CCentral-Main-logo-EN-trans

Convenience Central
Join our community
extra content
Christian Flach, CEO Greenergy

Greenergy acquires Amber Petroleum

Fuel distributor Greenergy has acquired 100% of Amber Petroleum, an independent fuel distributor and retailer based in the Republic of Ireland. The deal offers Greenergy access to Amber’s 35 sites around the country. Amber sites are both company-owned and dealer-owned operations and offer vehicle fuel products as well as home heating petroleum.

Christian Flach, CEO Greenergy

Christian Flach, CEO Greenergy

“One of our key strategic objectives is to integrate our existing supply footprint with our expanding retail presence,” said Christian Flach, Greenergy CEO. “The acquisition of Amber follows our recent retail investment in 230 retail sites in Canada, and will enhance our capabilities in Ireland by building on our existing infrastructure, supply and retail operations.”

Liam Fitzgerald, owner and managing director of Amber Petroleum concurs, adding that Amber has served a loyal customer base for more than 40 years. “Amber’s success has been based on strong relationships with customers, suppliers and staff and we know that Greenergy shares these same values.”

Greenergy entered the Canadian market in 2013. This year they merged with Markham, Ontario’s BG Fuels, a gas retail operator with a significant presence in central Canada. Behind Greenergy’s success are extensive investments in marine and rail-fed storage terminals as well as in road haulage capability that allows them to import and distribute their blended fuel products to independent retailers.

In the United Kingdom where Greenergy is based, the company supplies more than 25% of the road-fuels market.


Ki Yun Jo, owner of Thorsby Fas Gas station owner, was struck and killed during a gas-and-dash incident.

Man sentenced to 7 years for gas and dash death of Alberta gas station owner

A man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the gas-and-dash death of an Alberta gas station owner has been sentenced to seven years in prison.

Mitchell Robert Sydlowski, 29, appeared Friday by video link in the Court of Queen’s Bench in Wetaskiwin, Alta.

Sydlowski, who is from Spruce Grove, Alta., was charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty in August to the lesser offence, as well as failing to remain at the scene of a fatal accident.

“It goes without saying that this is a tragic situation,” Justice John William Hopkins said as he delivered Sydlowski’s sentence during an online court hearing.

Ki Yun Jo, owner of Thorsby Fas Gas station owner, was struck and killed during a gas-and-dash incident.

Ki Yun Jo, owner of Thorsby Fas Gas station owner, was struck and killed during a gas-and-dash incident.

An agreed statement of facts submitted in the case said 54-year old Ki Yun Jo was killed after Sydlowski sped off in a stolen cube van without paying for $198 of fuel. It happened outside Jo’s Fas Gas station in Thorsby, about 70 kilometres southwest of Edmonton, on Oct. 6, 2017.

A witness saw Jo hanging onto the van’s passenger side mirror and, when the vehicle swerved, he was tossed to the ground and run over by the rear tires of the van.

Court heard Jo died at the scene after suffering multiple blunt force injuries – a skull fracture, a broken neck and internal bleeding, despite the efforts of a retired EMT, a registered nurse and a firefighter who tried to administer first aid.

Jo’s daughter, Ka Yung Jo, said in a victim impact statement to the court last month that her dad’s death was the worst day of her life.

“My dad was senselessly and cruelly taken away from me,” she said. “Since then, my world has changed completely.”

She said she, her mom and her brother had to take over the gas station and had a difficult time running the business. They ended up selling it and moving away from the town.

Jo said her dad’s death left her family financially unstable and heartbroken.

“What I hated most was the man who ended my dad’s life,” she said. “He killed my father and ruined me, my life, my family and everything.”

The judge said it’s clear the death affected the family and the small town of Thorsby.

“The victim impact statement demonstrates the horrible impact this had on the family of Mr. Jo and the ultimate sale of the family business,” Hopkins said.

He said he recognizes no sentence will alleviate the pain and suffering, but he noted that the early guilty pleas came in advance of a trial during a global pandemic.

“It prevented the calling of numerous civilian witnesses and the family having to relive the minute details of the incident,” he said.

The judge also noted Sydlowski’s statement to the court expressing remorse for his actions.

“I am so sorry for the pain I have caused your family,” Sydlowski said during his sentencing hearing on Aug. 14. “I did not intend for any of this to happen.”

His seven-year sentence includes six years for manslaughter and one year for failing to remain at the scene. It will be reduced by about three years for time served prior to the guilty plea.

The judge also imposed a 10-year driving prohibition once Sydlowski gets out of prison.

The Crown had recommended a sentence of six to eight years, while Sydlowski’s lawyer suggested it should be at the lower end of the Crown’s recommendation because of the guilty pleas.

Hopkins said there may be one positive that can be taken from the tragedy.

