The History of Shell Oil in Malta

Little did Messrs. Degiorgio and Azzopardi realise, when they decided to found their business in Malta, that they were laying the foundations for a success story for generations to come.


We invite you to browse through our history, one milestone at a time. 


It was summer of this year that Messrs. Degiorgio and Azzopardi were appointed managing agents for the Asiatic Petroleum Coy. Ltd (now the Royal Dutch Shell Group) and made responsible for the distribution of all Shell products in Malta.


In November of 1918, a larger storage petrol depot is acquired at St Francis Bastions in Floriana.



A ‘first of its kind’ bulk oil installation is formally opened in Birzebuggia with a combined storage capacity of 6,500,000 imperial gallons of fuel oil. Products are transported by mule drawn carriages from Birzebuggia to depots in Msida and Floriana. This journey normally took just over two hours per trip.



A 500-foot jetty in Birzebuggia comes into service.



Mr. Henry Degiorgio passes away at the age of 42 and is succeeded by Mr J.C Degiorgio as the sole managing representative for Shell Oil in Malta. The first packed lorry and the first two bulk lorries also make their appearance, gradually replacing the slow-moving horse drawn carts.



The number of registered motor vehicles in Malta rises from 700 in 1920 to over 5000 by the late 1920’s. The first petrol pumps are installed in 1928 at the British Motor Company Depot in Gzira, and at Marsa Sports Club premises.


An additional two tanks are erected at the Birzebuggia Installation, bringing the aggregate capacity there to 8,000,000 gallons.

During this year, Malta’s miniature railway system was withdrawn from service, almost simultaneously with the departure of the Electric Tramways that had been in operation since 1906. The way was not open for motor vehicles to take over the Island’s transport services and the Government immediately sought expert advice on a plan to surface all main thoroughfares with bitumen (asphalt). Shell bitumen products were used exclusively throughout the entire operations and Shell also provided the specially designed equipment for the project.


Shell is entrusted to supply materials, machinery and personnel to build the runways for the Air Ministry on aerodrome sites in Luqa, Hal Far and Ta’ Qali.

By now it was decided that trade in Malta justified the formation of a separate associated company within the Royal Dutch-Shell Group and Shell Co. (Malta) Ltd. is formed. Forseeing the future development of the aviation industry, Shell commissions a specialised tank for the storage of aviation spirit located within its Birzebuggia facilities. The first cargo is received early in 1931.


On the outbreak of war, Mr. J.C. Degiorgio, Shell’s Chief Representative in Malta is appointed Deputy Controller of Mineral Oils. This implied that he was now responsible for the storage and movement of Malta’s commercial oil stocks and for putting a war-time rationing system in place.


Shell Offices in Valletta suffered extensive bomb damage and all staff is evacuated to offices within facilities of the Cisk Brewery in Hamrun. During this time it was virtually impossible for tankers to reach Malta safely. To this end, specially equipped submarines were fitted to carry 230 tons of fuel across a regular 1000 mile journey to Malta. For security purposes, all submarines remained submerged during daytime and discharging was carried out by night via the jetty into the Shell tanks in Birzebuggia.


Mr. J.C. Degiorgio is appointed the first General Manager of Shell Co. (Malta) Ltd.


R.A.F authorities hand back the Shell Depot in Marsa to the company after having been requisitioned at the outbreak of the war by military authorities.


Following extensive war-damage repairs, the depot commences operations during this year, working in tandem with the closing down of the old kerosene depot in Msida. In May, Shell Aviation Services move their headquarters from Ta’ Qali to Luqa Airfield.


Mr. J.C. Degiorgio retires after 35 years of service and is succeeded by new General Manager Mr. T.W. Southam. Shell Co. (Malta) takes over Shell’s marketing functions for the Libyan territory from the Shell Company of Egypt – an arrangement that will continue up till the formation of Shell Libya in 1959.


Mr. J.C. Degiorgio retires after 35 years of service and is succeeded by new General Manager Mr. T.W. Southam. Shell Co. (Malta) takes over Shell’s marketing functions for the Libyan territory from the Shell Company of Egypt – an arrangement that will continue up till the formation of Shell Libya in 1959.


Due to the growth of motor vehicles on the Island (around 20,000) a number of additional filling and service stations are developed. Additionally, a number of new distributors for Shell petrol in Malta are appointed.


The first Long Service emblems are distributed in Malta. Shell’s Headquarters relocate to larger premises in Brittania Street, Valletta, and Mr. J.G. Gubbins takes over as General Manager of the Company from Mr. T.W. Southam.

Two further bulk oil tanks are constructed raising storage capacity to 11,500,000 gallons.


Further expansion within the organisation results in the Head Office being relocated to a new building in St. Anne’s Square in Floriana, adjacent to NATO’s Headquarters.


Mr. J.G. Gubbins is succeeded by Mr. J.A. Maitland as General Manager of Shell Co. (Malta) Ltd.


Work on the construction of a new installation for the storage of fuel oil on a site adjacent to the proposed Government Deep Water Wharf commences. This project makes it possible for Shell to provide all modern bunker facilities for shipping.


Mr. J.A. Maitland retires from the role of General Manager and is succeeded by Mr. R.L. Parker.



The Shell Grand Harbour Installation is officially inaugurated by His Excellency, the Governor, Admiral Sir Guy Grantham and blessed by the Metropolitan Archbishop Mons. Sir Michael Gonzi.

