NI oil stocks starting to replenish after high demand saw supplies run low

Trade association NIOF has confirmed that the temporarily low levels of oil stocks in NI after an unexpectedly high uplift of product have started to recover. Spokesperson David Blevings said: “We saw unprecedented demand for home heating oil during August as prices moved lower in the early part of the month and consumers sought to replenish stocks ahead of winter. However, this demand outstripped supply and distributors reported low levels of stock in early September.

Trade body, NIOF, confirms NI oil stocks are recovering after running low due to unexpectedly high demand

“Distributors must forecast expected demand months in advance and this unprecedented uplift in August has left us short of product.

“In normal circumstances, the ‘just in time’ delivery service from Milford Haven has worked well for NI consumers’ but this year we are seeing products arriving from all over the world due to the ban on imports of Russian products and this has put a stretch on local stocks.

A constantly changing situation.

“The oil industry asked the former Department of Enterprise back in 2016 to look at an emergency storage facility in NI to prevent this sort of issue arising but to date this has never been brought to the table for discussion,” David shared.

“Following this most recent event, we have asked the Department for Economy to review the Compulsory Stock Obligation (CSO) and its application to NI as given the high number of oil users here (over 60%) there is clearly a requirement for an emergency stock of kerosene to be held locally.”

Fuel distributors confirmed at the time that product was extremely hard to source with the unexpectedly high demand from consumers looking to take advantage of the price drop causing a short-term supply deficit. With distributors unable to source from their usual provider and seeking alternatives, fuel suppliers withdrew spot sales in order to ensure supply to their committed customers.

“The good news is that the shortage has turned out to be a short-term issue and product has been arriving in Belfast and Derry in recent weeks to replenish stocks,” David added.

Distributors have also confirmed that the situation, while still not great, is improving, with one commenting that, having been unable to source any kerosene at all earlier this month, they are now able to source from some suppliers.