Fuel shortages that have plagued parts of Caithness and the North this week are set to end.
After being contacted by concerned constituents regarding the lack of petrol and diesel Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson contacted Energy Minister Jim Mather.
Mr Mather responded that the reason for the shortages were caused due to these reasons.
An unexpected shipping delay led to a stock out of fuel in Inverness early on the 28th of April. In that situation other suppliers (such as Simpson's oils) step in to help shore up the supply. However the supplier was having its own shipping vessel refitted.
The problem was exacerbated by essential maintenance at the Aberdeen terminal.
However the terminal at Inverness was restocked on the evening of the 28th April which allowed fuel companies to stock up and re-supply the North of Scotland.
Mr Mather said his office would monitor the situation until it returned to normal.
Mr Gibson said…
"I was contacted regarding this issue from concerned constituents Caithness. I right away contacted the Minister responsible who responded to me in very quick time. It is good news that the situation is well on it's way to be sorted.
"I understand that many people in Caithness were concerned regarding the fuel drought. My thanks go to Jim Mather who managed to shed light on what had been going on."
Letter from Jim Mather to Rob Gibson read:
29 April 2010
Thank you for your email regarding fuel disruption in around Caithness. My officials have been in contact with the Aberdeen and Inverness terminals and the other major suppliers in the area.
An unexpected shipping delay lead to Inverness terminal stocking out of gasoline on early on the 28th April. Given the 'just in time' nature of the fuel industry, this quickly lead to some stock outs at filling stations, including some of those around Caithness.
Shipping delays are relatively common and would not usually result in disruption as other suppliers, such as Simpson Oils, are usually able step in to fill any shortfall from their own surplus fuel stocks. However, Simpson Oil's are currently operating with a reduced surplus as their main shipping vessel, which is used to replenish their own supplies, is undergoing a refit.
The situation was also exacerbated by the fact that Aberdeen terminal was in the middle a planned stockout. Several such stockouts are scheduled every year, at traditionally quiet times, to allow routine tank maintenance to be carried out. Aberdeen terminal was restocked on the afternoon of 28th April and deliveries have resumed.
The Inverness terminal was restocked on the evening of the 28th April, when the delayed supply vessel docked and the various fuel distribution companies are once again able collect fuel from the terminal for distribution across Northern Scotland.
My officials will continue to monitor the situation with the industry and UK Government until the situation is returns to normal.