Texaco goes LPG way
BY BRIAN BONITTO
Associate Editor —
Auto and Entertainment
Friday, September 07, 2018
GB Energy Texaco, operators of the Texaco brand in Jamaica, has embarked on a programme to ensure the needs of its liquid petroleum gas (LPG) customers, as well as that of Jamaica are met.
Three weeks ago, the company began selling the fuel dubbed TexGas at one of its service stations in Half-Way-Tree in St Andrew and intends to roll out the environmentally fuel islandwide.
“GB Energy Texaco has been working in this project for eight months now and, after receiving the imported equipment to deliver LPG to cars, we have started sales three weeks ago as well as the conversion of the gasoline cars to be able to use LPG and gasoline as a source of fuel... So far it has been great,” Mauricio Pulido, CEO of GB Energy in Jamaica, told the Jamaica Observer's Auto magazine.
(LPG), also referred to as propane or butane, is a flammable mixture of hydrocarbon gases used as fuel in vehicles, heating appliances and cooking equipment.
Using LPG as fuel for vehicles reduces CO2 emissions by 15 per cent when compared to gasoline. Of the 25 million vehicles globally using LPG, 50 per cent of them are in Turkey, South Korea, Poland, Italy and Austria. In the Caribbean, Dominican Republic has almost 60 per cent of their cars running on LPG.
“The benefit for the consumers and the environment is that LPG is a cleaner fuel than traditional gasoline and it burns more efficiently in the motor producing less contamination. Also, it expands the lifespan of spark plugs, the oil-change intervals as well as the oil filter replacements and it doubles the time to do an engine overhaul,” said Pulido.
The CEO said the Half-Way-Tree location was selected for the pilot project as it is one of the company's emblematic service stations where a market for the product would exist. He said space was also a factor.
“We had the space to properly install this additional feature to the service station for the benefit of our customers. The second one will soon be launched at Molynes Road and eventually all of our service stations will have this offering,” he said. “What we will do is to add special pumps and tanks to deliver LPG as well, making the offering of the service station better.”
According to Pulido, GB TEXACO plans to spend around J$700,000,000 between now and the next two years to ensure its 70 service stations are up to speed. He was quick to point out that Texaco will keep offering its traditional fuels as Premium Gasolines, Diesel, and Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel with its additive TECHRON, which is the best in the market.
“GB ENERGY TEXACO is coming strong into the LPG market not only in the car business but also in the domestic cylinder distribution with YAADMAN LPG as well as B2B solutions for hotels, restaurants, cafeterias and other potential users of similar fuels. LPG has become a clean, price reasonable solution for Power Generation and we are bringing some state-of-the-art technology that could represent big savings for companies and individuals. Nowadays, we need to minimise our costs and maximise the use of the resources in a responsible way towards the environment,” he said. “Like in many other countries, customers — especially fleet managers — are looking for ways to reduce costs and be more efficient. Jamaica is not different from this and the average taximan and fleet owners will definitely appreciate having this option available. LPG has been massively use for cooking and water heating but now it has become an important option for car consumption and power generation, as well.”
The CEO said his company has partnered with Tecnigas to install and offer post-sales service for all LPG vehicle conversions across Jamaica.
“We have converted a few cars and the drivers enjoy the smooth transition between LPG to Gasoline and Gasoline to LPG just by pressing a botton on the dashboard. Customers are happy to run similar distances as they did with gasoline for half the price,” he said. “Tecnigas is in the process of setting up a full service LPG conversion centre on Hagley Park Road which will begin operations in two to three weeks. The conversion centre will accommodate small and large vehicle conversions which will be completed within 24 hours. The centre will also offer all after-sales service and maintenance for the LPG conversion kits they install. Tecnigas has also partnered with BD Gregg & Bros, Peter Moody's Garage and other leading mechanics around the island to service the needs of customers across the island. The price to convert a vehicle to operate on LPG varies from J$150,000 to J$350,000 depending on the size of the engine and specific customer requirements. Financing will be available.”
A 24-year veteran of the petroleum industry, Pulido was born in Colombia. He has done stints with Texaco Colombia (1994), Texaco Venezuela (1998), and the Latin America Headquarters of ChevronTexaco in USA (2006). His tour of duty as CEO of GB Energy Texaco in Jamaica started in November 2012.
“I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to improve the business in the past six years to what it is now,” he said.
The Haitian-owned GB Energy acquired the Texaco downstream operations in Jamaica in 2012, and pays royalties for the Texaco brand.
Jamaica is GB Energy's second largest market, with the Dominican Republic the largest at 140 stations, followed by St Maarten, the Dutch side of the island which is shared with St Martin of France.