Texaco – a rich heritage in Ireland with big plans for the future

Texaco – a rich heritage in Ireland  with big plans for the future
James Twohig

IFCR talks to James Twohig, Director of Operations for Valero in Ireland

Ireland may be an island close to mainland Europe – and an ocean away from America, but for Valero – one of the world’s largest independent refiners – and a Fortune 50 company, it’s an important part of its global fabric. IFCR asked – where does Ireland fit in to Valero’s world-vision?

“Valero Energy Corporation is an independent petroleum refiner and ethanol producer with 15 petroleum refineries in the US, Canada and the UK, which have a combined throughput capacity of approximately 500 million litres per day, and 14 ethanol plants with a production capacity of 18 million litres per day” said James.

“Established in 1980, the Corporation is based in San Antonio, Texas and currently provides fuel to service stations across the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Peru as well as supplying service stations in the UK and Ireland under the Texaco brand.

Key strategic partner

“Ireland is a key strategic market for Valero’s European operation as we are located close to our refinery in Pembroke, West Wales and we receive and market significant volume of the refined product produced there” explained James.

“This refinery is one of the largest manufacturers of fuels in northwest Europe with a throughput of 43 million litres of crude oil each day.  The quality fuels produced there, which provide the needed sources of energy for our daily life here – are marketed under the Texaco brand in Ireland and we supply customers in the transport, commercial, industrial, domestic, marine and agricultural sectors.

Galway Plaza at night

Mechanical engineer

Although James is now Director of Operations for Ireland, his role has evolved with the company over the years.

“I’m a qualified mechanical engineer and held several roles in UK and Irish companies before joining Texaco (Ireland) Limited in 1992 as an Area Sales Manager. Over the course of the last three decades, I’ve been fortunate to have worked in all areas of our business – within Lubricants, Commercial Sales, Retail and Fuel Card, in both the UK and Ireland markets. Now, as Director of Ireland Operations, I hold responsibility for Valero business in Ireland.”

A renowned and respected history

Texaco has been a respected and renowned brand in Ireland for decades – and is proud of its rich and respected heritage in the country.

“Our Company presence in Ireland goes back nearly 100 years.  The company first came to the country as the Galena-Salena Oil Company (of Ireland) in 1924. Following the formation of the Texas Corporation in 1926, the company changed its name to The Texas Company of Ireland in 1929 and then to Caltex in 1951.

“In 1967 the company became Texaco (Ireland) Ltd. 2001 saw the merger between Chevron and Texaco which became the Chevron Corporation in 2007.  In 2011, Valero Energy Corporation acquired Chevron Corporation’s Ireland and UK refining and marketing business and the Texaco brand was licensed to Valero in these markets. Our Company and the Texaco brand has a long heritage in Ireland and Texaco products are renowned and trusted for their consistent high quality, reliability and performance.

Trust Texaco

The Texaco brand name is a renowned brand in Ireland.  Tell us about Valero’s presence in the Service Station market.

“Valero are not Retailers – we do not operate any retail stores. We are a Wholesale supplier of quality fuel to strong, independent Service Station Operators for their forecourt operation. Our focus is solely on the forecourt and the supply of quality fuel” explained James.

Iconic brand

“The Texaco brand is an iconic brand with immense heritage and is a brand which everyone knows and trusts.  Fuels orders are accepted at and routed by our Dublin based facility and we have an extensive fuel card business which our supply relationship brings to Texaco branded retail locations.  Our marketing programmes are designed to drive our brand deep in to the heart of local communities right across the country. We are focused and committed to the Irish market and see plenty of opportunity for further growth in the months and years ahead.

Quality fuel

“Any motorist filling up under a Texaco branded canopy knows that they are being provided with quality fuel and that they will also be able to avail of a quality store offering on site. And it is in the provision of the retail store offering that independent Service Station Operators excel and really show their strengths. With a high standard and quality store offering provided by the Service Station Operator and the strength of the Texaco brand on the canopy and quality fuels on offer, we see the combined offering as a very inviting and compelling one for the motorist.

