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    Gulf Returns to Bluegrass State

    Kentucky gas stations will fly the oil company's flag for the first time in 20 years.

    SOMERSET, Ky. and FRAMINGHAM, Mass. -- Gulf Oil yesterday announced its return to the Bluegrass State with the initial signing of a branded distributor agreement with Southern Petroleum of Somerset, Ky.

    Southern will soon begin rebranding nine retail motor fuel outlets (five currently branded Chevron) to the new Gulf Sunrise image. This is the first time in 20 years that a Gulf Oil branded gas station has operated in the state. Southern Services Inc., a division of Southern Petroleum, will be coordinating the reimage installation.

    "We are excited to be part of the Gulf family," stated Jonathan Arnett, president of Southern Petroleum, which supplies more than 150 gas stations in Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee. "The Gulf brand has great awareness and recognition, and like our organization, is focused on high-quality customer service. They are a natural partner for us, and we look forward to a long, successful partnership."

    As previously reported by CSNews Online, Gulf Oil acquired all title and interests to the Gulf brand from Chevron U.S.A. Inc. Jan. 12. The company now controls the right to market the brand throughout the United States and its territories.

    Rick Dery, Gulf Oil's senior vice president and chief sales and marketing officer, said the company is very excited to serve Kentucky's driving public once again.

    "We remain steadfastly committed to enhancing our brand value and restoring the perception of Gulf to that of a premium nationwide gasoline retailer. Acceptance by branded distributors such as Southern Petroleum validates our efforts," Dery stated.

    And Kentucky is only the beginning, he said. "There is a huge appetite by branded distributors outside of our existing Northeastern geography for the return of the Gulf brand, and we have been overwhelmed by the reception that Gulf has received over the past few weeks. We have a multitude of branding requests from distributors down the East Coast -- from Maryland to Florida, and as far west as Minnesota," he said. "Within the next few years, the landscape of retail motor fuel outlets will change as Gulf becomes a national premium fuel and service option."

    Gulf Oil President and Chief Operating Officer Ron Sabia added: "We have enjoyed unparalleled growth in the last two years as we enhance the quality and caliber of our station portfolio. With the retail gasoline marketplace undergoing a historic and fundamental consolidation, we are poised to take advantage of this opportunity. We will leverage our unique capabilities as a branded supplier and make our dealers and distributors successful over the long term."

    Based in Framingham, Mass., Gulf Oil Limited Partnership is one of the Northeast's largest wholesalers of refined petroleum products. Gulf Oil distributes motor fuels through a network of more than 2,000 branded gasoline retail centers, 12 proprietary oil terminals, and a network of more than 50 other supply terminals.

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