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Boston Endures Gasoline Shortage for a Few Hours Source: Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News Publication date: 2000-08-16

Aug. 16--For a few hours yesterday Boston was on the brink of a gasoline shortage.

In the end, the emergency was relieved with the arrival of two ships and a coastal barge carrying fresh supplies of regular unleaded gasoline that had been delayed for up to two days by foul weather at sea.

The fact the episode occurred at all, however, underscored concern by analysts that Boston-area gasoline and heating oil distributors are keeping their tanks close to empty, fearing that a sudden drop in price could leave them holding expensive inventories.

The effects of such caution show up clearly in reports by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which show distributor stocks of gasoline in New England as of Aug. 4 were 31 percent below levels during the first week of August 1999.

"This issue of living on the margin is not new, but it looks like it has really caught up with New England," Ronald B. Gold, vice president of the New York-based Petroleum Industry Research Foundation, said in a telephone interview.

As many as five of the waterfront fuel terminals that line Chelsea Creek between East Boston and Revere either ran out of regular gas or rationed their limited supplies until, starting about noon, millions of gallons of replacement fuel began to arrive, according to managers at three of those terminals.

The managers, who asked to not be identified, said affected terminals included those operated by Gulf Oil, Irving Oil Co., and Global Petroleum Corp. Trucks awaiting fresh supplies formed lines that sometimes stretched onto Route 1A near Logan Airport.

Independent, "unbranded" gasoline retailers bore the brunt of the shortage. John Quinn, executive director of the Massachusetts Petroleum Council, said he was told that for several hours, Boston-area independent dealers could get gas only from Citgo in Quincy, or in Rhode Island.

Paul Lever, owner of an independent station on North Street in Wakefield, said his hauling contractor went to four terminals before finding one that would supply 9,500 gallons of regular unleaded gas and 1,500 gallons of premium fuel.

Terminal managers said fog and foul weather, related to Tropical Storm Alberto and a second coastal storm, slowed the arrival of vessels that were expected in Boston Harbor on Sunday and Monday. The National Weather Service said Alberto was winding down last night off Newfoundland.

But concern was intensified by the fact gasoline demand is at its annual summer peak. "There's a similarity here to the heating oil situation" in February, Gold said.

Quinn said a reduction in overall storage capacity in recent years also contributed to the problem. "I've been here 13 years," he said, and aside from supply worries during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, "I don't remember a situation like this."

The Coast Guard reported the tankers that arrived yesterday were the Mechanic Yuryev, which tied up in Revere about 1 p.m. with gas for both Irving Oil and nearby Coastal Petroleum, and the Friendly Lady, which went to the ExxonMobil terminal in Everett. The coastal barge San Juan tied at Gulf Oil in Chelsea.


-- Cave Man (, August 16, 2000


US Stock Shortage, Tropical Storm Help Push Oil Prices to Ten-Year Peak Source: Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News Publication date: 2000-08-16

Aug. 16--A severe stock shortage in the US, fresh manoeuvres by Opec producing countries and a tropical storm combined to push oil prices to a ten-year peak of $32.75 a barrel. That threatens fresh pain for motorists, but industry experts see prices staying quite high for six months or more.

Chartists, who predict prices based on momentum, are even talking of $40. But Saudi Arabia, which dominates Opec, will come under pressure to boost supplies again soon.

Tropical storm Beryl threatened oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico in US offshore waters. Several oil firms moved their staff from offshore platforms as a precaution.

Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's president, is stirring up turbulence of his own, touring Opec nations to shore up members" discipline ahead of the cartel's next meeting in September in Caracas.

Opec agreed in June to pump out extra supplies if oil stayed above $28 for 20 working days. But many of its members are already near to their maximum capacity. That puts the onus on the Saudis.

"US stocks are at a 24-year-low," says Alan Marshall at broker CLSA. "This was a problem waiting to happen. Opec is firmly back in control and if it wants high prices it can deliver them.

"I don't believe they want prices over $30 but they are quite happy for them to be over $25. Prices could still be $25-plus by year end and the risk is on the upside."

More petrol price rises will inflame UK motorists and complicate the US presidential election. For oil companies, though, cash is flowing in at record levels. BP Amoco rose 13 pence to 602 pence, Shell 8 pence to 566 1/ 2 pence, Enterprise 8 1/ 2 pence to 543 pence, Lasmo 3 pence to 133 pence. The shares have further to go. =cnniw&scategory=Energy%3AOil

-- Cave Man (, August 16, 2000.

should we stock-up??--is this our new-crisis?? where can we buy =the book???is there a web-site=forum yet??

-- al-d. (, August 16, 2000.

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