Ampol petrol stations are set to return to suburban Australia after a two-decade absence, with Caltex announcing it will change its name after Chevron’s surprise return to the local fuel market.

Caltex stations are now run by ASX-listed Caltex Australia, which was using the brand name under license from Chevron.

But the company said on Monday the US oil and gas giant – which just spent $425 million acquiring Puma’s network of Australian petrol stations – had terminated their licensing agreement.

That will trigger both the need to rename the corporate entity, as well as the return of the “iconic” Ampol brand to Australian highways and street corners.

The Ampol name in Australia dates back to 1936, when the Australian Motorists Petrol Company was formed in response to Australians’ concerns about petrol prices and allegations of transfer pricing by foreign oil companies.

The Ampol brand name was phased out after a merger with Caltex in 1995.

Caltex Australia had, however, maintained the brand for its Singaporean operations, which couldn’t operate as Caltex as Chevron was using that brand in most markets outside Australia.

Caltex managing director Julian Segal said the company had already been planning a return to using the Ampol brand, saying the company’s market research showed it was still a trusted brand despite a long absence.

“Ampol is an iconic brand in Australia and reflects our deep Australian heritage and expertise,” said Mr Segal.

“Our market research confirms that Ampol continues to be regarded as a high-quality and trusted brand by Australian consumers and resonates across our key customer segments.

“The transition to Ampol also supports our evolution into a growing regional fuels and convenience business.”

Catex said its licensing agreement with Chevron provides for a three-year transition period, and the company will retain the exclusive use of the brand for at least two years – a six-month notice period and the first 18 months of a work-out period.

The transition is expected to cost Caltex $165 million. However, the transition should ultimately save Caltex $18 million to $20 million in annual trademark licence fees, which is in addition to cost-saving initiatives previously announced by the company.

Extracted from The Australian