PETROLEUM MARKETING IN NIGERIA
An in depth survey of Petroleum brand marketing activities in Nigeria.
Marketing of petroleum products in Nigeria could be traced to 1907 when kerosene was first imported into the country through an agency agreement with Socony Vacuum Oil Company (now Mobil).Thus, Kerosene was the first petroleum product marketed in Nigeria, and Mobil had the privilege of being the pioneer in this business.
The business of petroleum products distribution/marketing as at today is dominated by six major marketers: Total Nigeria plc, Oando, AP (now Forte Oil), Mobil, Conoil, and Texaco now (MRS). These six majors form about 70% of the distributive trade while independent marketers take care of the rest. Of these six, Oando, Total, AP now (Forth Oil), Mobil, Conoil, are very significant in the selling of refined petroleum products and in the lubricants segment, offering products like Engine Oil, Motorcycle Oil, Grease, Generator Oil, and Cooking Gas etc.
By way of looking at activities of key players in the market, i embarked on an in-depth study. It was revealed from the study that the ways to stay afloat in the sector include aggressive media campaigns, pack improvements, customer service, CSR and face lift of outlet etc.
TOTAL NIGERIA PLC
Total Nigeria Plc formerly TotalFinaElf Nigeria Plc is one of the leading Petroleum Oil Marketing Company in Nigeria. This petroleum marketing company with RC 1396 was incorporated a private company on 1st June 1956, to market petroleum products in Nigeria. It became Total Nigeria Limited in 1967, and Total Nigeria Plc in 1978 after it went public in accordance with the Nigeria Enterprises Promotion Decree of 1977. Total Nigeria Plc commissioned its first Filling Station at Herbert Macaulay Street, Yaba-Lagos in 1956. Since then, the company has expanded its business through a network of over 500 retail outlets and corporate customers.
Range of Products
Total offers wide range of petroleum products such as petrol, diesel and kerosene. Other products offered include- Aviation Fuel, Bitumen, Lubmarine, Cooking Gas, Lubricants, Insecticides and Car–care products.
Engine Oil: Total Nigeria engine oil meets international specification. The engine oil is of various types namely:
- Quartz 9000 5W40-Fully Synthetic Multi-grade engine oil for petrol and diesel engines.
- Quartz 7000-15W 50- Semi-Synthetic Multi-grade engine oil for petrol and diesel engines.
- Quartz 5000- 20w50-Mineral based Multi-grade engine oil for petrol and diesel engines.
- Total-Classic SAE 40 (Motor Oil plus 40) – Mineral based Mono-grade engine oil for petrol engines.
Lubricants for motorbikes and Scooters include: 2-Stroke Engine Oil, 4 Stroke Engine Oil, and Keke Engine Oil.
Findings on Total Nigeria Plc
- It is currently one of the two largest suppliers of JET A1 Aviation Fuel to the Aviation industry in Nigeria at Lagos Airports (Domestic and International), Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt Airports.
- The “company stock” is the most sought after in the petroleum –marketing sector in the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
- The first company in the Nigerian downstream sector to introduce an electronic fuel card.
- The petroleum marketing company in Nigeria with comprehensive car-care products -from maintenance segment to protection and comfort.
- The most customer friendly filling stations in Lagos
- Most of their stations wear flamboyant look
- Enjoyed radio and TV campaigns’ in the last two months to further sustain awareness
- More involved in CSR activities in Skills Acquisition for Youths, HIV/AIDS and Malaria initiative programmes etc.
- Total has in some outlets an eating outlet “Total Kitchen.”
Oando started business as a petroleum marketing company in Nigeria under the name “Esso West Africa Incorporated, subsidiary of Exxon Corporation of USA. In 1976, the Nigerian Government bought interest in Esso and became a sole owner of the company and it was re-branded Unipetrol Nigeria Limited.
In 1991, Unipetrol became a public Limited Company and in February 1992, the company was quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. By 1994, Ocean and Oil Services Limited came on board to supply and trade petroleum products within and outside Nigeria-Gaslink.
In 1999, Unipetrol acquired 40% in the equity of Gaslink Nigeria to facilitate Gas sale and purchase agreement with Nigeria Gas Company. By 2002, Unipetrol acquired 60% in the equity of Agip Nigeria Plc from Agip Petrol International and in 2003; Unipertrol Nigeria, through a merger deal with Agip Nigeria Plc and was rebranded “Oando.” Today, the company has become one of the leading Petroleum Marketing Companies in Nigeria with subsidiaries in Togo and Ghana.
