Shell UK is preparing to launch the lastest version of its premium fuel V-Power in the spring. The new fuel, which features 'Dynaflex technology' will be marketed across the media and on Shell forecourts nationwide as 'Britain's best fuel'.
Greenergy has signed agreements to supply a further three sites owned by Top 50 Indie Penny Petroleum, taking the number of Penny Petroleum sites supplied by Greenergy to seven. All of these sites are Esso-branded.
Jaguar drivers can now use their cars touchscreen to pay for fuel at Shell filling stations with a new cashless payment app.
Certas Energy's retail director Ramsay MacDonald is in buoyant mood as he reflects on the strength of the company's Gulf brand as we head into 2017. "Now's a good time for people to be contacting us, because we're locked and loaded to go," he gushes.
The glorious Powerscourt Hotel in Wicklow, Ireland, was the setting for last month's biennial Jet conference, which brought together retailers, wholesalers and senior Phillips 66 executives including Brian Mandell, president, global marketing in an informal setting. The event is all about relationship building, sharing news, ideas and feedback.
Dramatic falls in the price of petrol and diesel, and a boom in the fleet of vans making home deliveries, have helped to turn around a weakening fuel market. The total volume of road fuel sales looked to be in permanent decline after year-on-year falls from their peak in 2007 to 2013, but the trend is now positive again.
Expect to hear more about Harvest Energy in the coming months and years. Its goal is to double its dealer business over the next five years, growing 20% every 12 months. It also plans to grow its company owned network, both operated and unmanned.
Since Top 50 Indie group MFG took over Murco's retail assets in October 2014, the focus to the outside world has been very much on the 228 company owned sites in the deal, which considerably boosted its portfolio of filling stations at the time to 288.
UK BP dealers gathered in Berlin last month for the official launch of BP's new premium fuel Ultimate with active technology. The event involved 600 guests from 15 countries across Europe, scientists involved in the project, as well as a visit by chief executive Bob Dudley.
A change of leadership in any company can be an unsettling time. But at Phillips 66 care was taken to facilitate a smooth transition as Pete George, the well-respected and long-serving managing director, UK and Ireland, retired and made way for the incoming Mary Wolf.
Retailers are signing up to Shell in the UK because of the growing strength of the brand, which follows the company's aspiration to be the number one global fuel retailer, according to David Moss, Shell UK's general manager, retail.
Essar Oil UK has just reported its best three-quarter year results, with a profit after tax of $179m (up to December 31), compared with $35.3m for the same period in the previous year.
It's been another positive year for the Gulf brand, according to Certas Energy's retail director Ramsay MacDonald, who admits to being hugely ambitious, and spending every waking hour constantly thinking about how the brand can enhance its position in the marketplace.
reportsIndependent forecourt groups are changing the world. Well, to be more precise, they're changing the world of distribution and logistics company Hoyer Petrolog, according to its operations director Allan Davison (pictured above).
Jet used the Forecourt Show 2015 as a platform to launch its new convenience initiative, a concept that will give Jet's 350-plus dealers access to four bespoke levels of retail support.
Harvest Energy is back on the dealer trail following an 18 month review, and is supplying fuel at better prices than its major competitors, according to Ian Woodcock, the company's head of retail and branded wholesale, speaking at last month's Forecourt Show in Birmingham.
In the summer of 2011 Shell surprised the industry with its purchase of around 250 Total sites from a consortium, Rontec Investments, which had just acquired Total's UK retail and fuel distribution business. This was during a period when most oil companies as amply illustrated by Total were either rationalising their networks or pulling out of the market altogether. A trend which has continued Esso is currently in the throes of disposing of its retail network.
Mention the word refinery, and not long after comes the phrase 'challenging environment'. That's because the UK's refineries the few that remain are facing enormous competitive pressures which could threaten their future survival. There was hope that the recent government review into the UK's refining and fuel imports sectors looking at the security of fuel supply would offer some element of support and a level playing field to the heavily regulated refining community, but alas it merely served to disappoint. What it did highlight however, was the fact that in 1975 there were 19 refineries operating in the UK, but by 2014 this had fallen to seven. This was reported in April before Murco announced it was to stop buying crude oil for processing at its Milford Haven Refinery, whose future is uncertain as a sale process is under way.
The Nisa-branded forecourt concept is proving a great success, with six retailers fully branded and more in the pipeline, according to Nisa's format and development director Raj Krishan.
Esso's On the Run format will soon be consigned to the archives as the final tranche of the oil major's company-owned sites are put on the market, and it charts a new path to growth if not market leadership in the retail fuel market.
