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Gulf Energy ventures into lubricants

NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 29 – The petroleum industry is undergoing major realignments with indigenous players coming up with new strategies to capture a large piece of the market amid depressed margins.

Gulf Energy, which has largely played in the space of crude importation and supply, has launched a new range of lubricants as it seeks to deepen its participation in the retail market.

It follows in the footsteps of other locals such as Hass Petroleum and Galana Oil that have ventured into the lubricant business.

Speaking during the launch of the new products and re-branding of the firm, Gulf Energy Chief Executive Officer Francis Njogu said this was one of the many strategic decisions being taken by the oil firm to increase its sales volumes as well as diversify its product offering to consumers.

“Our touch points with consumers have been very low because our focus before has been business to business.  Now we are introducing new products into the market to increase our participation with the market,” Mr Njogu said.

The lubricants are formulated with advanced technology and meet Euro 5 specifications to suit the requirements of modern diesel and petrol engines applicable to all conditions to ensure optimal engine performance.

To boost its visibility in the market, Mr Njogu said the company plans to invest heavily to grow its service stations footprint in Kenya as well as in the East African region.

“We have a retail footprint that we want to grow aggressively,” he said.

Gulf Energy however points out that the country’s current petroleum supply chain is inefficient to deal with the demand in the country.  Congestion at the depots has meant that petroleum products are not released on time, which has on occasion led to serious shortage.

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The oil firm is in the process of constructing a storage and distribution terminal that is meant to ease the pressure for players in the industry and is scheduled to be fully operational in September 2011.

“To our peers as well as the big boys, the terminal will be a common user facility that will be open to you,” Mr Njogu said.

The new terminal will also serve as a Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) storage and filling station that will alleviate the challenge of access to gas.

“We are stepping out boldly with the confidence to meet the challenges of the future,” he stressed.

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