The year started with the aftermath of the Buncefield oil depot disaster and a question mark over whether the terminal would ever be rebuilt. Greenergy International started construction of a £13.5m biodiesel product plant in Humberside.
Fuel supplies were back on track after the final quarter of 2005 dealt the industry one of the worst periods ever for fuel delivery. Pace Petroleum launched a new loyalty scheme; Northern Ireland’s Henderson Group announced significant investment in its forecourt business.
Forecourt Trader’s first ever Top 50 Indies list was unveiled with Graham Peacock, managing director of the Malthurst Group, in the number one position. The event was marked by a dinner to coincide with IFFE 2006.
Graham Sims relinquished his role as BP’s UK retail director. Hosepipe bans and non-essential use restrictions put a question mark over the use of car washes during the summer.
Shell was slammed for its ’cavalier attitude’ to pricing, which was putting extra pressure on other forecourts. BP trialled Ultimate 102 ultra-premium fuel while Texaco trialled a new group loyalty card.
As Drought Orders took effect, David Charman of Parkfoot Garages called for a campaign to ban roadside car washing. Somerfield said it would increase its brand presence on forecourts.
The drought continued and ACS argued the case against Thames Water, which had applied for a Drought Order for London and the Thames Valley. BP put its last remaining UK oil refinery - Coryton in Essex - up for sale.
Shell’s pricing was under attack again - this time with the PRA asking the OFT to look into it. Drought Orders loomed for 140 retailers in the Thames Water area.
Retailers were angered by proposals to cut jail terms for shoplifters; Catalist figures revealed that the number of forecourts had dropped to 9,626 for the second quarter of 2005.
Karl Brocklehurst of Westbridge Motors was named Forecourt Trader of the Year 2006. Texaco joined forces with the Federation of Small Businesses to urge people to use their local service station.
At its first dealer conference in five years, BP stressed its commitment to its UK dealer business. Total was under fire for the way it handled the re-organisation of its company-owned network. To combat bilking, a Leicestershire forecourt banned bikers from wearing helmets on his site.
BP rolled out its BP Connect/Wild Bean Café; franchise and hinted at an M&S franchise trial; Shell dealers were faced with extra costs for new pipework if they wanted to sell new V-Power diesel.