Company Strength Touted as CITGO Marketers Meet in D.C.
Nov 11, 2004
WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 11 --- “The vision for the PDVSA / CITGO team is to play “the perfect game” in providing the necessary leadership to meet the future energy needs of the Western Hemisphere and beyond,” stated CITGO President and CEO Luis Marín in remarks to a gathering of the company’s top light oils fuels marketers conducted Nov. 11 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.
“Over the next 20 years, forecasted increases in world demand will require 40 million barrels per day of new refining capacity but the days of inexpensive, incremental expansions on the part of refiners in the U.S. are a thing of the past. To attract new grassroots investment, downstream margins must increase and our feet are firmly set on the road ahead to accomplish just that,” Marín said.
Marín’s comments, along with those of syndicated columnist and political observer George F. Will, were two of the highlights of the meeting. Overall, the two-day meeting consisted of information-sharing and events focusing on independent marketers representing many of the more than 13,000 independent gasoline/convenience locations flying the CITGO flag in the U.S. CITGO has long been committed to the marketer class of trade and the meeting underscored that allegiance.
“CITGO is continuously looking for new opportunities. Over the next four years we will be investing more than $2 billion,” Marín said. He explained that the focus of this investment will be heavily concentrated in the strategic expansion and enhancement of the company’s refineries as well as addressing regulatory requirements and environmental stewardship. “We are committed to the ‘CITGO model.’ The advice we give, the decisions we make will always be in your best interest because when you succeed, we succeed.”
Acting as master-of-ceremonies, CITGO General Manager Marty Sedlacek introduced other members of the company’s executive team representing the three primary links on the value chain for the marketers. Sedlacek provided commentary that helped put the messages in context vis-a-vis the marketers’ point-of-view. Chief Operating Officer Jerry Thompson provided insight on the CITGO roadmap for meeting the refining challenges of this young, new century while Vice President of Supply & Distribution Bill Hatch overviewed the company’s supply team commitment to provide “perfect game results” in reliability of product delivery.
General Manager, Marketing Services, Bill McCollough rounded out the General Session with a fast-paced presentation demonstrating how the CITGO commitment to listening closely to its customers—both trade channel and the consumer—results in an arsenal of aggressive, highly targeted marketing strategies and programs. Each program is designed for optimum flexibility in order to fit the specific needs of each individual marketer.
McCollough shared the new CITGO brand positioning message that emerged from recent research among CITGO marketers and consumers. The research probed for converging attributes both groups find attractive and compelling about the CITGO brand. The resulting knowledge contributed to new brand image ads that will roll out in the coming year which marks the 40 th anniversary of the CITGO brand. He went on to declare that this message would be driven home at street level through an advertising plan that draws heavily on hard-hitting regional/local media and traffic-driving promotions. CITGO marketers pool funds with CITGO to mount these programs in their individual regions and markets.
McCollough highlighted the renewal of the CITGO BASSMASTER Tournament Trail sponsorship via a recently inked five-year commitment and the significant brand exposure gleaned from the company’s advertising in ESPN’s popular “Race to the Triple Crown” series. A key marketing strategy for 2005 and beyond is CITGO’s Hispanic Marketing Initiative that seeks to leverage the company’s Latin American ownership to Hispanic consumers throughout the United States – a population which has grown 61 percent since 1990 and now wields an estimated $675 billion annual purchasing power.
And finally, the meeting ended with a tribute to the marketers’ significant fund-raising contribution to CITGO’s long-standing cause celebré , the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The company and marketer representatives presented a check totaling a record-setting $7.5 million at the recent Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon representing the top contribution from a corporation. McCollough stated that this accomplishment would not be possible without the help of the marketers and their retailers through their local fund-raising efforts such as Shamrocks Against Dystrophy and other events.
CITGO will hold a similar meeting among marketers from its Southern Region in New Orleans the following week on Nov. 17 and 18.
CITGO, based in Houston, is a refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals, refined waxes, asphalt and other industrial products. The company is owned by PDV America, Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
For more information, see CITGO’s website at www.citgo.com .