Anglo-Dutch oil titan Royal Dutch Shell and Russian group OJSC Alliance have revealed that their previously announced fuel retail joint venture, which will see the firms run 150 Shell-branded petrol stations in the Ukraine, has come into effect.

The joint venture, which was first announced in March 2007, was awaiting the approval of the Ukrainian government. Now that the firms’ venture has been authorized, they will begin the process of re-branding and upgrading the existing Alliance stations so that they carry the Shell name.

The re-branding initiative will occur gradually over a period of two months, during which time the sites will be improved to meet Shell’s global operational, environmental and safety standards, Shell revealed.

Christo Ivanchev, the newly-appointed general director of the joint venture, said: The joint venture will offer customers the benefits of Shell’s global experience, combined with Alliance’s strong local knowledge and extensive presence on the Ukrainian fuel retail market. It will give us a considerable advantage in responding to customer needs and offering product quality and high service standards.

Shell will have operational control of the joint venture, and will hold the majority 51% interest, while Alliance will hold the remaining 49%.