Richardson to meet with fuel oil dealers

US Energy Sec. Bill Richardson plans to meet with New England fuel oil dealers Monday to discuss means to avert supply shortages next winter.


WASHINGTON, DC�US Energy Sec. Bill Richardson plans to meet with New England fuel oil dealers Monday to discuss means to avert supply shortages next winter.

The meeting with members of the Northeastern Fuel Industry (NEFI) and Massachusetts officials will be held in Waltham.

Richardson said, "It's important that we address the heating needs of this region now. We are working with the Congress, state and local officials, and industry representatives to be prepared for the coming winter. If we wait until the temperature starts to drop, it will be too late."

The closed-door meeting will include a panel discussion among NEFI members, heating oil distributors and terminal operators, transportation officials, and fuel market analysts. State and local officials and members of Congress are also expected to attend.

The Northeast market accounts for nearly 75% of the nation�s home heating oil consumption.

Earlier, President Bill Clinton created a Northeast home heating oil reserve in response to concern over supply for the upcoming winter.

A Department of Energy study concluded last winter�s problems in the Northeast heating fuels market resulted from several events, including rapidly rising world oil prices, lower-than-normal distillate inventories, adverse weather, and natural gas pipeline capacity constraints. It said those factors, when added to the region�s dependence on distillate and tight worldwide oil supplies, led to price spikes and heating oil shortages.

In addition to establishing a Northeast distillate stockpile, the report urged DOE�s Office of Energy Emergencies to coordinate emergency responses and improve communications with states and industry. It said DOE should improve seasonal supply data and forecasts for the Northeast energy market and encourage all market participants to improve supply planning. It also said the US should study the need for additional port dredging in the Northeast so petroleum products could be moved more easily.

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