NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Local fuel suppliers have not seen any impact on supply due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in fact they are likely sitting on far more inventory than usual.
After historic lows in recent weeks, the price of oil went negative on Monday as facilities used for storing crude are nearing capacity.
US crude prices plummeted, dropping by almost 300 percent to turn negative for the first time. The market continues to be rocked by a major fall off in demand. Travel restrictions and social distancing demands across the globe have cut the demand for oil tremendously.
Valentino Hanna, general manager of Sol Petroleum Bahamas, said: “There has been absolutely zero impact on industry inventories or industry’s ability to supply. In fact, the wholesalers are probably sitting on more inventory than usual as a result of the slowdown in the economy, reduced service station operating hours, the 24 hour curfew and lockdowns.”
As to the lock down’s impact, Hanna added, “We are an essential service and have, therefore, been allowed to continue to operate which is different for many industries and businesses in the Bahamas. Despite this fact, however, the reduced hours of operation and the economic slowdown has had a debilitating effect on our dealers and their personnel and our overall operations.
“Aviation, especially, has been tremendously impacted with almost no fuel being sold as a result of the shutdown of the airports to commercial traffic.”
During his national address on Sunday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis acknowledged that, “with fuel costs being the largest single item in the import bill, a focus must be sustained on ensuring that BPL can lock in significant savings from the current external environment of low oil prices”.