Many of the BP service stations in the state that had been without gas for weeks finally got some relief this week when new suppliers stepped in with shipments of 10,000 gallons apiece.
More than 100 BP stations around the state had been left dry when their regular supplier, Green Valley Oil LLC, abruptly failed to make scheduled deliveries in April. Some of the BP stations were able to find immediate replacements, but others went without gas for as long as three weeks. The new supplies, from Lehigh Gas and Oil and Chestnut Petroleum Distributors, arrived in the past few days.
“I’ve got my fingers crossed that Friday, when payday rolls around, we’ll get more customers,’’ said Nick Humphrey, operator of a BP station in Worcester who had been without gas for at least three weeks.
Neither Lehigh or Chestnut Petroleum returned calls for comment. A spokesperson for BP said the company had no comment.
Meanwhile, some of the BP stations are now worried they will not get any money back from Green Valley. The company had been under contract to supply gas to those BP stations in New England that are leased by Getty Petroleum Marketing in New York. In December, Getty Petroleum filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, which appears to have precipitated the supply shortage.
Prior to stopping shipping altogether Green Valley was intermittently delivering partial orders, according to station owners, and now appears to be all but out of business.
Nearly 50 gas station operators are suing Green Valley in US District Court in Boston for security deposits they gave the supplier, as well as damages that include lost profits. A federal court judge ordered Green Valley this week to hold for repayment more than $600,000 in security deposits owed some of the stations.
Nancy Reimer, a lawyer at Boston law firm Leclair Ryan who is representing some operators, said she is worried Green Valley does not have enough money to pay them. She has said the total amount the stations are seeking is “in the millions.’’ Reimer said a lawyer for Green Valley said in federal court Monday that the company was “winding down its business.’’
“We wanted to attach their money before it was gone,’’ Reimer said. She has not received word yet whether Green Valley has the $612,000 the judge ordered frozen.
Another hearing is scheduled for Friday for the former supplier to set up a protocol on repayment.
Meanwhile, the BP station owners are trying to rebuild the business they lost, with some finding it difficult to get customers back.
George Younes, manager of Franklin Getty Gas Station in Franklin, said Wednesday that he got his first shipment of gas from Lehigh last week, but is still waiting for people to fill up.
“It’s still dead,’’ he said. “Nothing’s great.’’Gail Waterhouse can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.