Gull opening delayed until next month

July 09, 2019 - 218 views

Fuel retailer Gull has delayed the opening of its first South Island site south of Oamaru until next month, Gull New Zealand general manager Dave Bodger confirmed.

In April, the company announced plans to open an unmanned service station on State Highway 1 at Maheno, where it has leased the independently owned service station, in July.

However, Mr Bodger told the Otago Daily Times yesterday the company would not open its Maheno station this month as originally planned, as it was still working to determine the exact plans for the future site.

"We are committed to it ... it's going to open in August and not July at this stage.

"Guessing service station openings is not totally an exact science, but yes, our consent guys at the moment are doing some balancing about how much it's going to cost, what exactly is going to be done and who is going to do it."

Appropriate consents for the development had been obtained, he said.

The company had also ordered an additional 50,000-litre capacity tank for the station, which was larger than those now on site.

Mr Bodger said it was crucial the company was able to meet expected demand once the station was fully operational.

"The key thing for us is another above-ground tank. We don't think the tank on site is sufficient for the kind of levels we will sell."

The company selected Maheno as its first South Island site as it had advantages others did not.

"It's an operational service station. You get a lot more uncertainty when you've got a site you are developing. If it's a vacant space ... there is no definites about it, so you have got to have that certainty. We have got that at Maheno."

When asked what impact Gull's entry into the North Otago market would have, Mr Bodger said it would mean increased competition as the company, based on current fuel prices, would be able to offer a litre of 91-octane "in the low $2" region.

"But that will all change over time, depending on what the international markets are."

Gull's expansion into the South Island comes after 20 years of operations in the North Island where it has been credited with setting the standard for fuel price competition.

In addition to Maheno, five other unmanned South Island sites had been identified for development.

Gull will draw the fuel for its South Island sites from other terminals already in the area.

It has close to 90 service stations in the North Island, about 40 of which are unmanned.


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