Range of Products
The range of products offered by Oando marketing include: Premium Motor Sprits (PMS), Automotive Gas Oil (AGO)- also known as Diesel) Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPR), Aviation Turbine Kerosene (ATK), Low Pour Fuel Oil (LPFO), Cooking Gas, Insecticide, Bitumen and Lubricants . Oando Lubricants otherwise referred to as Oleum is of high quality .The lubricants come in ranges of Engine Oil, Gear Oil, Hydraulic Oils and Greases.
The Oleum range of lubricants are available in pack sizes of 1Lt, 4Lt, 25 Lt, and 200 Lt to meet customers’ affordability, requirements and needs. Oleum lubricants are available in premium, medium, low; and are of different types such as- Oleum SM, SL, XL, HD, ATF DeX11, and GR/GRS. Oleum lubricants are internationally certified by American Petroleum Institute and have quality certification by International Standards Organisation (ISO).
Findings on Oando
- It is one of the leading petroleum marketing companies in Nigeria today
- It is managed by young vibrant Nigerians who have now positioned the company among the market leaders in petroleum business in Nigeria.
- It has very high level of spontaneous awareness owing to the high strategic marketing of its petroleum products and lubricants.
- Most of Oando outlets particularly in major Nigerian cities • now wear new outlook and their staff look smart in their new uniform. “Sky-blue shirt and light-blue trousers /skirt for men and women.
- It has enjoyed good brand publicity on print, radio and TV.
- It involves more in educational development and sponsorship • of Golf, Polo, Tennis and football among Nigerian youths.
AFRICAN PETROLEUM (FORTE OIL)
African Petroleum PLC now (Forte Oil) since 2010, started business in Nigeria in 1954 with the name British Petroleum, changed to African Petroleum Nigeria Limited in 1979. Remarkable achievements were recorded in the period 1991-1995 due to the promotion of its core brand Super V. Its main business includes marketing of refined Petroleum Products, such as Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly called petrol, Diesel, Kerosene, Gas appliances, Lubricants, Chemicals, pesticides, special products and also diversifies into real Estate.
Range of Products
In the lubricant section, (Forte Oil) is noted for brands like Super V, a mono-grade engine oil, Visco 2000 a multi-grade high performance motor oil widely noted for high quality. Others include Motorcycle Oil, Diesel Oil, Generator Oil and Multipurpose Grease. Forte Oil core brands include: Super V and Visco 2000
This is mono-grade oil which competes directly with Mobil HD SAE40, Total quartz 500. It lost some share of the market some years back but was re-launched with a tamper proof pack to check adulteration. Super V has been leading other brands in its category some years back owing to its perceived outstanding quality and high level of awareness.
This brand was launched into the market in 1994 having been delayed because of the problem of temper proofing. It is high performance multi-grade motor oil that competes directly with Quartz 5000 of Total Plc. It falls within American Petroleum Institute Specification with such additives that can combat sludge, minimize engine breakdown, and promote fuel economy. Other lubricants marketed by Forte Oil include- Motor Cycle Oil, Generator Oil, Diesel Oil and Multipurpose grease.
Findings on Forte Oil
It is generally seen as a quality marketer of petroleum products. It is only Mobil, Total and Oando that are perceived as a rival offering similar products
- It has very high level of spontaneous awareness owing to the high awareness level of its most popular brand “Super V.”
- Even though it is a very popular brand, Forte Oil is seen as a little more subtle on issues of brand publicity and good corporate citizenship image except during the rebranding in 2010.This is unlike Oando, Total which are a little more aggressive in publicity for their brands and flamboyant in the design of their outlets.
- Most of their stations and the popular Marina office-Lagos office have not been rebranded in the new Forte Oil colours as they still appear in old AP “deep green and yellow colours.”
- Prices offered by Forte Oil products are seen as quite competitive and commensurate with the quality of products offering. In most cases, they offer lower price than competition.
- Most people still know the brand with the former name “AP” which requires much campaign to step up public awareness with the new brand name (Forte Oil).