“There was a change in legislation that took place thereafter requiring payment before pumping gas to prevent this from happening again to other vulnerable gas or convenience store clerks,” he said.


Shutterstock

Couche-Tard to expand EV charging capacity in North America

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Following on its successful initiative with EV (electric vehicle) charging facilities in Europe, Montreal-based Alimentation Couche-Tard has announced it plans to offer charging sites at west coast U.S. and Canada locations of Circle K stores, as well as Couche-Tard properties in Quebec. The company announced it will also look at offering home-based EV charging facilities in U.S. and Canadian markets in a move to expand its revenue stream as carbon-based fuels decline in popularity.

Our goal will be to follow the path were on in Norway,Alimentation Couche-Tard CEO Brian Hannaschin said during a call last week with media. He reports that, together with an electrification partner, they plan to power up hundreds of sites as they move forward. This follows the company’s initiatives in Norway where Couche-Tard started selling home charging units (launched May 2019 and delivered 1,400 units by Q1/21) and launched 450 EV charger installations at more than 80 Circle K sites in the Nordic country, which is well known for its use of electric vehicles.

Couche-Tard has been an early adopter of EV technology for convenience retail. Indeed, this year they revamped an Oslo c-store and fuel station to be 100% EV. They have 150 EV charging sites presently in operation across Europe (200 expected by end of 2020) and view this as a way to counter the drop in demand for gas and diesel that are key to their business success. Currently, 71% of revenue and 46% of profits come from fuel sales.

Couche Tard is among the world’s largest convenience retailers with 14,350 locations in 25 countries.


Screen Shot 2020-09-14 at 5.56.58 PM

The Convenience U CARWACS Show West goes virtual

Screen Shot 2020-09-14 at 5.58.27 PMThe Convenience U CARWACS Show – Greater Vancouver is moving online, with a new action-packed virtual event, The Convenience U CARWACS Show West Digital.

The change is in response to ongoing efforts to keep attendees safe in the face of the ongoing pandemic. While COVID-19 is changing how the show will be delivered, one thing will not change –  this is an exceptional opportunity for convenience retailers, convenience-gas and car wash operators in Western Canada to connect with key suppliers across North America.

The events kicks off November 4 and participants will have an unprecedented opportunity to access interactive event content at their convenience and for a longer period of time.

  • Connect and engage in real-time with key industry suppliers for 7 days
  • Browse the interactive products/equipment/solutions sourcing guide
  • Gain industry insights through educational content
  • Complete access to all materials and exhibitor profiles for 90 days

Registration is opening soon. For more information, go ConvenienceU.ca

In the meantime, CLICK HERE to sign up for show news!


Screen Shot 2020-06-08 at 5.12.34 PM

Energy sector looking for aid and regulation delays as throne speech looms

Canada’s fossil-fuel sector is looking to this month’s throne speech for signs the federal government is not throwing in the towel on oil and gas.

At the same time Canadian climate strikers are threatening mass protests if the same speech doesn’t show a plan to eliminate all greenhouse-gas emissions produced by human activities in less than a decade.

Screen Shot 2020-06-08 at 5.12.34 PMTim McMillan, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau can use the throne speech Sept. 23 to send a signal to international investors that Canada’s oil and gas industry is a solid opportunity for investment.

He says the planned clean-fuel standard meant to force oil and gas companies to emit less greenhouse gas is out of whack with Canada’s main competitors for that investment and if the new standard isn’t postponed, many companies will simply not be able to comply.

Earlier this year Ottawa scaled back the requirements of the standard over the first few years to give companies more time to recover from the economic crisis caused by COVID-19, but McMillan says that is not enough.

Trudeau is also, however, facing pressure from thousands of Canadian youth in the Climate Strike Canada movement who say the throne speech is Trudeau’s “last chance” to convince them he really is a climate-change leader.


Shutterstock

OPEC cuts oil demand forecasts, BP sees ‘peak oil’ in 2020s

Developing countries’ difficulty in containing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic will keep a lid on global oil demand, particularly in India, the OPEC cartel said Monday as it cut its forecasts.

OPEC cut its estimates for world demand by 400,000 barrels a day for both this year and next. It now sees a drop in demand of 9.5 million barrels a day in 2020 and a rise of 6.6 million barrels in 2021.

“Risks remain elevated and skewed to the downside, particularly in relation to the development of COVID-19 infection cases and potential vaccines,” the cartel said in a monthly report on the industry.

Beside the trouble in some developing countries, which together with the United States have had a harder time than Europe or China in limiting the first wave of virus contagions, OPEC said it expected a slow pick-up in energy demand for transportation in rich countries. Airlines around the world are flying only a fraction of their normal amount of traffic, with a full recovery not expected for another couple of years.

The price of oil plunged during the initial phase of the pandemic as businesses and transportation ground to a halt around the world. The uncertainty surrounding the industry, coupled with concerns about climate change, has pushed some major oil companies to shift more aggressively towards renewable energy or natural gas.

