Industry reps gather for PRA Business Breakout
The Petrol Retailers Association held a successful Business Breakout session in Belfast this month – a welcome opportunity after many months for industry representatives to get together and swap notes.
It was a final visit to Belfast for Brian Madderson as chair of the Petrol Retailers Association when he took part in his final session there before his retirement.
Brian teamed up with his successor, current executive director Gordon Balmer, to meet with industry reps as well as conducting a round of meetings with various Stormont departments.
Among the representatives who gathered at the Crown Plaza for an update on the state of the industry were Gary Nicholl and Margaret Gallagher of Nicholl Fuel Oils, David Agnew of Henderson Retail Ltd and Richard Stones, Sales Market Manager with Circle K.
The Business Breakout took place in the immediate aftermath of the petrol panic buying crisis in GB, but the PRA noted that Northern Ireland had escaped a similar crisis as a result of its more resilient market structure.
In London there are now only 548 filling stations – one per 27,000 people, comparing with one per 3,300 in Northern Ireland.
Mr Balmer updated reps on the demographics of Northern Ireland’s market – of 571 sites, 61 are owned by the supplying oil company, 472 are dealer-owned and 38 are operated by multiples.
During the year, the PRA has been lobbying government over the Road to Zero strategy, ATMs and the future of cash and forecourt crime drive-offs.
It has also held a series of meetings with Stormont departments, discussing a variety of issues, including road fuels, organised crime, the introduction of E10, EV charging and the need to improve infrastructure, business rates and fuel laundering. The PRA also met with the PSNI to discuss forecourt crime.
Caption: Connor Fitzgerald of Musgrave NI; Margaret Gallagher, Nicholl Oils; Richard Stone and Andy Kavanagh of Circle K.