The Russians are coming…

Total wipeout?

The shutters were down at the Monks Brook filling station on Chesnut Avenue yesterday prompting fears that the Total garage had been sold to Russian state owned gas and oil giant Gazprom.

It transpired that the Passfield Avenue station had to close its doors when a technical problem affecting their tills left them unable to trade – however staff working at the Co-op store on the site said they were unsure of what the future might hold for them following the announcement that French oil company Total, who were recently fined £3.6 million by the British government over the Buncefield oil fire, was in talks with Gazprom over the possible sale of all of Total’s UK sites.

Total own about 500 Garages and a further 300 franchise outlets in the UK – almost 10% of the market and are an attractive proposition for the Russian company.

The garages would be rebranded under the Gazprom logo.

Although Gazprom has often hit the headlines for threatening to cut off oil and gas supplies to other Eastern European countries, David Clarke, an oil industry expert and adviser to the government was reported in the Guardian as saying that he didn’t think that the Russian government buying nearly 800 British petrol stations would compromise the UK’s strategic national interests.