By Jaime Llinares Taboada

 

The U.K. government has exempted the fuel-retail industry from a competition law to ease the supply issues affecting the country's petrol stations, as BP PLC confirmed that one-third of its U.K. network had run out of fuel.

After a meeting with industry executives, the government on Sunday agreed to temporarily exempt companies from the Competition Act 1998 for sharing information and optimizing supply.

"While there has always been and continues to be plenty of fuel at refineries and terminals, we are aware that there have been some issues with supply chains. This is why we will enact the Downstream Oil Protocol to ensure industry can share vital information and work together more effectively to ensure disruption is minimized," Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said.

In a statement distributed on Sunday, BP confirmed that around 30% of its U.K. sites didn't have either of the main grades of fuel. Supply problems were exacerbated by intense demand over the weekend, with U.K. drivers running to buy fuel amid fears of shortages. The energy company said it was working to resupply as quickly as possible.

Royal Dutch Shell PLC reported higher than normal demand at its service stations since Friday, which was resulting in some sites running low on some grades.

"We are replenishing these quickly, usually within 24 hours," a spokesperson for the Anglo-Dutch company said.

Over the weekend, the U.K. government announced increases in heavy goods vehicle testing, short-term visas for HGV drivers and new HGV skills bootcamps.

The U.K. Petroleum Industry Association on Friday said that some forecourts had temporarily run out of grades of fuel due to delays in the supply chain due to hauler driver shortages.

On Thursday, BP told Dow Jones Newswires that it was experiencing fuel-supply issues at some of its U.K. retail sites, with "a handful" of sites temporarily closed due to a lack of unleaded and diesel grades.

 

Write to Jaime Llinares Taboada at jaime.llinares@wsj.com; @JaimeLlinaresT

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 27, 2021 04:55 ET (08:55 GMT)

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