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WIPL deepens distribution deal with BP

Regional energy company West Indies Petroleum Limited, WIPL, is deepening its exclusive ties with oil giant BP Plc, formerly British Petroleum.

Through its subsidiary Island Lubes Distributors Limited, WIPL has an exclusive contract to be the distributor for Castrol’s GME division — global marine and energy — to market lubricants to the marine and power generation sectors in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands over the next three years.

Castrol is a subsidiary of BP.

WIPL acquired Island Lubes in 2019 for an undisclosed amount. It already has a deal to distribute BP finished petroleum in any amount up to 100,000 barrels to 31 countries throughout the region. A barrel is equal to 159 litres, or 42 US gallons.

Now, the new WIPL subsidiary has an exclusive arrangement to distribute Castrol marine lubricants, for which the contract was signed recently at the BP/Castrol head office in Houston, Texas.

“We were supplying it (lubricants) before, and what we’ve won is exclusive distributorship,” said WIPL Senior Vice-President Danville Walker, adding that the arrangement complements WIPL’s ship bunkering business.

“We are the only people in Jamaica that can supply Castrol lube oil to those ships,” he said.

The exclusive arrangement is only for Jamaica and Cayman Islands, but Walker said WIPL’s next step is to win the exclusive rights for supplying other countries in the region.

Ships that spend days or weeks at sea must rely on massive engines that are more than two storeys high and as long as a house. The section containing the lubricating oil, the sump, depending on the type, has a capacity of anywhere over 200 gallons, or about 20 cars with their tanks full. Because of the scale and complexity of these operations, the type of lubrication used has to meet exacting requirements at a high grade and in very large amounts.

Castrol and Mobil are said to be the brands in high demand.

“These are the brands that ships alone will buy, Castrol and Mobil. They don’t buy just any fuel or any oil, and Castrol is one they will accept without question,” Walker said.

West Indies Petroleum has two installations, Port Esquivel, with a capacity of 650,000 barrels, and the North Terminal near the resort town of Ocho Rios, with a capacity of 65,000 barrels. Through North Terminal, WIPL is capable of supplying cruise ships with fuel through a shore-to-ship or ex-pipe transfer. Walker says there are plans to expand that type of operation to other locations in the region.

He declined to comment on the investment to be made.

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