In an effort to bring into effect Shell’s policy of promoting Maltese staff members into more senior and responsible positions within the company, Mr. S.R Attard is appointed as Sales Manager of Shell Co. (Malta) Ltd.


Mr. R.L. Parker retires and is succeeded by Mr. F.G Wilson. Shell Co. (Malta) celebrates its 50th Anniversary in Malta.


Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh visit Malta. Acting Malta Manager Mr. S.R. Attard and Mrs. Attard are invited to the State Ball and introduced to Her Majesty the Queen as Shell’s Representative in Malta.


Mr. S.R. Attard is appointed Malta Manager designate of The Shell Co. (Malta) Ltd.
Mr. F.G. Wilson retires and Mr. P.D Mather is appointed as new General Manager of the Company.


Mr. P.D Mather retires and is succeeded by Mr. S.R Attard who is appointed Malta Manager


Mr. N. Bain and Mr. S.R. Attard sign the first agreement with the Maltese Government for the exploration of oil on Malta’s continental shelf on behalf of Shell (Malta).


His Excellency the Governor General Sir Anthony Mamo and Rear Admiral D.C. Kent, Flag Officer Malta and Mr. S.R. Attard, Director Shell Malta, visit the exploration oil rig offshore Malta.


Malta Shell (Exploration Company) winds up after completion of two wells drilled offshore.



The Government of Malta signs an agreement with Shell Co. (Malta) Ltd. whereby it was agreed that Enemalta Corp (a parastatal company recently formed by an act of Parliament) will take over the exclusive importations of all fuels to Malta with the exception of Aviation fuels.

The agreement also specified that the Shell Co. (Malta) Ltd would act as storage and distribution agents for the Maltese Government for all fuels imported and stored at the Ocean Installation belonging to the Company as of 1st February 1974.


The Shell Bunkering Installation is sold to the Government of Malta.


Prime Minister the Hon. Mr. D. Mintoff announces an agreement reached between the Maltese Government and Shell Co. (Malta) Ltd. This included the purchase of all assets from Shell Co. (Malta) Ltd. Transfer for said assets will be made on 1st April 1979.



Scans 3



The office and warehouse of Attard Service were nearing completion in preparation for start-up of operations in January 1979.


Formation of Attard Services Limited. Attard Services Limited has been the sole representative for Shell International since 1979, and continues to bring to Malta the vast know-how and experiences that Shell enjoys in over 100 countries around the world. The company focuses on meeting the local demands and expanding on opportunities in this ever-changing sector.


Shell, through Attard Services Limited, supplied Enemalta Corporation with Coal requirements for power generation. Additionally, Attard Services Limited negotiates the refurbishment of Shell’s VLCC’s tankers at Malta Dry-docks worth over €12,000,000. The contract and works were completed in time and zero injuries were recorded.


Scans 4

Scans 2

Following recommendations by Shell Italy, storage and handling of finished products were modernised and in-line with Shell recommendations.

Scans 1


Mr Attard (Chairman) passed away and Mrs Attard assumed the responsibility as chairperson.



Off-shore Exploration. Attard Services Limited assists Shell in concluding off-shore oil exploration acreage in Block 7, Area 4. A budget of $8,500,000 was dedicated to carry out a 3D survey covering 375km² in water depths of 400 meters.


Attard Services Limited, in collaboration with Shell, implements various changes in the company operating procedures and launches a comprehensive Health Safety Security Environment policy. These procedures continue to ensure safety and respect to the environment, both for ASL staff as well as various clients and partners.



The company celebrates 30years of Attard Services Limited operations in Malta.


Attard Services Limited celebrates its 35th Anniversary, together with 100 years of Shell presence in Malta. This relationship continues to grow as experiences of both companies has exchanged and new technologies are introduced. Perhaps the most advanced technology to be introduced on this Anniversary is the ‘Shell Pure Plus Technology’ which comes after several years of research and in excess of $18,000,000,000 investment.


Skytanking starts into-plane fueling at Malta International Airport

Malta, April 11, 2017 – Attard Services Limited is pleased to announce that its subsidiary Skytanking Limited successfully started into-plane fueling operations at Malta International Airport on April 1st.

Skytanking Limited is a 50:50 joint venture between Skytanking Holding GmbH and the Maltese company Attard Services Limited. Skytanking Limited was awarded a licence by Malta International Airport plc to provide ‘Fuel and Oil Ground handling Services’ in January 2016. Since then the company has been busy negotiating commercial contracts and preparing for the start-up of operations.

The first customer aircraft were successfully fueled on Saturday morning, including Airbus A321 and A320 aircraft destined for Frankfurt and Budapest. The start of operations in Malta increases the number of countries where Skytanking offers independent aviation fueling services to airports, airlines and oil companies to thirteen.

Malta International Airport handles more than 5 million passengers per year at this popular tourist destination.

Skytanking is a subsidiary of Marquard & Bahls, a Hamburg-based family-owned company that operates in the fields of energy supply, trading and logistics. Skytanking provides a full range of aviation fueling services including building, owning and operating aviation fuel storage and hydrant facilities, and providing into-plane services to airlines, airports and oil companies. Skytanking handles 15.8 million cbm of aviation fuel per year, refueling 1.4 million aircraft at 69 airports in 13 countries in Europe, Asia and Africa.

Attard Services Limited is a Maltese family owned company that has been in operation since 1979, actively involved in the handling of petroleum products and associated services. The company is a leading supplier in the automotive, industrial, marine and aviation sectors of the Maltese market.