Forecourt Trader
Making a point

Esso UK is expecting a boost in fuel volumes following the launch of its Nectar loyalty programme on June 1. Patrick Rutherford, the company's retail sales manager, said the full effect of the launch wouldn't be immediate, but would follow key developments already in the pipeline for the Nectar programme, to be introduced in 2020: "We believe this will be the leading loyalty programme in the fuel space, and we think it will drive volume for the Esso brand and for our dealers and branded wholesalers," he said.

Displays that pay

If you're looking to make changes to your forecourt perhaps by investing in new equipment or are considering a move to a different fuel brand, then a trip to The Forecourt Show 2019 is a must.

Refined opportunity

A year after leaving the retail helm at Certas Energy, Ramsay MacDonald is back in the saddle, refreshed and rejuvenated, and greatly enthused about his new role at Essar Oil (UK) as head of retail.

Raising the bar

Last year as she took over the reins as Shell's UK retail general manager, Bernie Williamson said she was on a mission to improve the quality perception of food on the forecourt. She's a woman of her word roll forward to 2019 and the new Jamie Oliver deli by Shell range has just rolled out across more than 500 Shell forecourts.

All change in loyalty swap

A mixed reaction from dealers followed last month's announcement about a major shake-up in the loyalty programmes operated by Esso and BP. It was all change as Esso announced it was moving from Tesco Clubcard to Nectar and simultaneously BP confirmed it was dropping Nectar in favour of a new, yet-to-be-disclosed offer.

Shaping Gulf to rival the best

Six months into the job and Richard Billington, the new retail director of Certas Energy UK, is ready to talk about his ambitious goals for the Gulf brand, and the processes he is putting in place to achieve them.

Greenergy opts for app

Greenergy, the UK's largest supplier of road fuels, is the first company to incorporate EdgePetrol's technology into a branded retail package; it will offer EdgePetrol's app as part of its UK retail brand offering. The app enables petrol retailers to see all their key metrics live in one place, allowing them to make quicker decisions to increase their fuel volumes and shop sales.

Yara expands its Air1 AdBlue capacity in the UK

Yara UK has expanded its Air1 AdBlue plant capacity to meet increasing demand. Up until now, Yara had Air1 AdBlue storage capacity of eight million litres at terminals located at Immingham and Dagenham.

Changing direction

There are 37.9 million licensed vehicles on our roads (DfT figures to end of March 2018), comprising 31.3m cars, 3.9m LGVs, 1.2m motorbikes, 500,000 HGVs and 900,000 'other' vehicles. Of the cars, 52% are petrol and 45% diesel. However, when you take into account the LGVs, HGVs and buses, diesel currently accounts for over 65% of total road fuel sales. APEA's Statistical Review 2018 reveals that in 2017 diesel demand grew by around 1% (reaching 29.7bn litres) while petrol demand remained virtually flat compared to 2016 (16.1bn litres). And, demand for diesel cars in 2017 dropped by more than 17%, while demand for petrol cars was up 2.7%. Of newly registered cars last year, 53.3% were petrol and 42% diesel, with the balance made up of LPG, other gas and electric vehicles (EVs).

Making the future

Shell plans to add a further 10,000 service stations globally to its current tally of 45,000 sites by 2025, according to István Kapitány, Shell's executive vice president of global retail. The ambitious plan includes building its customer base to 40 million a day and, in most of the countries it operates, for 80-90% of the population to be living within 10-15 minutes of a Shell service station. The plan also includes building 5,000 fully fledged convenience stores around the world.

Looking to the future

Jet dealers were welcomed in glamorous Cannes last month to one of the regular gatherings held by Phillips 66, which enabled the company's staff (including its senior executives) to network in an informal setting with its retail and wholesale customers.

Leading the charge

When it comes to electric vehicles (EVs) their capabilities and how they'll be charged there always seems to be more questions than answers.

Pastures green

If you want to be inspired about the potential of forecourt retailing, you could do no worse than a visit to our friends in the Republic of Ireland, where Forecourt Trader was recently taken on a whistle-stop tour of some of the brightest and best sites around Dublin.

Yara International opens "world's largest" AdBlue production plant

AdBlue producer Yara International has opened what it describes as the world’s largest production capacity in Brunsbüttel, Germany. The new facility has a production capacity of 1.1 million tons of AdBlue per year.

Driving the road ahead

Accelerating growth in a changing world by making life's journeys better, was the theme at Shell UK's retail business plan event in Wales last month, which saw the new retail boss Bernie Williamson take to the stage at the annual gathering for the first time following the retirement of her predecessor, David Moss, at the end of 2017.

Monitoring progress

Suresite has been hitting the headlines recently with its announcements about deals with Greenergy and its £2bn-worth of bank card transactions processed in the past 12 months.And it's likely to become even more of an industry name, if new legislation is introduced in November concerning wet-stock monitoring.

Shell selective

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'.

Driving volumes

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.

Growing together

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.

Marginal gains

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.

Major alternative

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.

Out of the shadows

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.

Premium boost

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.

Dependable strengths

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.

Shell marches on

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 refines a new offer

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.

Gulf's growing dealer appeal

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.

Deals on wheels

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 c-store tie-up with Spar

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 is back with a competitive dealer offer

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.

Sure-footed Shell

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.

Competitive process

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.

Six of the best

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.

Prime locations

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 launches standards and services drive

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.

Esso sells 84 petrol stations

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).

Mission statement

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.

Building a future

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.

A head for petrol

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.

Double take

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.

The swinging '60s

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.

Out of storage

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.

Well spotted

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.

Decent proposal

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.

Fuel Market Review: Optimistic outlook

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.

Star supplier

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.

Bright outlook

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.

Gulf stream

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.

Beating the drum

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.

Going for gold

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.