Seminole Petroleum has placed a new eye on part of the business that isn’t the big tankers you see delivering fuel at Florida gas stations.
The Seminole Tribe of Florida Inc. board-controlled brand is working to boost its oil and lubricant business. It’s part of a strategy to increase its overall footprint and market share in the state.
The plan is led by Carol Begelman, Seminole Petroleum’s director of petroleum operations in Naples.
Begelman recently hired two full-time salespeople to spearhead the effort. One will cover accounts on Florida’s east coast and the other will focus on west coast clients.
“It’s kind of a new thing we’re focusing on,” Begelman said. “[We’re] starting to focus on the oil and lubes business in addition to the fuel part. We’re adding it to the mix.”
Seminole Petroleum has the potential to cover the entire state, but Begelman said accounts currently stretch from Tampa Bay to Key West.
“What we’re trying to do is get as much saturation as we can in our existing markets before we expand further geographically,” she said.
Begelman said expanding the oil and lubes business just makes sense. For example, if the company already delivers fuel to an asphalt processing plant, why not sell them the oil and lube products needed for their machines?
“There are existing [commercial] fuel customers that we may not sell the oil and lubes to. We could gain that business from them also,” she said.
Examples of the products are oils and lubricants for compressors, engines and gears. There are greases, industrial fluids, industrial gas engine oils, metalworking fluids, small engine oils, synthetic oils and railroad lubricants for sale.
The fuel business is still top dog – about 80 percent of Seminole Petroleum’s revenue, Begelman said.
Seminole Petroleum owns a fleet of fuel transport tankers and tank wagons. The company distributes regular and premium gasoline, aviation gasoline, low-sulphur clear diesel fuel and dyed diesel for construction equipment, generators and off-road vehicles.
Seminole Petroleum is in the third year of operation since a rebrand and launch in 2016. The board purchased Naples-based Evans Oil Co. in 2013.
The Naples bulk plant is equipped with fuel pumps for fleets and a dozen above-ground fuel storage tanks.
Trucks pick up product typically at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale and in Tampa. The company then stores the fuel in Naples for later delivery to customers.
Customers include the Tribe’s own gas stations in Hollywood, Brighton, Big Cypress and soon in Immokalee. Seminole Petroleum also services some Chevron gas stations, marinas, golf courses, construction and agricultural companies, hospitals and others.
Seminole Petroleum is a high-tech operation, too. It offers SMARTank – a wireless fuel monitoring system that allows its commercial customers to track fuel levels 24/7. The system provides an uninterrupted service with battery powered energy sources and cellular connections.
Seminole Petroleum operates in a very competitive market – but compete it does – said Begelman. She said the Tribe entered the space not only to generate revenue, but also as part of its strategy to be self-sufficient.
“The infancy [of acquisition and operation] is very expensive – [the] assets that are required to operate that sort of a business,” Begelman said. “Not anybody can jump in.”
Begelman has been in her position since 2016. She was there at the beginning during the transition period when operational control changed hands.
“We’ve had exceptional growth,” she said. “We’ve grown a lot, but try to grow responsibly and make sure we have assets and people in place.”
Seminole Petroleum employs 20 people between sales, drivers and office workers.
Seminole Petroleum is just one of the board’s brands, which include OWV Water, Jani-King (commercial cleaning and maintenance), Brighton RV Resort, Brighton Mining Operations and The BOL restaurants.
Other board enterprises include the Tribe’s cattle companies, Brighton Seminole Campground, Brighton Seminole Trading Post, citrus groves, credit and finance,Seminole Sugarcane, a cigarette wholesale and distribution center and retail smoke shops.
The Seminole Petroleum Naples facility is located at 3170 Horseshoe Drive South.