16th December 2019
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GB Oils boss to visit Shetland after insisting company is not profiteering

6 comments, , by , in News

An oil company boss at the centre of a row over fuel prices in the Northern and Western Isles will come to Shetland to answer calls for a fairer deal for motorists.

Director of petrol and diesel supplier GB Oils, Sam Chambers, has accepted an invitation from isles MSP Tavish Scott to come north and explain his company’s policy on charges at the pumps.

Mr Scott said: “I invited him [Mr Chambers] to Shetland. I got in touch with him and he said he would be prepared to come to meet with people in Shetland because he recognised people need to understand why we are paying what we do on fuel.

“People from every walk of life are affected by this, so an open meeting would be best.”

Mr Chambers’ appearance will come after he attended a public meeting in Stornoway on Tuesday to hear concerns from islanders there. Motorists in the Western Isles have long suffered similar prices to those in Shetland.

Speaking after the meeting Mr Chambers defended GB Oils, parent company to Scottish Fuels, insisting the company only made a margin of 2.6p a litre on diesel.

“The price they are paying here is more expensive than it is for parts of the mainland and obviously they have genuine concern,” he said.

“You can only run a business if your customers want to buy from you. You can only run a business if your employees want to work for you.

“So basically, we are not in the business of trying to abuse anyone. We are trying to be fair and trying to be reasonable.”

Drivers have, for years, had to put up a significant mark-up on mainland prices, with suggestions frequently made that GB Oils may be exploiting its monopoly position.  

Currently diesel is typically £1.53 for a litre, while the cost of buying petrol is not far behind.

The cost varies depending on the outlet, but prices have typically been 15-20p higher than those on the mainland.

Ongoing fears are being voiced that any benefit of the long-anticipated 5p fuel derogation scheme, due to be introduced from March, will effectively be cancelled out by recent price hikes.

No date or venue has yet been set, but it’s hoped the meeting will be held in an open forum.

Chairman of the council’s transport authority ZetTrans, Allan Wishart, said he would welcome a visit from Mr Chambers, but insisted competition was key to bringing prices at the pumps down.

“Sam Chambers was up here a couple of years ago when there was quite a bit of publicity profiling the difference in prices between the islands and the mainland.

“I would welcome seeing him up here to have discussions with any interested party, including the council.

“At the end of the day, what controls any price is market forces, and competition will determine the real market price of fuel.”


About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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  1. Chris Williams

    If GB Fuels are only marking up 2.6p per litre! It must be the Shetland businesses who are ripping the motorists and householders off!
    Is it not time for Mr Wishart and Tavis Scott to get their heads together and tell the public of Shetland the truth?

  2. Sandy Mason

    As an ex GB Oils employee I can honestly say that the Co is part of the DCC Group and they have a massive majority hold over the supply of oil to the UK, although on paper it looks like they only make a couple of pence per litre from what price they buy in at; you also need to understand that the figures are massaged to look that way – DCC own the wholesale companies that they buy the oil from in the first place.
    They have been investigated, fined again and again for misleading customers and price fixing. They make an average of £m profit per employee per year.

  3. the company GB oIL own over forty distribution companies throughout the UK.The confusing issue is that these companies still trade under their own names.A large percentage of the were originally family owned and have been trading for over a hundred years.This gives the consumer the impression they are dealing with a small local distributer.GB Oils is an Irish company with a short trading heritage.They must rank as the largest distributer of refined product in the UK.With a bigger coverage than the major oil companies.
    This situation has given this company a cartel and a very real stronghold on petroleum supply.Hardly what could be described as a level playing field.

  4. Johan Adamson

    And presumably because they are buying so much they should get a good discount which they could then pass on to us?

  5. Wayne Conroy

    Price of diesel in Edinburgh today at garage… 131.7

    They can say what they like… The hugely inflated prices are going in someones pocket! My guess is its Islanders and similar captive markets that payed for their rebrand to “Certas Energy” that happened yesterday.

  6. David Spence

    It does not surprise me that the cost of living in the UK is the most expensive in Europe, even more expensive than Norway, Sweden or Denmark. Why is this when many other countries in Europe are considerably cheaper……..four words sums this up…..capitalism, greed and profits.

    This is the premiss and principles based on the country of the USA, and where this vile Tory Government would like to base the british economy on. This being where it is the few who prosper at the cost of the many, not that much different from history of the past…..albeit the circumstances have changed from this of royalty and the church (who still have dominance) to this of large corporate companies (who have the monopoly) and the banking system, where it is money and wealth of the few (shareholders) who dictate everything related to the structure of our society……including human behaviour (what is the connection between violence and economics…..both require an element of competition or put another way, enemy, and where dominance and power is based on violence (military might) which clears the ground for economic dominance.

    Why is it that the USA is so preoccupied with promoting violence and dominance (Foreign Policy and is also similar to economic principles) through its media, films, computer games and this of entertainment and, as well as, rather egotistically portrayed, promoting itself as a superior country (promoting through perpetual brainwashing of the population that nationalism and supporting your country is totally conditional, and its right to dictate to other countries how they should run their economies (basically for US companies to move in and dominate) .
    Do we really want a Government who only think of themselves and this of another country, and not the people of this country?

    When it comes to, lets say, cartels controlling the price of goods, which is totally supported by this vile Tory Government, in small populations or communities, then it is time to seriously look at who is cheating the consumer for their own 100% gratification.


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