Sat | Mar 23, 2019

Texaco Jamaica at 100: Bigger network, more LPG

Published:Wednesday | February 20, 2019 | 12:26 AM
Mauricio Pulido, CEO, GB Energy Texaco Jamaica during  Texaco Centenary Anniversary Press Launch which was held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston on Tuesday February 19, 2019.
Mauricio Pulido, CEO, GB Energy Texaco Jamaica during Texaco Centenary Anniversary Press Launch which was held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston on Tuesday February 19, 2019.

Texaco Jamaica has hit its centenary, but has not lost its vigour.

The petroleum marketing company whose top spot in the gas retail market is under threat from acquisitive French rival Total Jamaica, says it has a plan to maintain its edge.

GB Energy Jamaica-Texaco CEO Mauricio Pulido, speaking with the Financial Gleaner on Tuesday, says the company will be adding eight new service stations by this year end 2019 and will expand the network of stations outfitted to supply or pump autogas, its liquid petroleum gas based product, from one to 15.

GB Energy, which currently operates more than 70 Texaco stations, saw its place as the largest retailer threatened last week when Total announced it was buying another Jamaican service station network, Epping, which would add 17 stations to its network, pushing Total’s total to 74.

But Pulido indicated that Texaco intends to retain its pole position. GB Energy itself has owned the assets only since 2012, when it acquired the network from Chevron. Texaco was third in the market at that point.

“We are happy that the competition is moving. It makes the market more interesting,” he commented to the Financial Gleaner on the margins of the launch event for Texaco’s celebration of 100 years of operation in Jamaica. “In terms of size they will be getting to around 75,” he said of Total Jamaica.

In an update on Texaco’s operation, he said the network now comprises 72 stations - including its airport outlets and the newest station opened along the North South Highway - and would grow to 78 or 80 by year end.

Among the new stations coming on stream, in which the company will be investing up to US$2 million, the targeted sites are Priory in St Ann; Ironshore and Paradise in Montego Bay; the parish of Clarendon; and Duncans in Trelawny.

Not only will GB-Texaco have “six to eight new stations this year”, the company is also “coming strong with LPG,” Pulido said.

The LPG business, disclosed last year, will distribute cooking gas for domestic use under the Yaadman brand, alongside industrial LPG. The company also intends to supply LPG as fuel for motor vehicles, which have to be converted for the purpose, and is about to ramp up the autogas promotions, Pulido said. That is also a new project that was unveiled last year.

“This is beneficial for the country because it is more environmentally friendly and is an economical solution,” he said. “Consumers will save money by using LPG. It’s close to half the price of gas.”

GB-Texaco is exploring ways of financing the conversions, which are expected to cost around $150,000 to $200,000 per vehicle, which would allow motorists to switch between gasoline and LPG.

GB Energy is otherwise investing close to US$500,000 to add LPG to the fuel pumps at another 14 stations. Previously, Pulido indicated that the total outlay on would be more than $1.4 billion in Jamaican currency.

The only one equipped to date is the service station at 29 Half Way Tree Road which was launched 2018. “We are installing seven more service stations as we speak. The number will be up to 15 by year end,” he said.

As for its centenary activities, GB will also be spending US$13 million on its anniversary celebrations and the upgrade of older service stations, which will receive “new canopies, new technology and a new image”, the CEO said.

 

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com