UK fuel shortages worsengreenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
Monday, 11 September, 2000, 04:49 GMT 05:49 UK UK fuel shortages worsen
Main refineries and depots targeted across the UK
Supplies of petrol and diesel in some regions of the UK are running low as the blockade of refineries and distribution depots continues in protest at fuel prices. The campaign, which began at the Stanlow refinery in Cheshire last week, intensified over the weekend. Six of Britain's nine refineries are now affected along with four of the main distribution depots.
Shell has announced that 100 of its garages in the North West have run dry and the company warned that all its petrol stations in the region may be empty by Tuesday.
Filling stations in Northumbria, Yorkshire, North Wales and the South West have also been affected, prompting long queues and fuel rationing at some outlets.
Running dry: Petrol rationing at one York garage Trades unions, meeting in Glasgow for their annual conference, have turned up the pressure on the government over fuel prices.
The leader of the engineering union, the AEEU, Sir Ken Jackson, called on ministers to cut duties on petrol and diesel.
The test of the blockades will come on Monday morning with the authorities' response to the protests varying from site to site.
Police at the Trafford distribution depot in Manchester have stopped demonstrators using vehicles to close the site - only allowing pickets to approach the gates on foot.
Fishermen join protest
Lorry operators are expected to target choke points on the roads around Edinburgh as the Monday rush hour gets under way.
Later, fishermen will join the demonstrations for the first time when they target oil company operations in Plymouth as part of a joint protest with farmers and haulage contractors.
Drivers say rising fuel prices will drive them out of business Fresh action by hauliers was launched on Sunday at the giant oil terminal at Immingham on the Humber estuary and protesters also closed the country's largest inland oil terminal, at Kingsbury in the West Midlands.
Roy Holloway, director of the Petrol Retailers' Association, said: "It is not critical by any means but it is getting worse. If these actions continue into the early part of next week there will be severe difficulties."
French blockades end
The campaign escalated as it was announced that all blockades at France's refineries and depots had been lifted after a deal between government and unions.
At the same time the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) announced the pumping of an extra 800,000 barrels a day to bring down petrol prices - but without a timetable for when the extra fuel might come on line.
The government insisted "there is no quick fix", blaming high petrol costs on increased oil prices.
But campaigners remain defiant. A spokesman for hauliers protesting in Manchester, Roy Masterson, said: "We are doing this for the people of Great Britain."
"We will not be competitive in Europe or anywhere else if we have the highest transportation costs in the world."
-- Martin Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 11, 2000
No time table for the increased production to start? I wonder why.
-- Wellesley (email@example.com), September 11, 2000.
That is curious, isn't it?
-- LillyLP (lillyLP@aol.com), September 11, 2000.
I believe much of their previous, supposed export increases over the past six months haven't been met either. I wonder what's going on. There's certainly much more than is being made public.
-- Chance (fruitloops@Hotmaill.com), September 11, 2000.
I'd guess that their lack of new drilling is now catching up to them....didn't somebody say on these boards that new drilling was cut 25% last year?
That's a heap, and what with Russia announcing no new exports, and Iran in deep internal trouble over its infrastructure, plus Nigeria's and other OPEC countries big internal problems, there's no easy, quick answer.
I believe OPEC is trying to cover something up.
-- R2D2 (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 11, 2000.
Monday September 11 3:08 PM ET Thousands of UK Filling Stations Run Dry
By Keyvan Hedvat
LONDON (Reuters) - Thousands of UK filling stations have run out of key grades of petrol and diesel amid nationwide blockades at refineries, terminals and depots, and panic buying by motorists, oil firms said on Monday.
Britain's leading petrol retailer, Esso, said over 300 of its 1,600 sites had run out of petrol and diesel.
BP Amoco, Britain's second largest retailer, said that 40 percent of its petrol stations nationwide, or 600 out of 1,500, sites had run out of product -- mostly premium unleaded and diesel fuel.
The figure has grown from an estimated 160 earlier in the day.
A spokeswoman for the company said action had spread to BP Amoco tanker loading terminals at Coryton in Essex, South-East England, Kingsbury in the Midlands, Hamble on the South coast and Grangemouth in Scotland.
Royal Dutch/Shell, said some 330 of about 1,100 petrol stations had been hit.
Shell's sole UK refinery at Stanlow in Cheshire, northwest England, has been blockaded by pickets since late Friday.
Over a third of petrol stations run by Texaco, 350 sites out of 957, have also run dry or are very close to doing so.
And TotalFinaElf said 50 percent of its 1,400 retail sites would be dry by Monday night. The company's Milford Haven refinery in south Wales has been blockaded since Friday by hauliers and farmers angry with rising fuel prices.
Britain vowed to stand its ground on Monday in the face of the mounting protests against high fuel prices.
In contrast to France's handling of its fuel demonstrations, the Labor government said it would not be bullied into cutting energy taxes and expected police to intervene to ensure that petrol flowed to the pumps once again.
Prime Minister Tony Blair, anxious to avoid a repeat of chaos in France which led to a government climbdown, told a business meeting in Loughborough, central England, protesters were misdirecting their anger.
``We cannot and we will not alter government policy on petrol through blockades and pickets. That is not the way to make policy in Britain,'' Blair said.
High taxes ensure Britons already pay more for their petrol than the rest of Europe -- about $1.21 a liter -- yet prices have risen further due to a surge in world oil prices.
Despite the protests, TotalFinaElf said that most product had been able to leave its Milford Haven refinery by sea, pipeline or rail.
According to government data published last year, only 5.1 percent of oil products are moved by road to domestic destinations, 45.5 percent is transported by inland waterways and another 36.4 percent by coastal tankers.
-- Martin Thompson (email@example.com), September 11, 2000.