The story of Mobil Nigeria plc (MON) dates back to 1907 when Socony Vacuum Oil Company began marketing operations in Nigeria, through the sale of Sunflower Kerosene. In 1978, the company became a publicly quoted company and assumed its current name and status. . Mobil Oil Nigeria is engaged in the production and marketing of petrochemicals (Gasoline, Motor Oils, Lubricants, Marine and jet fuels. MON is one of the six major petroleum products marketers in the country. It has over 200 retail outlets located in all 36 states of Nigeria.
Mobil HD SAE 40-High Performance Mono-grade Motor Oil, Mobil Super SAE 20W-50 High Performance Motor Oil, Mobil Super XHP SAE 20W-50 Extra High Performance Motor Oil,Mobil Special 2T Mineral and Mobil Supper 1000.
Gear Oil: Motolube,-Mobil ATF, -Mobil 2 stroke (for motorcycle)
Findings on Mobil
- It is a quality marketer of petroleum products
- It has a very high pedigree of corporate social responsibility through scholarship scheme to undergraduate students in Nigeria.
- Single handedly sponsored the Nigeria/Mobil Track and Field Championship for many years.
- It has high level of spontaneous awareness owing to quality products.
- For some time now has not enjoyed aggressive media publicity.
Conoil began oil marketing operations in 1927 under the name Shell Company of Nigeria and later Shell Company of West Africa. It was incorporated as a private Limited liability Company in 1960 and registered with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) as a Public Liability Company in 1989.
In April 1975, the federal Government of Nigeria acquired 60 percent shares of the company through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the company became known as National Oil and Chemical Marketing Company. In t he year 2000,the Federal Government through the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), bought 40% of the company held by Shell company of Nigeria (Uk) Limited.
Following the privatization of the company, Conpetro Limited acquired 60 percent issued shares while the Nigerian public held the remaining 25.6 percent.
As part of a strategic move, the company in 2002 changed from its old identity National Oil and Chemical Marketing plc to Conoil.
Conoil is engaged in the marketing of refined petroleum products such as: Premium Motor Sprits (PMS), Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) also known as Diesel) Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPR) high quality lubricants, and gas for domestic and industrial use (GONGAS).
Quatro: Under this we have-Ultra-PremiumQuatro-HDX Turbow-Quatro Gerol EP 5W-140-Quatro Trascon ATT_Quatro C&B FluidQuatro
Quatro Industrial: Here, we have-Quatro Gorcon-Quatro Gerol EP_Quatro Gerol HD Quatro Adrale etc.
Golden Super: Here, we have-Golden super plus, Golden Super,-Golden Super 2T
Golden Super Diesel, Golden Super (New Improved Motor Oil Motor Oil SAE 40), Tro Tro Golden Super Motor Oil SAE 40, Golden Super Diesel SAE 40 and Quatro Heavy Duty Generator Oil 15W40.
Grease. This include: Quatro Grease EP and R; 2&3
Findings on ConOil
- Rewarded 11 distributors across the country at the company’s maiden distributors’ award night and launched two new lubricants “Quatro Heavy Duty Genset Oil” and Golden Super Generator Oil.
- Launched a special promo in 2012 to reward motorists using Quatro Ultra- the Promo, Tagged “Quatro Airtime Bonanza” guaranteed car owners as much as 5,000 Glo airtime recharge card whenever they purchase 4-litre gallon Quatro Ultra.
- Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) certified four of its Oil lubricants – Golden Super Motor Oil SAE 40, Tro Tro Golden Super Motor Oil SAE 40, Golden Super Diesel SAE 40 and Quatro Heavy Duty Generator Oil 15W40 to be high performance engine oil that ensures prolonged and troubled free vehicle and machine operation.
- Initiated door-to-door distribution of gas and lubricants • through branded motorcycles to homes and mechanic workshops under COSA (ConOil Services Associates) – aimed at improving the delivery of lubricants and cooking gas to consumers at affordable prices and as part of CSR.
- Most of their outlets have not enjoyed facelift
- Media publicity and support is low which has not given the brand enough spontaneous awareness among members of the public.
- Level of CSR is low compared to Mobil, Oando, and Total
TEXACO (MRS OIL NIGERIA PLC)
Texaco started marketing of petroleum products in Nigeria in 1913 under the Texaco brand name of CFAO a French multinational retail company. In 1964, Texaco Africa Limited stated direct marketing of Texaco products through service stations and kiosks. On August 12 1969, Texaco Nigeria Limited was incorporated as a wholly –owned subsidiary of Texaco Africa Limited. In 1978, 40% of Texaco Nigeria Limited was sold to Nigerian individuals and organisations by Texaco Petroleum Company following the indigenization decree.
