Background Information

 The oil fuel supply chain in the UK

Safe transport is a key part of all our lives enabling us to drive our cars wherever we wish: to have food and other goods in our shops all the time; to supply goods and services to us all and to industry and commerce; to get us to work; to go on holiday; and to give ourselves, our families and friends the standard of living we want. Also we depend on oil fuels for our aircraft and ships enabling  international travel, trade and for heating our homes.

In the UK we we produce from the North Sea fields around 40 million tonnes of crude oil each year; we import about 52 million tonnes of crude and refined fuels; and we export 38 million tonnes of refined oil products (figures from DUKES). We are dependent on imports for our supplies of diesel for transport and of kerosene for aircraft and for heating.

Every day 122 million litres of road fuel are sold at petrol and diesel pumps to retail customers. 45 million litres are petrol and 77 million litres (67%) are diesel. 38 million UK citizens hold a driving licence  and each day we travel a total of more than 870 million vehicle miles on the roads.

How does the right quality fuel get to fuel tanks? How do we ensure that the right oil fuel products are delivered to aircraft, ships and to oil heating tanks?

The safe supply of fuel from the oil refineries to your tank is a complicated business but here are some important facts:

  1. In the UK there are 6 oil refineries that manufacture petrol, diesel and other fuels. Together they produce annually  millions of  tonnes of fuel for both UK consumption and for export.
  1. There is a network of some 44 major oil terminals – located both on the coast and inland – and serviced by a network of 3,000 miles of pipelines. Blending of fuels takes place at these terminals.
  1. From the terminals petrol and diesel is distributed by tankers that supply some 8,500 petrol forecourts in the UK.