CHICAGO — Three Big Oil companies have shown a revived commitment to convenience retailing during the past year. Here’s a look at where six major refiners stand today …
Shell Oil Products U.S.
No. of Shell-branded U.S. sites: 14,000
After selling its last company-op site in 2004 and transitioning to a multisite-operator model, in which one marketer heads up several sites, Shell has since expanded its branded network through joint ventures and signing on distributors. In 2018, it opened Shell Select, its first retail concept in more than a decade and the seeds of a future franchise. The store offers a localized assortment, gourmet foodservice program and a sleek, modern c-store environment complete with indoor and outdoor seating.
No. of BP- and Arco-branded sites: 7,200
In 2018, BP reintroduced the Amoco fuel brand after a decadelong absence as a means for its distributors to continue to grow with the company while avoiding proximity issues. As of year-end 2018, it had 64 branded sites with plans to open an additional 100 by the end of 2019, according to Nicola Buck, BP’s head of marketing for fuels, North America. BP also introduced a new version of its Helios site standards program in 2018 that offers new incentives to ensure retailers meet the brand standards and provide a strong site experience.
Headquarters: Irving, Texas
No. of Exxon- and Mobil-branded sites: Approximately 11,000
ExxonMobil, which announced plans to divest its company-ops in 2008, has not owned or operated any retail fuel stations in the United States since selling the last of these around 2012. Instead, it is focusing on growing its branded network and upgrading the customer experience, including through its three-year-old Synergy fuel and image program, which it continues to introduce to more Exxon- and Mobil- branded sites. Branded wholesalers are reporting volume increases with Synergy, according to Mauricio Angulo, Americas Fuels marketing communications manager for ExxonMobil.
No. of independently owned branded sites: Approximately 7,550 outlets
ConocoPhillips divested its last directly owned and operated sites in 2008 and later spun off its U.S. marketing business into Phillips 66, which supplies gasoline to distributors under the Phillips 66, 76 and Conoco brands.
Headquarters: San Ramon, Calif.
No. of Chevron- and Texaco-branded locations in North America: 8,000
Unlike other Big Oil companies, Chevron held onto a core of its company-owned and -operated stores and launched its ExtraMile c-store franchise for distributors. It has since put ExtraMile’s growth goals—double the number of sites by 2027—in the hands of its franchisee Jacksons Food Stores, through a new joint venture, ExtraMile Convenience Stores LLC.
Valero Energy Corp.
Headquarters: San Antonio
No. of branded sites (U.S., Canada, U.K. and Ireland): 7,400
Valero, the largest U.S. refiner, spun off its more than 2,000 stores into CST Brands in 2013. Alimentation Couche-Tard acquired CST in 2016. Valero has been rumored to be exploring a return to retail in some shape or form, although it did not respond to a request for comment. It launched its Vanguard brand image in 2018.