Government acts on fuel crisis

pumping fuel

The government is to suspend competition law to enable fuel companies to share information and optimise supply across the country.

The announcement was made as many forecourts had run out of fuel following panic buying, while others were forced to introduce £30 limits for customers to avoid running dry.

Known as The Downstream Oil Protocol, the step will allow government to work with fuel producers, suppliers, hauliers and retailers to ensure that disruption is minimised.

The measure will make it easier for industry to share information, so that they can more easily prioritise the delivery of fuel to the parts of the country and strategic locations that are most in need.

Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, said: “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.

“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 minimised.

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

In a joint statement, stakeholders – including BP, Shell, Certas, 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.”