BP says it expects demand for crude oil to peak in the early 2020s. If governments become more aggressive about reducing carbon emissions, demand might never recover from the current slump, its said in a report on the industry’s outlook.


Peter Boag CFA

The Canadian Fuels Association announces changes at the top

The Canadian Fuels Association (CFA) has announced that Peter Boag is retiring and has stepped down as president and CEO of the trade group. Replacing Boag is Bob Larocque, who takes on the position September 8, 2020.

Peter Boag CFABoag tells OCTANE that his 13 years at the helm of the CFA saw considerable change in the industry as the sector pivots toward a carbon-neutral world. “The fuels sector continues to meet 95% of Canadians’ transportation energy needs – 42% of the total energy consumed by Canadians.  It continues to be a safety record leader in Canada’s manufacturing industry.  And, CFA members’ drive for ever better environmental performance continues unabated. Year-over-year sector performance has improved on virtually every key environmental metric – delivering cleaner operations and cleaner products for Canadians.”

According to Boag, the CFA is working with-in the context of Canada’s long-term net-zero aspirations and is strongly focused on accelerating efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG)emissions by building on current accomplishments. “Reducing transportation emissions – 25% of total Canadian GHG emissions today – is the target of this effort,” he said.

Boag sees a future where consumer choices include reliable, affordable low-carbon liquid fuels.

“This future will require a policy environment that is stable, predictable and science-based. Unnecessary regulatory hurdles need to be removed.  Policy instruments must respect technology-neutral solutions. Public policy has to create the conditions essential to private sector investment – investment that can help truly accelerate change.  In all this, governments and stakeholders need to remain focused on reducing emissions, not ‘demonizing’ carbon – this paradigm allows for a multitude of solutions and reflects the range of options that Canada will need to deploy to achieve its climate change goals.”

Bob Larocque

Bob Larocque

Incoming president and CEO Bob Larocque will bring much to build on Boag’s accomplishments. He has been a successful public advocate on a host of fronts that relate to climate change. These include positions on innovation, indigenous engagement and environmental regulations. Most recently, Larocque served as SVP of the Forest Products Association of Canada. He also comes from leadership positions at Environment Canada where he focused on mitigating the risk of toxic substances on the environment. He holds a B.Sc. in chemical engineering from the University of Ottawa.

Kelly Gray can be reached at kgray@ensembleiq.com


Unknown

Cleaner LNG one answer to climate change crisis, O’Regan tells investors

UnknownOTTAWA – Canadian LNG is the best choice for global energy investors looking for sustainable and competitive natural gas production, Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan said Monday.

His speech on the opening day of the virtual Gastech 2020 conference comes just two weeks before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to unveil his promised “ambitious green agenda” in a throne speech laying out his government’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan.

O’Regan hinted at some of what may come in that plan, including promises of investments in the electrical grid and energy efficiency programs, a focus on workers and investing in technology to make fossil fuels cleaner.

“We’ll get to where we need to be tomorrow by using what we have at our fingertips today,” O’Regan said.

He said the best path to a healthy, low-emission economy includes Canada making natural gas a greener product that can be sold overseas – mainly to Asian nations – to replace coal as a source of electricity. That includes developing better carbon-capture and storage technology, as well as investing in research and commercialization to come up new ways to get gas to be more sustainable.

Politically, support for LNG crosses party lines in Ottawa. A plan to sell Canadian LNG to overseas market was one of the chief climate change policies in the Conservative campaign in 2019 and was also part of new Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole’s leadership campaign platform.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has also been supportive of LNG projects, particularly the LNG Canada project in northern British Columbia that is also fully backed by the provincial NDP government in B.C.

O’Regan said the International Energy Agency forecasts growth in demand for gas for decades and that “bodes well for Canada.”

The IEA’s own forecasts are a bit more complex than that. Looking at existing policies around the world, it predicted in 2019 that LNG will grow 36% over the next 20 years. However under a “sustainable development scenario” that transforms the world’s energy use in line with the Paris climate change agreement goals on global warming, it expects natural gas use to peak by the end of this decade.

The IEA also warned that shipping LNG to Asia may not be as attractive as some think given dropping prices for renewables and rising prices for natural gas. Those warnings however came before the COVID-19 lockdowns curbed demand and saw gas prices plummet, a scenario the agency says will not reverse itself very quickly.

Keith Stewart, a senior energy strategist at Greenpeace Canada, said the 11 LNG project proposals in Canada which O’Regan referenced in his speech are likely to become “white elephants” that are abandoned in favour of everything from wind and solar to hydrogen. He said many major investors have already shown reluctance if not outright refusals, to back fossil fuels any longer.

