UK Activates Downstream Oil Protocol

UK Activates Downstream Oil Protocol
UK Businesses Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has agreed to implement a measure to temporarily exempt the fuel industry from the Competition Act 1998.

UK Businesses Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has agreed to implement a measure to temporarily exempt the fuel industry from the Competition Act 1998 for the purpose of sharing information and optimizing supply, following a meeting with senior executives from the sector, the government revealed.

Known as The Downstream Oil Protocol, this step will allow the government to work constructively with fuel producers, suppliers, hauliers and retailers to ensure that disruption is minimized as far as possible, the government noted. The measure will make it easier for industry to share information, so that they can more easily prioritize the delivery of fuel to the parts of the country and strategic locations that are most in need, according to the government.

The decision follows recent supply chain issues at petrol forecourts in some areas of the UK, the government highlighted. It also comes after a package of measures were announced over the weekend which will see the government ease temporary supply chain pressures. These include an immediate increase in HGV testing, short term visas for HGV drivers and new skills bootcamps to train up to 3,000 more people to become HGV drivers.

“We have long standing contingency plans in place to work with industry so that fuel supplies can be maintained and deliveries can still be made in the event of a serious disruption,” Kwarteng said in a government statement.

“While there has always been, and continues to be, plenty of fuel at refineries and terminals, we are aware that there have been some issues with supply chains. This is why we will enact the Downstream Oil Protocol to ensure industry can share vital information and work together more effectively to ensure disruption is minimized,” he added.

“We thank HGV drivers and all forecourt staff for their tireless work during this period,” Kwarteng continued.

In a joint statement, stakeholders - comprising Fuels Transport and Logistics (FTL), Greenergy, Wincanton, Shell, Certas, XPO, UK Petroleum Industry Association (UKPIA), Association of Convenience Stores and ExxonMobil - said, “we are in regular contact with government ministers and policy officials and it was reassuring to meet with the business secretary again on Sunday evening and discuss further action”.

“We will continue to work closely in partnership over this period with local and national government and want to reassure the public that the issues that have arisen are due to temporary spikes in customer demand, not a national shortage of fuel,” the stakeholders added.

Fuel Supply Issues

In a statement posted on its website on September 24, BP noted that it was experiencing some fuel supply issues at some of its retail sites in the UK and that it had therefore seen some sites temporarily close due to a lack of both unleaded and diesel grades.

“These have been caused by some delays in the supply chain which has been impacted by the industry-wide driver shortages across the UK and there are many actions being taken to address the issue,” BP said in the statement.

“We continue to work with our haulier supplier to minimize any future disruption and to ensure efficient and effective deliveries to serve our customers. We are prioritizing deliveries to sites with largest demand and seeking to minimize the duration of stock outs … We apologize for any inconvenience caused,” BP added in the statement.

To contact the author, email andreas.exarheas@rigzone.com


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