“This is evident by the fact that five new service stations have joined the Texaco network so far this year, giving more motorists the opportunity to avail of this combined offering.

Retail team

“Our Retail team is a solid, responsive, relationship driven team that covers all 26 counties.  Each member is experienced and knowledgeable and very keen to do business. We invite any independent Service Station Operator that would like to discuss what the Texaco brand can offer their business to contact us directly.

Parkway Service Station

Corporate social responsibility

The company is a big supporter of sport and art in Ireland and clearly has a strong position on corporate social involvement and community engagement.

 “The Texaco brand has long had an involvement in corporate social responsibility and community engagement dating back to the 1950’s when the Texaco Sportstars Awards and the Texaco Children’s Art Competition sponsorships originated.  The Texaco Sportstars Awards, and the more recent Texaco Sports Bursary programme, have now evolved in to Texaco Support for Sport, an initiative through which we are providing €130,000 of funding to sports clubs across the 26-counties, irrespective of sporting discipline, size, membership, age, cultural appeal or gender.  This initiative, which is now in its second year, will return to the market in September to provide more clubs and their local communities with much needed funding and support.

 “In relation to our Texaco Children’s Art Competition programme, this is now in its 67th year and is the longest running arts sponsorship in Ireland.  It continues to support and encourage children through art across the island of Ireland, and is an initiative that Valero are particularly proud of and inspired by. It is something that is very personal to all those involved in this much loved programme” said James.

“As well as this, Valero also plays an active role in the life of the communities in which its employees live and work by volunteering to support a number of charities that are local to our operations.

Managing change

Fuel retailing is set to undergo major changes in the coming years – managing change will become increasingly critical.    And what of the future – when 2050 comes around and carbon neutrality is achieved, how will Valero have managed the challenges of the decades ahead?

“The one certainty in life is change, and our industry has been managing change for the past 100 years, and will continue to change and adapt as we go forward in to the future.  With environmental and climate change concerns and the urgency of these to the fore in more recent times, there is no doubt that the rate of change and challenges facing our industry are greater now than at any time previously. Government policy and legislative changes are now more frequent and society’s expectations is for our industry to play its part in addressing climate concerns.

 “Our industry’s aim is for Ireland to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 – that means fundamentally changing the way we do business and the liquid fuels we provide.

“Our society has used fossil fuels to provide cheap and reliable energy over the last century and reducing our dependence on these will take time. Research and data analytical firms are forecasting that road fuel demand will not see major reductions over the next decade, but it is from there on that we see noticeable reductions in volumes. But while radical change is not predicted in this regard over the next decade, this is not stopping our industry and Valero playing its part now” added James.

“Recently our industry has called on Minister Ryan to mandate the introduction of E10 which would see a reduction of 90,000 tonnes of carbon per annum. This would be in addition to the reduction of 330,000 tonnes of carbon that biofuel blending currently achieves.”

Valero is also working on reducing its own company carbon emissions.

“Valero is the world’s 2nd largest producer of corn ethanol, a clean burning high octane renewable fuel. We are also the world’s second largest producer of renewable diesel, a low carbon intensity fuel.

“Currently we are in the early stages of a large scale carbon dioxide capture and storage project that is expected to be capable of storing five million tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum. We will continue to change and adapt further into the future” James added.

Texaco Star Shines Bright

“While our industry and market will change, we will continue to grow our business and to expand the presence of the Texaco brand within this country, and particularly so in the retail market. Over the last 10 years we have had great support from independent Service Station Operators and have been privileged to supply many who have chosen to partner with us and have us as their forecourt supplier. Our goal is to continue to drive our business forward by continuing to support our existing partners and by welcoming additional partners to our network. And as we look forward to celebrating the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the Texaco brand to Ireland in 2024, our desire to grow our business is as strong now as it was nearly a century ago.

It seems the Texaco Star is set to continue shining brightly and strongly for motorists in this market for many more years to come.