“Politicians want to tell us ‘okay we don’t have to change very much’ but we do and we have to start planning for those big changes rather than imagining we can kind of tweak our way out of this,” he said.

The IEA does say that switching from coal to gas reduced global emissions more than 500 million tonnes between 2010 and 2019, an amount equal to two-thirds of Canada’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions. It estimated that replacing coal with gas in existing power plants could save 1.2 billion tonnes of emissions, noting that may be the best case for scenario for gas.

Catherine Abreu, executive director of the Climate Action Network Canada, said initially O’Regan’s Monday speech sounded good to her, talking about investing in a transition for workers, electricity grids and energy efficiency programs.

“Then I realized it was actually a speech about LNG disguised as a speech about renewable energy and I felt really duped,” she said.

She said she is trying to remain hopeful about the throne speech but is worried it will provide “token” acknowledgments or investments for clean energy “but then continues this trend that we’ve seen of the real priority and the real investment going toward the fossil fuel sector.”


027001

Anti carbon tax sticker law unconstitutional, Ontario court finds

027001Ontario’s government had no right to “stick it to” the federal Liberals by forcing gas stations to display anti- carbon tax stickers, a Superior Court judge said Friday as he struck down the law as unconstitutional.

Justice Edward Morgan said Premier Doug Ford and his Progressive Conservative government overstepped in mandating the stickers, saying the Federal Carbon Tax Transparency Act could not be justified under the charter.

“A government or political party can, in the words of Ontario’s Minister of Energy, ‘stick it to’ another tier of government or political party as a matter of free speech in an election campaign or otherwise. But a government cannot legislate a requirement that private retailers post a sticker designed to accomplish that task,” Morgan wrote.

“The mandatory fuel pump sticker is an unconstitutional attempt to do just that.”

Under the law, gas stations that didn’t display the stickers would initially face fines of up to $10,000 per day, though a judge later lowered the daily penalty to $150. Morgan said in his ruling that the companies can now choose to leave them up or tear them down.

The stickers show the federal carbon tax adding 4.4 cents per litre to the price of gas now, rising to 11 cents a litre in 2022. They do not include information about rebates available to residents.

Morgan said in the decision that the message was “blatantly advantage-seeking by a political party and a misuse of a governing party’s legislative power.”

He pointed to a statement Energy Minister Greg Rickford made in April 2019 in which he said the province would “stick it to the Liberals and remind the people of Ontario how much this job-killing, regressive carbon tax costs.” That, said Morgan, shows the true purpose of the sticker was partisan.

Rickford said he respects the court decision, “but our government will always stand up for the people of Ontario when it comes to matters that make everyday life more expensive for hardworking families.”

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which brought the challenge a year ago, is extremely pleased with the ruling, according to the director of its fundamental freedoms program.

“This was very clearly a partisan political message that the government was putting forward _ something that they’re completely entitled to do on their own, and when when they’re campaigning in their own advertising, but something that they’re not allowed to force others to do,” Cara Zwibel said. “Hopefully that’s a precedent that will carry forward and that governments will be mindful of.”

But she noted that while the CCLA won in court, the province was still able to achieve its goal. The stickers have been displayed at gas pumps across the province for well over a year.

A spokesman for the Ministry of the Attorney General declined to comment, saying the department is reviewing the decision.

“As this matter is still in the appeal period, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further,” Brian Gray said.

But the Official Opposition urged Ford and his government not to appeal.

“He has already wasted enough of people’s money on his anti-carbon price stickers that don’t stick _ a partisan and dishonest propaganda campaign,” NDP Energy and Climate Crisis Critic Peter Tabuns said in a written statement.

Ontario has challenged Ottawa’s right to impose a carbon tax, and the Supreme Court is set to hear that case in September.


Shutterstock

Oilpatch capital spending fell by 54% in second quarter, StatCan reports

Statistics Canada says capital spending in the country’s oil and gas sector fell by 54 per cent in the quarter ended June 30 as numerous producers chopped budgets amid sliding global oil prices.

The federal agency says the industry spent about $3.88 billion in the three-month period, down from $8.46 billion in the first quarter and $8.59 billion in the second quarter of 2019, as a global price war and demand destruction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic eroded crude prices.

In June, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers estimated that $23.3 billion would be spent in the oil and gas production sector in Canada this year, a downward revision from about $37 billion in its January forecast.

Last week, the Canada Energy Regulator said it expects oil production in Canada will average 4.38 million barrels per day this year, down by 6.6% compared with 2019.

Earlier this week, IHS Markit reported that world oil demand has grown by 13 million barrels per day in the four months since the bottom of the COVID-induced collapse in April to about 89% of last year’s levels.

It says it expects demand growth to plateau at roughly 92 to 95% of 2019’s average output of around 100 million barrels per day through the first quarter of 2021 as travel-related fuel demand remains subdued until virus vaccines are widely available.