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TT Gas dealers asking UNIPET for higher margins

Roger Jacob

Herman Acuña, vice president of Ryder Scott, addresses the audience at the Ministry of Energy on Wednesday. 

By Clint Chan Tack / TT Newsday

Petroleumworld 12 02 2019

PETROLEUM Dealers Association (PDA) president Robin Narayansingh is hoping for an early Christmas gift from Finance Minister Colm Imbert of sustainable fuel margins for dealers.

While awaiting a response from Imbert, Narayansingh and Unipet CEO Dexter Riley said people do not need to worry about a disruption in fuel supply.

On October 30, Unipet gas stations and stations run by the PDA were closed as a result of concerns by the PDA and Unipet about the existing fuel margins.

After a seminar at the Courtyard by Marriot Hotel in Port of Spain on Wednesday. Narayansingh said the PDA met with Imbert on Tuesday.

"He expressly asked us to tell all our members that he will get back to us before Christmas with a definite answer," he said.

While dealers remain distressed about their economic situation, Narayansingh said, "We are holding on with some ray of hope that the minister would come back to us with something substantial for the petroleum dealers and the benefit of all citizens in TT, so that a fuel shortage or any disruption will not materialise or occur."

Narayansingh said dealers remain committed to ensuring a reliable fuel supply to the public.

Unipet CEO Dexter Riley said,"We are committed to allow that not to happen (disruption in fuel supply)."

On the issue of the margins, Riley said, "What we hope for is an economic margin which we calculated to be 20 cents per litre for every product."

The current margins are 14.5 cents wholesale and 17 cents retail (premium and super unleaded); 9.5 cents and 12 cents retail (diesel).

Riley said, "We don't want to be in a position where marginal adjustments are made and it's still not effective because it's not going to benefit anybody."

While the State is responsible for regulating the liquid fuel industry, Ali said, "The State is also a wholesaler and a retailer through NP."

He suggested consideration be given to an independent authority regulating the industry, instead of the State.

Recalling that gas stations used to open between 6 am and 8 pm, Ali wondered if things could go "back to where we started."

Arima Business Association president Reval Chattergoon, who is also a service station owner, said, "We are still treated as the bastard child in this equation."

He said small stations cannot compete with NP, which has over 100 stations, and many of them cannot accommodate QuikShoppes because of their size.

Chattergoon also observed NP suffered a loss of $22 million at the end of the last financial year, but still received $300 million in grants from the State.

He said small gas stations these are vulnerable to being attacked by criminals and have high security costs as a result.

"We are the collective agency for the State and we get the real horrible end of the stick," Chattergoon said.

He also claimed people are only buying fuel for essential trips.


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Story by Clint Chan Tack from TT Newsday
11 28 2019

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