WHEN government's roll-out of the new ultra-low sulphur diesel (ULSD) fuel comes into effect on Monday, June 24, RUBiS Energy Jamaica will be ensuring that the needs of their customers are also met.
The petroleum company, which acquired the local assets of Shell in January 2013, will be making the eco-friendly diesel fuel available at 10 of its 53 islandwide locations.
"We're really excited about it, because it's a new area ... it's a new business and even though it's a small percentage of our business at this time, the customers want the new product," said Donald Gary, president of the Rockfort-based RUBiS Energy Jamaica Limited. "There is a need for this ultra-low sulphur diesel and we'll be leading the way in making it available to the market."
According to Gary, Shell service stations located at Gore Terrace, Liguanea, Manor Park, Water Lane and Windward Road in the Corporate Area; Howard Cooke Boulevard and Coral Gardens in St James; Caledonia Road in Manchester; Bridgehouse in Spanish Town, St Catherine; and Santa Cruz in St Elizabeth will be providing the new diesel fuel as of Monday.
An official launch, with energy minister Phillip Paulwell in attendance, is also planned at a Corporate Area service station on that same day.
A total of 28 stations were retrofitted for the project.
"We'll be purchasing the ULSD fuel from Petrojam, but regular diesel will still be available at all of our service stations," he said.
Gary, an American with three decades of experience working with oil firm Texaco, said RUBiS Energy Jamaica did not have to identify massive capital in order to make the ULSD fuel available to Jamaican motorists.
"There isn't much money involved. The decision was based more on strategic planning, because the infrastructure was already in place. We just had to convert the piping system, flush the systems and re-label some dispensers," he said. "We have dedicated trucks and dedicated systems to ULSD fuel."
He said, however, that as sales volume of the ULSD fuel increases, more resources would be routed in that direction.
He has cited the benefits of the new fuel to the environment and improved efficiencies for diesel vehicles.
"This is just a piece of our commitment to Jamaica, where customers wanting this product can access it," he said.
Available in first world countries, ULSD fuel has been refined so its sulphur content is 15 parts per million (ppm) compared to the high 5,000 ppm currently available on the market.
In February this year, minister Paulwell announced that ULSD fuel would be available at the Petcom service stations at Dunrobin Avenue, St Andrew and Portmore, in St Catherine by June 24.
The fuel will cost more than the regular diesel.
The RUBiS brand currently operates in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Bermuda, Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, and Guyana, the Bahamas, Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands.
Gary said an islandwide rebranding of local Shell service stations will commence before mid-2014 and will also see the introduction of some new products to market.
Gary, married and father of three, is on his second tour of duty to Jamaica. He was assigned here in the 1990s by Texaco. "My daughter was born in Jamaica in 1997," he said.