Jet has launched a new standards and service programme, 'Proud to be Jet'. The programme assesses, benchmarks and continually measures site performance across Jet-branded forecourts based on annual compliance audits and other brand-related activity. The programme has been designed to improve the forecourt experience for customers in terms of facilities and forecourt safety, but also to reward dealers and instil a sense of pride in being part of the brand's network.
A deal to sell 84 service stations to two of the Top 50 Indies has been agreed by Esso Petroleum Company and ROC UK (ExxonMobil).
Despite being the largest retail food chain in the world, Spar is very clear about its goal for 2014 it wants to get more retailers in the UK selling Spar-branded fuel.
Dealer groups are now signing to the Gulf brand in significant numbers according to Ramsay MacDonald, retail director of Certas Energy (formerly known as GB Oils). The signings mean that the company will start the New Year 53 million litres stronger as a result.
For those of you who believe that staffing at the Petrol Retailers' Association has been a bit thin on the ground of late, some good news. Step forward Richard Chadderton, the new head of petrol (since July), a full-time, permanent position, realigned from the scope of its previous incumbent to be totally dedicated to the PRA, without obligations for commercial activities elsewhere within its parent body, the RMIF.
Nisa Retail is the latest of the symbol operators which, having realised the potential of the fuel retailing sector, wants to significantly raise its forecourt profile.
Plans to boost the number of Jet sites by 30%, and a raft of initiatives aimed at enhancing the brand's retailer package were announced at last month's Phillips 66 annual dealer conference, held in the plush surroundings of Gleneagles, Scotland. At a convivial gathering of more than 200 delegates, including retail and commercial customers, Pete George, the company's managing director, UK & Ireland Marketing, says: "Since our re-organisation 18 months ago, we've been reviewing the best way to drive the Jet brand forward and taking our time to ensure that we get things right.
Since Valero Energy acquired the UK marketing and distribution assets of Chevron more than two years ago, it has been on a mission to strengthen its supply infrastructure in order to grow the business. This month sees the completion of a significant part of that project with the coming on full stream of the company's Manchester fuel terminal following an intense year of refurbishment. The terminal, which had been in existence since the '70s, had been mothballed in 2010, when it was owned in an equal three-way split by Chevron, Total and Esso, but operated by Esso on behalf of the other stakeholders.
This month sees the start of a new fuel supply service targeting independent, unbranded fuel retailers across the South East. The source of the supply is Prax Petroleum, which has been building up to this point for several months, publicising its services including exhibiting at April's Forecourt Show at the NEC and talking to retailers in order to gauge reaction and interest.
Shell in the UK is a far more attractive proposition for both customers and dealers than it has been for some time, according to David Moss, who took over as the company's general retail manager, north cluster (UK, Denmark, Norway), at the start of the year, replacing Melanie Lane. And the dealer offer is evolving into something particularly compelling, he claims.
It's been another interesting year, but thankfully there has been some stability in the market. Those of you who were at the Top Indies Dinner in March and at Forecourt Live! at the NEC in April will have seen evidence that things are looking quite good for the independent forecourt sector in 2013.
It's about 18 months since Valero Energy acquired the UK assets of Chevron, and with it the legacy of the Texaco brand, which has been in the UK for nearly 100 years.
Hugely challenging' but 'very exciting and rewarding' is how Maxol chief operating officer Brian Donaldson describes the brand transformation process that has engrossed the oil company over recent months. Family-owned Maxol invested £12m upgrading and expanding its retail business in 2012, acquiring five new forecourts and starting the roll out of its vibrant new 'brio' image across the network of 225 service stations, including 125 dealer sites.
It's been more than a year since Ramsay MacDonald took charge of the GB Oils fuel retailing business as retail director. His first duty was to bring a sense of order to the retail network in the aftermath of acquiring the Total and Pace dealer operations. His next and continuing duty was to develop the Gulf brand in the UK.
ConocoPhillips Limited has now officially changed its name to Phillips 66 Limited, following the company's global repositioning of its upstream and downstream operations to create two independently-operated companies, which took place on May 1.
The 2012 Olympics is finally within touching distance and one company that is fully engaged with the opportunity is BP. Its forecourts up and down the land have been appropriately adorned with Olympic imagery, most notably of the six athlete ambassadors that BP has been supporting on their Olympic journey for the past two years.
Ramsay MacDonald is the new man appointed to take charge of the ever-growing fuel retailing business of GB Oils. He takes over at a critical point following the company's recent acquisition of the Total and Pace-branded dealer business.
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