In 2001, Chevron Corporation and former Texaco Nigeria plc merged and in 2006, the company’s name changed from Texaco Nigeria plc to Chevron Oil Nigeria plc; and in 2009, Chevron Oil Nigeria plc changed to MRS Oil Nigeria plc. MRS fuel products include: Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS), Automatic Gas oil (AGO), Dual Purpose Kerosene (KPO), Aviation Kerosene (ATK) and Low Pour Fuel Oil (LPFO).
MRS lubricants are segmented as follows:
Petrol Engine: -MRS Premier Xtra Formula, MRS Premier Super SAE 40, MRS Premier Motor Oil SAE 50.
Diesel Engine: MRS Stallion Xtra Premium 15 W 40, -MRS Stallion Diesel Super LA 40, MRS Stallion Diesel HD 40.
Greases: MRS Crystal Grease 3, MRS Crystal All Purpose EP 2 Automotive Gear Oil, MRS Motor gear EP 90,
Industrial Oil: MRS Turbo R&O, -MRS Hydro HD, MRS Gear box
Findings on MRS
- Sells more of Havoline than others
- Since MRS took over, most outlets now wear new look to attract customers attention.
- It has very low level of spontaneous awareness owing to the low level of media activities, sales promo and CRS programmes.
- It experiences low patronage compared to others
Competitive Activities of Brands
- It has gained high visibility for her brand as a result of the lasting value made about Quartz 5000- a multi-grade high performance motor oil.
- Total carries an image of doing business in a strategically location and classy outlets that attract high net worth individuals.
- The first company in the Nigerian downstream sector to introduce an electronic fuel card that allows the cardholder the opportunity to monitor and control fuel budget irrespective of location.
- This marketer has gained very high visibility for her brands through rebranding of their outlets to attract high net worth people.
- This marketer has gained very high visibility for her brands through rebranding of their outlets to attract high net worth people.
- It has one of the most vibrant customer centres where customers can call, visit or write to express views on quality of products and services offered.
AP (FORTE OIL)
- AP now (Forte Oil) is better known with its Super V brand. Visco 2000 is not really visible even though it is multi-grade and meets the API specification which is the market standard.
- Much has not been done to promote Super V brand and Visco 2000 and awareness level on them has dropped compared to the 90s.
- This marketer single handedly sponsors the Nigeria/Mobil Track and Field Championship which has become the greatest event in the nation’s athletics calendar for many years.
- Awards 500 undergraduate scholarship to student in Nigerian universities.
- For the past 15 years, Mobil has been the sponsor of National Quiz and project competition organized annually by Science teachers Association of Nigeria (STAN).
- This marketer in 2011 rewarded 11 distributors across the country at the company’s maiden distributors’ award night and launches two new lubricants”Quatro Heavy Duty Genset Oil” and Golden Super Generator Oil.
- Launched a special promo in 2012 to reward motorists using Quatro Ultra- the Promo, Tagged “Quatro Airtime Bonanza” guaranteed car owners as much as 5,000 Glo airtime recharge card whenever they purchase 4-litre gallon of Quatro Ultra.
- Initiated door-to-door distribution of gas and lubricants through branded motorcycles to homes and mechanic workshops under the COSA (Conoil Services Associates) – aimed at improving the delivery of lubricants and cooking gas to consumers at affordable prices.
MRS OIL NIGERIA PLC
- Apart from the fact that brand media activities was heavy during the 2010 rebranding, much has not been done in this aspect of late and in and other areas of competitive activities compared to other key players.
Total – Highly competitive with Quartz 5000, others doing well too.
Oando – Doing very well in the market.
AP – Super V still performs very well and was leading some years back. Current position is not certain yet.
Mobil – Could be doing well like other brands. Patronage is high
Conoil – more of Quatro
MRS – Does not have significant presence in the lubricant segment and level of spontaneous awareness and patronage is low.
Market Improvement Strategies
Following the partial deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry by the Federal Government in 2012, petroleum marketing among major players has witnessed serious competition such that to stay in business will require some strategic moves which may include:
- Aggressive media publicity/campaign
- Price review of products
- Improvement in outlets
- CSR activities
- Quality of products especially in lubricants section to give the best to consumers
- Robust customer care centre etc