Greenergy, the UK’s leading supplier of petrol and diesel, has today announced the start of petrol and diesel sales from its new tankage and distribution facilities in Cardiff. This follows completion of an 18-month project to refurbish an existing site and construct new tankage and rail facilities.

A shipment of crude oil is now being discharged at the beleaguered Coryton refinery in Essex, easing the threat to fuel supplies for a few more days.

MFG joins RMI Petrol

31 January, 2012

Top 50 Indie Motor Fuel Group (MFG) has joined RMI Petrol and signed up to the Big Oil service across its entire network.

Gerald Ronson is planning to expand his network by bidding for a collection of Welcome Break motorway service stations put up for sale by property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz.

Top 50 Indie Roadside Group has revamped its site at Newcastle International Airport with a Nisa Local-branded forecourt store.

Tesco has launched a 10ppl fuel promotion today – its biggest ever in terms of straight spend.

Jet has responded to negative feedback about its alleged failure to plan for the expected tanker driver strike by opening up communications with dealers.

The government has been urged to step in to ensure continuation of fuel supply from Petroplus’ oil refinery in Coryton, Essex, which supplies 20% of road fuels in London and the Southeast.

There is no reason for the current tanker drivers strike which is hampering fuel deliveries to 380 Jet dealers, according to Chris Kingshott, managing director for manufacturing at Wincanton.

Jet’s retail marketing manager Patrick Hudson is leaving ConocoPhillips after nearly 28 years with the company – including 10 years in his current role.

Top 50 Indie Petrogas is growing its UK network with the acquisition of seven freehold and leasehold sites from Shell, and disposed of two sites to the oil company in the same deal.

Troubled oil refiner Petroplus Holdings AG, Europe’s largest independent oil refiner and owner of the Coryton oil refinery in Essex, is to file for insolvency, following a failure to reach agreement with creditors to extend loan repayment deadlines.

Boyzone’s Shane Lynch has launched a new efficient driving campaign by leading fuels and convenience retailer Topaz.

Contingency plans are in place at ConocoPhillips depots around the country as strike action threatens fuel deliveries. The company said Wincanton tanker drivers – who launched seven days of strike action this morning – accounted for around 20% of the delivery drivers that use the ConocoPhillips terminals.

ConocoPhillips has let Jet dealers down by failing to plan for strike action by Wincanton tanker drivers, according to Top 50 Indie Brobot Petroleum.

Fuel supplies will be hit when seven days of strike action gets under way from dawn tomorrow (Tuesday 24 January). Oil tanker drivers, employed by the road haulage firm Wincanton, are set to walk out in the dispute over attacks on workers' pay, terms and conditions, as the company proposes to slash pay by up to 20 per cent and downgrade workers' pensions, according to Unite, the country’s biggest union.

A campaign to cap the annual business rates increase at 2%, in line with Government targets for inflation, is being launched by the ACS today.

The My Shop is Your Shop campaign is looking for local shops with a track record in community engagement to put themselves forward for the MSYS Community Retailing Award.

Calanike Retailing boss Kenny Webster is “absolutely furious” with Allied Irish Bank (AIB), following its shock decision to put his petrol retailing group into receivership, at the same time as placing his drinks manufacturing business – Sangs – into administration.

Forecourt flasher convicted

19 January, 2012

A forecourt flasher who was caught running naked from a petrol station after terrifying a woman driver has been convicted.

Some Eastern European hauliers are allegedly welding extra tanks to their tractor units to bring cheap diesel into the Southeast and sell it on the black market.

Spar’s Pentwyn forecourt store has successfully bucked the trend during the traditional January slump by replacing its festive display with a full S-Budget range, according to store manager Christine Lewis.

Despite the strains on the consumer purse, the increasing high-street presence of small-format supermarkets and the summer’s social unrest, the independent convenience retail sector continued to hold its own in 2011, says Christie + Co’s Business Outlook 2012.

John Williamson has been appointed as the new chief executive of Topaz, Ireland's largest fuels and convenience retailer. The announcement was made today by the company's chairman, Neil O’Leary.

Shell has signed a card acceptance agreement with Valero Energy to offer euroShell card customers the opportunity to fill up at UK Texaco-branded sites.

New figures showing the increasing cost of retail crime and the alarming increase in reported verbal and physical abuse of retail workers are evidence of the need for government, Police and communities to take retail crime seriously, says the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS).

Shell and flexible workspace provider Regus have announced the trial of a joint programme that could see Regus business lounges open at Shell petrol forecourts on motorways across Europe.

Residents of Kielder in Northumberland are celebrating after hearing about plans to re-open the area’s only petrol station. It closed in 2008, leaving the residents with a 35-mile round trip to get fuel.

Thieves abandon stolen ATM

16 January, 2012

Thieves used a stolen pick-up truck to make off with an ATM from a Wirral forecourt. The incident happened at the BP garage in Spital in the early hours of Friday, January 12. Officers were called to the site on Brimstage Road at around 1.35am.

Glasgow-based Top 50 Indie Calanike Retailing Ltd, founded by managing director Kenny Webster in 1998, is in receivership, and seeking interest from potential buyers.

Top 50 Indie Petrogas has signed a 20-year lease agreement to operate former Forecourt Trader of the Year Jonathan James’ two sites in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire.

