Liberty Petroleum to penetrate more of the Midwest and West

Multi-state fuel marketer Liberty Petroleum aims to connect the dots across the country in 2014, eyeing expansion in the upper Midwest and West Coast. 

Liberty, a privately held company founded in 2000 by three Mid-Atlantic petroleum distributors, has a network of more than 400 Liberty retail locations in 18 states from the Gulf Coast to New York Harbor, as well as the Midcontinent and the Pacific Northwest.

“While the lion’s share of our locations are on the East Coast, we also have locations in Kansas and Idaho,” Liberty’s COO John Patrick said.  “This year we will be making a push in the upper Midwest and have been in discussions for supply arrangements with new and existing suppliers on the West Coast.”

Since 2007 through the end of 2013, the company has averaged a 17% year-on-year volume growth per year, Patrick said.  Its monthly demand is about a million barrels a month or 500 million gallons a year.

Liberty attributes its growth to competitive pricing and secure, ratable supply.  Liberty distributors are sold on various programs depending on their location, as well as market structure.

As part of its expansion push Liberty has:

Exhibited at Western Maryland Petroleum Marketers Association national convention in February.

Hired Bill Wilkerson as Vice President of Marketing.  Wilkerson worked 29 years for Murphy Oil USA in various marketing roles.  He also managed all of Murphy’s domestic wholesale marketing along with the Meraux refinery’s residual sales from 2000-2011.

Added five new distributors last year.  At the end of 2013, it had 52 active distributors.

Signed a new distributor in the New Orleans market at the beginning of 2014, expanding beyond its current local distribution point in Convent.

Reduced its credit card fees for Liberty retail sites.  As of last June, the fee has been interchange pass-through plus 4.75cts per transaction.  The Liberty interchange pass-through for Visa and   

MasterCard last year averaged 1.38%.  Another plus: Distributors with just one Liberty station can use the Liberty credit card program at other sites that do not fly the Liberty flag.

In the past few years, Liberty has seen a variety of challenges in U.S. wholesale markets.  “You have to adapt and stay ahead of all these challenges and put hedges in place for protection,” Patrick said.

(Article take from Oil Express, Volume XXXV, Issue No. 10)