Ireland retail fuels long-term outlook
Ireland remains a net importer of refined oil products as demand exceeds supply from the country’s refinery at Whitegate. Irving Oil's acquisition of the Tedcastle Group in 2018, including its distribution assets and retail service stations could materially impact the future structure of the retail fuels market. Following the exit of Shell, Statoil and ExxonMobil, there is no international oil major active in the fuels marketing sector, which remains characterised by locally-based independent dealers. Alimentation Couche-Tard remains the market leader, supplying almost a third of the market. The growth of the price-discount segment, driven by the unmanned sites of Certa and the expansion of Applegreen's 'low prices always' brand, represents a risk to fuel margins. The overall structure of the Irish market remains fragmented, characterised by a large number of small, local independent dealers. There remains plenty of scope for further industry consolidation.