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Gulf Oil Acquires Brand Rights for Entire U.S.

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. -- Gulf Oil L.P., a wholly owned subsidiary of Cumberland Farms Inc., will be making a significant geographic brand expansion now that he company has acquired all rights, title and interest to the Gulf brand in the U.S.

The Gulf brand has been in existence for almost 110 years. However, for the last 20 years, Gulf-branded gasoline in the continental U.S. has only been available in an 11-state region in the Northeast through a licensing agreement between Gulf Oil L.P.'s parent company and Chevron U.S.A. Inc., according to a news release.

While specific terms of the new deal are not being released, Gulf Oil now controls the right to market the brand throughout the United States and its territories. This acquisition enables Gulf Oil to expand its use of the Gulf brand throughout the U.S. for the first time since it first acquired certain rights to the brand in 1986, the company stated.

Ron Sabia, Gulf Oil's president and chief operating officer, and Rick Dery, senior vice president and chief sales and marketing officer, will lead the expansion.

"This acquisition presents us with an extraordinary growth opportunity," Dery stated. "In September of 2005, we initiated an extensive overhaul of the marketing and business strategy surrounding the Gulf brand. Our objective was clear -- to enhance the brand value of Gulf and to restore the image and perception of Gulf to that of a premium gasoline retailer. Even though we operated regionally, we behaved as a national marketer. The effort has paid off. During the past two years, we have enjoyed unparalleled growth in overall station count, and we have overwhelmingly improved the quality and caliber of our entire retail station portfolio. Most importantly, the faith and acceptance of our branded distributors and dealers has validated that strategy."

Dery also affirmed that the renewed marketing effort has had an effect on the perception of Gulf outside of the limited geography. "We often receive unsolicited inquiries from gasoline distributors from around the country [desiring] to brand Gulf. It was heartbreaking to have to decline branding requests for stations simply because of where they were located," he continued. "Thankfully, those days are behind us. Not only are we now behaving 'nationally,' we are going to begin operating the same way."

Sabia is equally enthused about the company's new direction. "Gulf truly is an iconic brand with a long and distinguished reputation for combining quality petroleum products with outstanding service," he said. "We have worked incredibly hard over the past few years restoring the glimmer to Gulf. I am very fortunate to have surrounded myself with an amazingly diverse and talented team of professionals who live it every day. I share in their pride about now being a national brand, and look forward to expanding our network of supply and service to other regions beyond the Northeast base."

Framingham, Mass-based Gulf Oil currently distributes motor fuels through a network of more than 2,000 branded gasoline retail centers and 12 proprietary oil terminals.

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