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    Shell Begins Rebranding

    Company to spend $500 million converting Texaco convenience stores.

    HOUSTON -- In an effort to increase its visibility nationwide, Shell Oil Co. unveiled a $500 million spending plan to rebrand thousands of gasoline stations it bought from ChevronTexaco Corp. last year.

    Of roughly 13,000 Texaco-branded stations Shell acquired, about 90 percent will be rebranded and upgraded, and 10 percent will be shutdown, Shell spokesman Rick Wirth said.

    The stations currently under the Texaco star will be "given a new look" that is similar to the Shell retail image in Europe -- complete with a yellow-on-red seashell symbol -- and many of the 9,000 current Shell stations in the U.S. will be revamped to match.

    "This is one of the largest rebranding efforts ever undertaken in the U.S.," said Wirth. Shell hopes to complete the rebranding by 2004.

    With the new stations, Shell will become the most visible and largest gasoline retailer in the U.S. with more than 20,000 stations nationwide and roughly 15 percent of the nation's retail gasoline market.

    It will also hold its title as largest retail gasoline operator worldwide, with roughly 45,000 retail outlets, mostly in Europe, the company said.

    Shell announced its $3.86 billion deal to buy ChevronTexaco's stakes in two refining ventures, Equilon Enterprises and Motiva Enterprises, in December. The sale was required by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as a condition of its approval for the Chevron-Texaco deal.

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