Total on 15 May bought Shell’s 85-strong Egyptian gas station network. The purchase complements Total’s existing 73 Egyptian outlets and propels the French major into fourth spot of Egyptian fuel retailers. Local firm Misr Petroleum is the market leader with 873 stations, whilst ExxonMobil has over 350.

Total, in contrast to many of its peers, takes a bullish view on the Mideast downstream and has been expanding its regional downstream presence (MEES, 10 May). In 2008 it bought Chevron’s regional retail network and in 2009 opened its first outlet in Jordan. Its retail investment rationale is based on its view of regional strong population and car ownership growth, and on the IMF’s predicted 2015-22 average economic Middle East growth rate of 5%. (CONTINUED - 295 WORDS)