Bangor to weigh renewal of airport fuel pact

Posted Sept. 02, 2008, at 11:29 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 7:18 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine — City leaders are considering a request from Exxon Mobil Oil Corp. to renew its fuel handling and storage agreement with Bangor International Airport, contingent upon transferal of rights to its main distributor.

The fuel supplier that has served BIA for more than 30 years would turn over rights and responsibilities to Western Petroleum Co. of Minnesota, according to a request submitted to members of Bangor’s transportation and infrastructure committee.

What that means for the airport and the city, however, remains unknown.

“We’re still in the process of evaluating this request and giving it what I would call ‘due diligence review,’” Bangor City Manager Edward Barrett said at Tuesday’s transportation and infrastructure committee meeting.

No action was taken at Tuesday’s meeting, and Barrett predicted that it could be a couple of weeks before councilors decide.

Airport manager Rebecca Hupp briefly explained the request to committee members on Tuesday and said she and others have scheduled a meeting with Western Petroleum officials to learn more details. Hupp said Western Petroleum has had a presence at the city airport in the past as what she called a “fuel reseller.”

“We do have some experience with Western Petroleum, although they are not our supplier at this time,” she said.

According to a letter from ExxonMobil to Hupp, the fuel company has had a 10-year business relationship with Western Petroleum.

Earlier this summer, ExxonMobil notified city lead-ers that it did not plan to renew its contract for fuel handling and storage at the airport. The national oil giant has served BIA since 1976.

ExxonMobil said a change in state tax law that redefined how Maine taxes corporate revenue forced its hand, by creating a disproportionately high tax rate. It’s not clear whether that tax change will affect Western Petroleum in the same manner.

In July, the City Council voted to approve a three-month extension of the airport’s contract with ExxonMobil in order to consider other options and perhaps work out an agreement. That extension will expire Sept. 30, the deadline given by ExxonMobil to the city.

“We trust that you will find our assignment to Western Petroleum acceptable,” said the letter, written by Richard Oldman, general aviation sales manager for ExxonMobil. “However, in the event that the city finds this unacceptable or you have any apprehensions about our ability to proceed in this fashion, please let us know at your earliest convenience as this assignment is a condition to our renewal.”

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