Gulf Selects Datawire for Station IP Connectivity

Also launches cobranded affinity card program with Wright Express

CHELSEA, Mass. -- Gulf Oil LP said that it will now offer a high-speed, Internet point-of-sale (POS) connectivity solution to its Gulf retail operators nationwide. This new IP-based service is offered by Gulf's payments services provider, First Data, and is based on technology delivered by Datawire Communication Networks Inc., Boston.

Gulf has already rolled out this service to a number of locations and plans an aggressive deployment beginning in early April.

With this service, Gulf's card-based payment transactions will now be [image-nocss] processed in two to four seconds, which is significantly quicker when compared to traditional dialup and VSAT satellite services. Additionally, the service is in most cases delivered at a substantially lower price than VSAT-based services, since the Datawire solution enables the utilization of any existing or new Internet connection available at the stations, which may be used for other functions. Thus, it removes the requirement for a dedicated connection for POS. This service is offered both in pay at the pump and swiped retail transactions.

The Datawire network, called the VXN, has become a standard in the payments industry as a secure and reliable transaction delivery network that uses public Internet access from the merchant location. The Datawire VXN is a fully PCI compliant solution. When coupled with the VXN MicroNode, an intelligent protocol conversion device, the solution enables Gulf's non-IP capable petroleum POS offerings, such as the VeriFone Ruby, Gilbarco G-Site, Wayne Nucleus and other petroleum/c-store solutions, the benefits of IP connectivity with seamless message delivery to existing payment processing platforms. In addition, a dial back up feature allows for seamless transition to high-speed dial during any broadband outages.

Having the very best technology at our branded locations will allow Gulf Oil LP to introduce new and innovative pricing programs such as our fixed and capped price programs quickly and efficiently. The price and volatility of gasoline along with the costs of data processing demands that we have the very best technology and products for our distributors and dealers, said, Joe Petrowski, president of Chelsea, Mass.-based Gulf Oil.

Separately, Gulf Oil and Wright Express Corp. have entered into an agreement to offer flexible pricing to Gulf commercial customers at their locations, through a new Gulf cobranded affinity card program.

South Portland, Maine-based Wright Express, a provider of payment processing and information management services to the U.S. commercial and government fleet industry, developed the program for Gulf.

The program features the full functionality of a universally accepted affinity program, enhanced with pricing options that include cost plus volume-based contract pricing and discounts at Gulf locations. These customizable options provide commercial accounts and fleets powerful new tools and expanded acceptance to manage their vehicle related costs.

We are delighted to be able to offer what we believe to be innovative and valuable pricing options for our corporate and large fleet customers, said Petrowski. This is another step in the direction of not only providing consistent supply of quality petroleum products, but additional brand services that will keep Gulf Oil in the forefront of customer service.

In other Gulf news, Petrowski added the finishing touch to a new Gulf Oil sign painted on the left of the Fisk Pole in Boston's Fenway Park, expanding the marketing partnership between Gulf Oil and the Boston Red Sox.

Gulf Oil, based in Chelsea, Mass., is one of the Northeast's largest wholesalers of refined petroleum products. Gulf distributes motor fuels through a network of more than 2,400 Gulf-branded gas stations, 12 proprietary oil terminals and a network of more than 50 other supply terminals. Gulf Oil supplies heating oil, diesel fuel, jet fuel and kerosene to these branded retail outlets through both its Gulf brand and in the seven states of New England and New York, the Exxon brand. Through its unbranded subsidiary, Great Island Energy, Gulf Oil LP also supplies petroleum products as well as risk management and financial services to industrial, commercial and independent retail firms. Gulf Oil through its wholly owned subsidiary, World Energy, is a major U.S. distributor of biodiesel.