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Texaco Revived

SAN FRANCISCO -- ChevronTexaco Corp. yesterday said it would reclaim one of the oil industry's best-known brand names and start selling Texaco gasoline at its convenience stores in another two years.

ChevronTexaco plans to begin marketing the Texaco brand and its star shaped logo throughout the United States on July 1, 2004, when two exclusive licensing agreements expire.

"The Texaco brand has a worldwide reputation as a symbol of quality products and customer service, and it has been one of the most recognized brands in the United States for more than 90 years," said Dave Reeves, ChevronTexaco's president of North America Products. "We currently market Texaco branded motor fuel in Europe, West Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. We also sell Texaco-branded lubricants and aviation fuels here in the U.S. and worldwide. Consequently, we eagerly look forward to also offering the Texaco gasoline brand to retailers and consumers in the United States."

Rights to the Texaco banner are currently held by a partnership of Royal Dutch/Shell Group and Saudi Refining Inc. ChevronTexaco gave up exclusive rights to the banner in the United States when Texaco sold its interest in two oil refining ventures to Shell and Saudi Refining in a $3.86 billion deal. That deal helped clear the way for Chevron's purchase of Texaco last year.

Shell and Saudi refining will hold exclusive rights on the brand until July 1, 2004 and nonexclusive rights until June 30, 2006. Shell has previously said it will spend $500 million to stamp its own brand on thousands of gasoline stations it bought from ChevronTexaco. Last year, Shell launched a $500 million rebranding project to put its own brand on roughly 90 percent of the 13,000 Texaco stations it acquired as part of the deal, while about 10 percent will be closed, it has said in the past.

Shell said it anticipated ChevronTexaco's decision.

ChevronTexaco did not disclose details of its rebranding plans, but said it has notified antitrust regulators of its decision to start marketing Texaco gasoline.

"Chevron and Texaco are both premium quality brands, and together will position our company as a premier marketer of gasoline and lubricant products in the United States," Reeves said, adding the company would continue to market premium fuels and retail convenience goods and services through its Chevron brand. "With a credit card, advertising and high quality fuels and products," he said, "we believe that offering the Texaco brand in the future will continue to give retailers and consumers yet another choice that they know and trust."

In the United States, the company currently markets gasoline under the Chevron brand at 8,100 retail outlets in 28 states, and operates six refineries.
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