Gulf Oil returns to Houston, branding 50 stations

The Gulf Oil logo is coming to Houston, as the fuel supplier launches plans to rebrand 50 gasoline stations in the area, according to executives.

Gulf Oil, a Massachusetts-based fuel wholesaler, has contracted to rebrand 50 ExxonMobil service stations beginning mid- May. Gulf Oil is partnering with Petroleum Wholesale LP, a distributor based in The Woodlands, to supply the stations.

The move is part of Gulf Oil’s aggressive move to expand the brand’s presence across the country, said Rick Dery, senior vice president of sales and marketing.

The company’s logo had been absent from Texas for decades, but returned to the state last year when it branded five stations in Austin. The company was launched in 1901 in Beaumont.

“We are very excited about the re-emergence in the Houston market,” Dery said. “We are going to come back in a much more significant way. The excitement here is bursting.”

The company stores and  distributes branded fuels. It currently supplies 3,000 Gulf Oil and other stations, Dery said.

The Gulf Oil-Petroleum Wholesale partnership plans to brand at least 15 new fueling stations each year for the next decade, Dery said.

Gulf Oil is a  fuel retailer and distributor, without refining operations. The company is expanding its presence at a time when retailers with refineries  are struggling against stagnant fuel demand and competitive pressure.

“Margins have been tight with $4 gasoline and retail customers are becoming hyper sensitive to price,” Dery said. “It’ll get challenging for retail operators, the publicity for our industry isn’t the best.”