

He said that research at the facility at Devenahalli would cover both upstream and downstream activities in the petroleum sector. “We can run large-scale pilot plants at this location,” he added.

Minister for Large and Medium Industries Murugesh R. Nirani said that the project, which is being established on 40 acres of land, was first cleared by the State government in the run-up to the first Global Investors Meet in 2010.

He said that the government had invested about Rs. 700 crore on infrastructure in the Devanahalli area.

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