Nearly one-third of British Petroleum’s (BP) stations in the United Kingdom are almost out of fuel, as the oil company is seeing an increase in demand.
BP told The Hill in a statement that supply chain delays, triggered by a shortage of qualified drivers, are causing the company to experience “supply issues” at some of its facilities in the UK.
The company said it has seen an “intense demand” in the past two days, leading to a fuel shortage at roughly 30 percent of its stations in the UK.
The majority of the 1,200 sites BP supplies in the UK, however, are still supplied and open, according to the company.
“With the intense demand seen over the past two days, we estimate that around 30% of sites in this network do not currently have either of the main grades of fuel,” BP said in a statement.
“We are working to resupply as rapidly as possible,” the company added.
Vehicles lined up at the gas stations for a third day on Sunday as people waited, sometimes for hours, to fill up with fuel, according to Reuters.
The increased demand for fuel comes as Britain is in the midst of a number of crisis, the news wire noted: an international surge in gas prices that is forcing energy companies to shutter operations, a related lack of carbon dioxide that poses a threat to meat production, and a shortage of truck drivers that is causing difficulties for retailers and leaving some shelves empty.
BP said facilities that have multiple grade-outs may have closed down for fuel purchases. It did not, however, have an estimate for how many may have shut down for purchases.
The company said it is continuing to work with its haulier supplier, Hoyer, to “optimise fuel distribution and to minimise the level of disruption, keeping key sites supplied and restocking as rapidly as possible.”
“The sites affected are changing as we continue deliveries as usual. We apologise for any inconvenience caused,” the company added.
Transport Minister Grant Shapps told Sky News that the shortages were triggered by panic buying, adding that the circumstances will eventually dissipate because fuel could be supplied.
“There is plenty of fuel, there’s no shortage of the fuel within the country,” Shapps told Sky News
“So the most important thing is actually that if people carry on as they normally would and fill up their cars when they normally would, then you won’t have queues and you won’t have shortages at the pump either,” he added.
He said the issue is being driven by COVID-19 affecting the qualification process, which has barred new workers from entering the market.
The government on Sunday rolled out a plan to grant temporary visas to 5,000 truck drivers, according to Reuters.
Shell, the Anglo-Dutch oil company, said it has also been experiencing an increased demand at its fuel stations in the UK since Friday, which has caused a shortage in some types of fuel.
“We are replenishing these quickly, usually within 24 hours,” the company told Reuters in a statement.