The fuel crisis in the United Kingdom is lessening, according to the oil sector, after the government deployed extra tankers and put the army on standby to drive trucks.
Fuel providers BP Plc, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, and Exxon Mobil Corp. said in a joint statement on Wednesday that there are “indications that the situation at the pumps has begun to improve.” “We are optimistic that the situation will improve in the following days.”
The UK government announced earlier in the day that it is sending its reserve tanker fleet to help with the problem that has wreaked havoc on the country’s gas stations. Army drivers would be deployed in “days,” according to Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.In order to enhance supplies, the government’s reserve tanker fleet will be on the road this afternoon, driven by civilians. On Monday, 150 Army drivers were kept available in case they were required. That might happen as soon as this week.
The fuel providers met with Kwarteng on Wednesday and stated they will “continue to cooperate closely with the administration to preserve regular fuel delivery.” After days of pandemonium in which lengthy queues of vehicles gathered at the nation’s forecourts, impeding traffic and inciting confrontations, the administration is attempting to resolve the fuel crisis.
On Sunday, more than half of the country’s petrol stations had gone dry due to the chaos. While politicians and retailers claim that the situation is improving, drivers continue to report difficulty getting fuel and long lines to buy it.
While a shortage of drivers has been the cause of the shortages until now, businesses have recalled some drivers from leave and are operating at peak capacity, resulting in some operators having more drivers than tankers, according to a source familiar with the situation. That is why the government has made its 80-strong reserve tanker fleet available, they added, adding that there is still a driver shortage in the industry. Hoyer, which supplies fuel to customers such as BP Plc, has a driver shortage of 50 trucks.
According to officials, around half of the 150 Army drivers on standby will be able to deploy this week if needed, with the rest requiring additional training.
The U.K. Petrol Retailers Association said on Wednesday that the number of stations without stock fell to about 27%, from 37% a day earlier. “We are expecting to see the easing continue over the next 24 hours,” said Gordon Balmer, the PRA’s Executive Director.
“The situation clearly is stabilizing,” Kwarteng said. “If we look at the inflows, the deliveries of petrol, they were matched yesterday by the sales.”
Storage of fuel at the U.K.’s forecourts is never at full capacity, even in normal times, when they are on average 46% full, the person familiar with the matter said. Last week, storage declined every day, reaching a low of 10% at the weekend, before increasing the past two days, they said, declining to say what the current level is.
Ministers have been battling to demonstrate that they have a handle on periodic supply chain snafus, with fuel shortages being the most recent example. Due to a 100,000-strong truck driver shortage during the pandemic, grocery shelves have been left empty.
Opponents of Johnson have claimed that the Brexit deal he made with the European Union has shut the United Kingdom off from the bloc’s seamless labor market, a claim that the government has refused. The government has indicated it expects shortages to ease once panic shopping stops, and it urged Britons to resume normal routines on Wednesday.
“We are working closely with industry to help increase fuel stocks, and forecourt storage is currently showing signs of stabilization,” a government spokesperson said. “We have plenty of fuel on hand and are optimistic that the situation will improve in the next days. The sooner we can all get back to our regular shopping routines, the better.”