The Voice spoke with Marieke Schoningh, COO and Management Board Member, SHV Energy, to hear her thoughts and goals for SHV Energy.
SHV Energy is a family owned business, part of the SHV Group that was founded in 1896. In the latter half of the 20th century, SHV Energy started its investment in LPG, and since then is the global market leader in LPG distribution, present on four continents and in 28 countries. We are proud to serve over 30 million customers, predominantly with an LPG based energy solution. Our offering now includes an LNG solution for our large industrial client base, and recently, with the first large scale Bio LPG supply.
Could you tell us a little about your career path to get you here?
I started my career as Management Consultant with McKinsey & Company. Thereafter I joined DSM (Life Science & Material Science company), in several management and executive positions for nearly 18 years. Through my role as Supervisory Board member of Delta NV (Electricity generation and utility distribution company), I subsequently moved into the Energy business, and joined SHV Energy as COO and Member of the Managing Board circa 4,5 years ago. As COO I am responsible for our continental European companies.
How is SHV Energy responding to the coronavirus crisis?
We have formulated clear objectives at the start and in order of priority; protect the health of our colleagues, continue to serve our customer in need of our product and ensure liquidity in the company.
As our operations in China were affected first, we have been swiftly implementing the main learnings out of China into our European and American operations. Although we were somewhat prepared, the depth and speed of the pandemic and its effects nevertheless surprised us.
Business wise we are distinguishing between the short-term operational response, which is the responsibility of our teams in the country, and some structural changes which are led by our head office. We expect that the volumes consumed by our domestic customers will on balance not be impacted whereas we do believe that on the industrial and the commercial sector will be impacted, although with big differences per sub segment. Overall for 2020 we do not expect a larger drop in volume than mid-single digits.
How do you feel this is affecting the LPG industry?
In general, the LPG business has proven to be quite resilient and creative in addressing the crisis. Although some volume loss will take one or two years to recover, the crisis also gives opportunities to the industry to speed up for example digitization of processes.
How do you think this may change our industry?
Directly related to Covid virus, there will be a heightened awareness on health, safety and hygiene and this will lead towards a demand from our customers for even safer operations. Leading to a structural change in the working conditions for our employees and partners.
Anything else you would like to add?
I truly hope that as an industry we continue to position LPG as the cleanest fossil fuel in the energy transition and continue with same or even more commitment as before the increases of renewable LPG availability.
I would like to thank our workforce, not just of SHV Energy but of our industry, that in this Covid crisis has the resolve to serve our customers, by safely deliver households and businesses with fuel for their cooking, heating and transport. Kudos to our LPG Hero’s!