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The Guardian: UK fuel protests target refiners, terminals on Sat

Thursday December 13 2007

LONDON, Dec 13 (Reuters) – A group of hauliers, farmers and motorists plan peaceful demonstrations at oil refineries and fuel terminals in Britain on Saturday in response to soaring petrol and diesel prices.

The group, Transaction 2007, has organised the protests over the government’s refusal to reduce the pain for drivers by cutting taxes. Close to two-thirds of the cost of petrol and diesel is made up of tax.

On its Website, http://www.transaction-2007.com/, the group named six refineries, terminals, storage depots, and wholesale delivery points it would target on Saturday. They included Royal Dutch Shell’s Stanlow refinery outside Liverpool and Exxon Mobil’s Fawley refinery in Southampton.

It said it would name more in the next couple of days.

The pressure group, which took part in blockading refineries in 2000 over high fuel prices, emphasised the importance of lawful protests.

In 2000, blockades by truckers of fuel storage depots and refineries caused panic buying and widespread petrol shortages, paralysing large swathes of the country. The demonstrations were a major test for the Labour government.

Oil companies said they were monitoring events and were prepared to deal with disruptions.

“We have contingency plans to deal with a range of scenarios that may affect our operations,” a spokesman for Shell said.

“We would like to reassure our customers that we will do our very best to ensure that there is no interruption to supply and that operations run as normal.”

A spokeswoman for Exxon said: “We are aware of media reports about the protests. We have seen the website and we have been watching the situation closely.”

UK truckers group the Road Haulage Association has distanced itself from the planned protests, saying direct action was counter productive.

(Reporting by Stefano Ambrogi, Ikuko Kao, Melissa Akin, editing by Anthony Barker)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/feedarticle?id=7150335

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