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Fuel Supply

Preparing for Storms: A Plan for Gasoline Retailers

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Whether you live in India and call them Cyclones, Asia and call them Typhoons, or North America and call them Hurricanes; powerful tropical storms have a significant impact on downstream operations for oil and gas companies and fuel (petrol) retail dealers. In 2012, oil and gas companies struggled to provide branded quality supply during super-storms like Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast US, Typhoon Saola in the Philippines and Taiwan, and Tropical Storm Son-Tinh in Vietnam.

What can retail fuel dealers do to prepare for the annual storm season?

  1. Prepare – Top up tanks before the storm arrives to reduce runouts (outages), improve fleet utilization by prioritizing deliveries to high volume stations after the storm and import more fuel in your depot to supply the market.
  2. Monitor – Central dispatch should have tools to alert stations with communication problems, outdated inventory readings, or low inventory levels so they can respond to the issues.
  3. Respond – The best plans change. Up to date information about traffic, flooding, and every station’s inventory levels and runout dates, allow central dispatch to adjust plans to manage priorities.
  4. Control – Flooding causes many problems including equipment failure and product contamination. Wetstock analytics identify faulty equipment and water contamination, preventing costly fines.  

When possible, pre-plan for fuel emergency preparedness in coordination with your supply team, depot managers or fuel supplier. Aspects of your plan should include communications, stand-by supply commitments, and forecasting downstream demand to ensure supply is available at the terminal. Remember to take into account the fuel needs of generators and other emergency backup systems that will be critical for operations if there is a power outage.

For retailers optimizing inventories, delivery schedules, or pricing by using fuel management solutions, most dashboards will offer multiple opportunities to adjust to potential supply disruptions and demand spikes. The continuous overlay of near real-time fuel information on solutions built around industry best-practices enables retailers to stay on top of any rapidly changing situation.

North America and Asia combined will have 80 to 100 named tropical storms per year with about 40 to 60 becoming a hurricane, typhoon or cyclone. Preparedness and a flexible central response plan are the keys to maintaining supply before and after the storm passes.


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