Research from YouGov’s Mobile Wallet study reveals low awareness and usage rates for contactless card technology, indicating that banks and retailers need to do more to increase usage of the technology, according to the study.

Top 50 Indie the Carsley Group is supporting the ‘Help for Heroes’ charity across its network with a raffle to give away three mountain bikes.

Nisa has announced a year-to-date sales increase of 3.1% for the 39 weeks from April 2011 until December 2011, driven by existing members purchasing an increasing amount of products through Nisa’s Central Distribution Services (CDS).

The Treasury has confirmed that the 5ppl relief on fuel purchases as part of the rural fuel duty rebate scheme that kicks off on March 1 does not include VAT.

Last year was a tough one for fuel and convenience retailers, and 2012 is unlikely to be much better," said Neale Smither, BP's UK supply and retail manager, as he considered the year ahead.

The year ahead

10 January, 2012

Happy New Year to you all, and no prizes for suggesting it's going to be a difficult one! Trading conditions are tough and everyone's got to be at the top of their game, with many facing some hard decisions. Fuel prices will continue to be a battleground. Predatory pricing and fuel duty will be ongoing contentious issues. RMI Petrol is already preparing its armoury for lobbying the government. Chairman Brian Madderson has put together an excellent paper on the case for reform of UK fuel taxation. In it he states that the damaging consequences of high fuel taxation are becoming clear for all to see, particuarly from the social justice aspect as fuel tax unfairly penalises the lower income earners and rural communities. He talks about the economic malaise as businesses close or restrict investment and limit employee recruitment. There's also the issue of diminished tax revenues as declining fuel demand costs £3.25 billion a year. Among other things there's the crime increase as fuel laundering and other criminal activity costs upwards of £1bn a year in lost taxation.

RMI Petrol has kicked off the New Year by writing to the Chancellor with a Briefing Paper urging reform of fuel tax ahead of the deferred duty increase on August 1.

New team moves in at MFG

10 January, 2012

Murco's retail marketing director Jeremy Clarke is moving to the Motor Fuel Group as managing director, and taking other Murco executives with him, including dealer sales manager Jim Mulheran. Meanwhile Top 50 Indie Sej Sejpal said he is feeling "on top of the world" following the sale of his shareholding in the Motor Fuel Group (MFG). MFG, one of the UK's leading independent forecourt operators with around 60 sites, has been acquired by a new management team, headed by chief executive officer, William Bannister. Scottish Capital Group was involved in the acquisition. Sej's co-directors Sharad Raja and Tony Head have also sold up. The deal was completed just before Christmas. "They made us an offer we couldn't refuse," said the elated Sej. "Negotiations began two and a half years ago, and resumed last year. We've been doing this for 30 years and didn't want to pass up the opportunity. Initially I wondered if I'd done the right thing. But now I feel great. I have retained a handful of sites, now leased to BP."

Harvest Energy at FFE 2012

10 January, 2012

Harvest Energy will be hard to miss at this year's Forecourt and Fuel Equipment show at the Birmingham NEC on March 25-27 this year, as the company is sponsoring the entrance to the exhibition. It also has a stand (J40).

Bishop Retail sold

10 January, 2012

Top 50 Indie Bishop Retail has been sold to to KSC Worldwide Ltd, following completion of a deal with the Stamford Group. The sale will see KSC take ownership of the nine sites in the North East of England trading under the Harvest Energy and Mace brands.

Ronson awarded a CBE

10 January, 2012

Drivers will cut car use

10 January, 2012

Petrol sales, which were down 2.4bn litres in the first nine months of 2011 compared to 2008, look set to collapse further in 2012, according to a new report by the AA.

in brief

10 January, 2012

Rebate registration

The new Fuel Vapour Recovery Stage II EU directive came into force on January 1, 2012, following consultations with local authorities and industry bodies, in particular RMI Petrol. Environment minister John Taylor confirmed that the new requirements would apply to all but the smallest new petrol stations from this year; to larger existing petrol stations from the end of 2018; and to most existing petrol stations that undergo any major refurbishments also from this year.

BOSS has launched a pioneering project with Strathclyde Police to help fuel retailers in rural communities tackle crime on their sites.

James Lowman

10 January, 2012

Predictions are a fraught business, particularly when they concern politics. Last year brought events that none of us were expecting, chief among them were the August riots. This year will surely throw up more surprises, but this is my view on some of the landmark announcements in our sector that will dominate over the coming year.

Starbucks will open 200 new drive-thru outlets in the next five years 100 of which will be operated under licence by Top 50 Indie Euro Garages.

Allstar sold to FleetCor

10 January, 2012

Arval UK has announced the sale of its AllStar fuel card business to FleetCor Technologies, a leading independent global fleet card provider, for £194m.

What's in store?

10 January, 2012

This coming year will see the growing trend towards market consolidation, according to Adam Wadlow, partner at property specialist BarberWadlow.

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About the Forecourt Trader Group
Forecourt Trader continues to maintain its market-leading position as the major source of information for the petrol-retailing sector.

Targeted at independent retailers, all those connected to the industry seek out Forecourt Trader (magazine and website) for its strong mix of news, industry and retailer profiles, as well as scheduled features that cover all categories of a service station operation at length, on both the forecourt and shop side of the business. ...more »