Categorized | Featured, Local, News, Regional

Gas stations threaten shut down to influence price markup

DAVY HILL—The island’s two gas stations took a joint initiative to suspend services on Monday evening in a bid to affect ongoing negotiations between these fuel providers and the government. Motorists could be seen outside the stations on Monday evening—a national holiday—and again on Tuesday morning hoping to fill up at the pumps, but had to turn away since activities were on hold.

Osborne Service Station

Osborne Service Station, St. Peters

Chief among the grievances of the station owners is that despite adjustments in the fuel prices to reflect changes on the world market, the profit margin to provide the fuel to customers does not reflect any changes. This they argue make the stations unprofitable to operate.

“Both companies have taken this necessary step due to unsuccessful negotiations with the Government of Montserrat to address the cost issues which relate to margins set by the government,” John Osborne owner of Osborne Service Station in St. Peters explained in a statement issued on Monday night.

Acting Premier Delmaude  Ryan on Monday night met with Alford Lindsey, owner of A&F Gas station in St. John’s and arranged a meeting with the station owners carded for Tuesday, May 17 at 8:30 a.m. in an effort to resolve the matter. The gas station owners presented their problems during the meeting and government officials agreed to review these and come up with a workable solution.

A & F Service Station

A & F Service Station, St. John’s

Following that meeting the stations re-opened at about noon on Tuesday with the report that follow-up meeting take place in the not too distant future.

In defence to criticism from some quarters of the action taken by the gas station owners, John Osborne reportedly said, “Anyone who is quite happy to work for 6 months managing a business for an average of 94-100 hours per week without a single pay check can feel free to judge me however they see fit.”

The prices CARICOM nationals pay for fuel are among the highest in the world, with its fuel import bill for 2013 standing at US$9 billion, which means that Montserrat and the other CARICOM countries are paying significantly more for fuel than most other countries. According to CARICOM, some member countries have taken steps to reduce the tax on petroleum products during spikes to ease the burden on consumers. Suriname and T&T are the only members with direct subsidised petroleum prices.

The island’s local Petrol provider is Delta Petroleum, and local petrol retailers say they are unable to sustain business at the current rate, given that after factoring costs like compulsory insurance, maintenance fees to Delta for its pumps and an immovable profit margin, there is not enough for salaries. This the station owners hope will be remedied by government.

According to CARICOM’s energy policy the countries with the highest and cheapest fuel prices are as follows: (15 is the island with the cheapest fuel prices and 1 is the most expensive) Trinidad and Tobago 15; Guyana 14; St. Vincent and the grenadines 13, Dominica 12; St. Lucia 11; Grenada 10; Haiti 9; Montserrat 8; Jamaica 7; St. Kitts 6; Belize 5; Antigua and Barbuda 4; Bahamas 3; Suriname 2; Barbados 1.

Within CARICOM the demand and supply for gas is estimated at less than 1% of world demand and world supply and as a result the community has no influence on the world’s energy prices. The price of petroleum products in the region are volatile and subject to the vagaries of the international market and the most recent CARICOM study on the highest and lowest consuming countries within the region places Montserrat at number eight, with 15 being the cheapest country (Trinidad and Tobago) and 1 being the most expensive (Barbados). Placing between the two most populous countries in CARICOM—Haiti and Jamaica respectively–Montserrat stands midway with respect to its average fuel prices. Almost all of the country’s energy consumption is petroleum based.

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DAVY HILL—The island’s two gas stations took a joint initiative to suspend services on Monday evening in a bid to affect ongoing negotiations between these fuel providers and the government. Motorists could be seen outside the stations on Monday evening—a national holiday—and again on Tuesday morning hoping to fill up at the pumps, but had to turn away since activities were on hold.

Osborne Service Station

Osborne Service Station, St. Peters

Chief among the grievances of the station owners is that despite adjustments in the fuel prices to reflect changes on the world market, the profit margin to provide the fuel to customers does not reflect any changes. This they argue make the stations unprofitable to operate.

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“Both companies have taken this necessary step due to unsuccessful negotiations with the Government of Montserrat to address the cost issues which relate to margins set by the government,” John Osborne owner of Osborne Service Station in St. Peters explained in a statement issued on Monday night.

Acting Premier Delmaude  Ryan on Monday night met with Alford Lindsey, owner of A&F Gas station in St. John’s and arranged a meeting with the station owners carded for Tuesday, May 17 at 8:30 a.m. in an effort to resolve the matter. The gas station owners presented their problems during the meeting and government officials agreed to review these and come up with a workable solution.

A & F Service Station

A & F Service Station, St. John’s

Following that meeting the stations re-opened at about noon on Tuesday with the report that follow-up meeting take place in the not too distant future.

In defence to criticism from some quarters of the action taken by the gas station owners, John Osborne reportedly said, “Anyone who is quite happy to work for 6 months managing a business for an average of 94-100 hours per week without a single pay check can feel free to judge me however they see fit.”

The prices CARICOM nationals pay for fuel are among the highest in the world, with its fuel import bill for 2013 standing at US$9 billion, which means that Montserrat and the other CARICOM countries are paying significantly more for fuel than most other countries. According to CARICOM, some member countries have taken steps to reduce the tax on petroleum products during spikes to ease the burden on consumers. Suriname and T&T are the only members with direct subsidised petroleum prices.

The island’s local Petrol provider is Delta Petroleum, and local petrol retailers say they are unable to sustain business at the current rate, given that after factoring costs like compulsory insurance, maintenance fees to Delta for its pumps and an immovable profit margin, there is not enough for salaries. This the station owners hope will be remedied by government.

According to CARICOM’s energy policy the countries with the highest and cheapest fuel prices are as follows: (15 is the island with the cheapest fuel prices and 1 is the most expensive) Trinidad and Tobago 15; Guyana 14; St. Vincent and the grenadines 13, Dominica 12; St. Lucia 11; Grenada 10; Haiti 9; Montserrat 8; Jamaica 7; St. Kitts 6; Belize 5; Antigua and Barbuda 4; Bahamas 3; Suriname 2; Barbados 1.

Within CARICOM the demand and supply for gas is estimated at less than 1% of world demand and world supply and as a result the community has no influence on the world’s energy prices. The price of petroleum products in the region are volatile and subject to the vagaries of the international market and the most recent CARICOM study on the highest and lowest consuming countries within the region places Montserrat at number eight, with 15 being the cheapest country (Trinidad and Tobago) and 1 being the most expensive (Barbados). Placing between the two most populous countries in CARICOM—Haiti and Jamaica respectively–Montserrat stands midway with respect to its average fuel prices. Almost all of the country’s energy consumption is petroleum based.