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Jeremy Core

We’re recognizing Mabel Cook, this month, as she crosses the one year mark with Waterloo County Propane. Mabel has quickly become a valued member of the team – taking the reins as the customer service and accounts receivable lead at our Cambridge branch. In her short time here, she’s gained invaluable knowledge on propane and the energy industry, at large. From equipment installations and service to logistics to the products themselves, she expresses a keen interest in continuing to learn about our operations.

 

Mabel has worked, administratively, in the business-to-business industrial chemical and third-party logistics industries for years prior to joining our team. She draws from her extensive agricultural experience to effectively navigate our internal processes. However, she truly appreciates the personal element to her current position and values her interactions with end-users. She empathizes with our customers amid uncertain and challenging economic times. She understands the effects of volatile energy prices – working diligently and compassionately to accommodate folks the best she can. Mabel is very satisfied with her work and her workplace, as she states: “The people in this company are fantastic people. You can tell this is a family-run business that cares about its people.”

Mabel was born and raised in the Bolton area. She remembers, fondly, milking cows and raising chickens on the family farm. Her true passion is gardening, which she’s able to enjoy at her home with her husband. She spends a lot of time with family and helping out her mother who still resides in Bolton. Otherwise, she’s embracing the community she now considers home – adding that she loves to frequent the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market.

Thank you, Mabel, for your service. Your enthusiasm has greatly impacted us. We hope for many more good years at Waterloo County Propane.

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Jeremy Core

Distillate pricing has soared throughout the month on the back of a weak Canadian dollar. Refinery and terminal maintenance have contributed to major drawdowns in supply earlier in the month. Whether this impact is further realized is yet to be determined. Demand remains strong as we enter furnace oil season.

Gasoline prices have reflected the price of Crude Oil, which has increased throughout the month amidst continuing developments in Eastern Europe. Inventories are receding consistent with demand.

There’s nothing impactful to report on propane. Prices and supply are stable for now.

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Fall has arrived! Turbulent weather down south has brought some cool weather to southern Ontario. Frost is expected throughout the first weekend in October. The Farmers’ Almanac projects a slightly colder winter than normal.

Our bulk propane plant in Stratford is close to fully operational. This will ensure we’re well supplied during the heating season. The market inventories continue to grow; exceeding last year’s pace for late September, but remaining below the five-year average for the time of year. Despite increasing inventories, prices remain heightened. We hope to see the prices fall if inventories continue to build into autumn. Of course, global events may continue to contribute to market volatility.

Crude oil prices retreated earlier in the month but rebounded over speculation that OPEC+ will reduce production in October. Fears of global recession, inflation and high interest rates may decrease demand. Somewhat surprisingly, inventories have been building of late, leading to a slight drop in price.

Gasoline inventories have fallen, which is to be expected for the time of year. We hope to see prices stabilize and retreat marginally in the coming weeks.

Distillate inventories are closing in on the 5 year average. Barring any extreme externalities, prices should stabilize headed into the fall.

Hurricane Ian and the Nord Stream 2 leaks will certainly impact market speculation. Other geopolitical events may even further exacerbate volatility. Consequently, it’s tough to predict the market heading into the end of the year.

Core Fuels / Red Cap will be proudly sponsoring the Argus Residence for Young People. Join us at A Night of Wine & Roses Gala Event at Whistle Bear Golf Club on October 28th. The event consists of a huge live and silent auction, a sumptuous three-course dinner, and unforgettable entertainment. The event raises funds to help the charity generate positive outcomes for young people in the Cambridge community. Argus has been able to diligently support community youth for over 36 years. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit: https://argusresidence.ca/events/wine-roses/

 

 

If you’re unable to attend the event, kindly consider a charitable donation to the Argus Residence. In addition to our sponsorship, we will be running a promotion until the end of October. Simply provide a review for Core Fuels / Red Cap or Waterloo County Propane on Google or Facebook to receive a $5 Tim Hortons gift card. For every review we receive, we will donate an additional $5 to the Argus Residence. Thank you to all who contribute!

Join Core Fuels / Red Cap September 13-15 at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show. Running for over 25 years, the show is back, in a big way, after a two year Covid-19 hiatus. It’s the largest outdoor farm show in Eastern Canada, welcoming over 42,000 farmers and 750 exhibitors. The event will take place at Discovery Farm Woodstock. Get a chance to see equipment demonstrations, exhibitor-led demonstrations, livestock demonstrations, crop plot tours and many special events!

Find our team in the Outdoor Exhibit Area at booth SM-622. Visitors will be able to check out our new crane service truck and propane truck. Our friend Nelson from Nithwood Enterprises will be joining us to chat about Kingspan diesel tanks. We’re also expecting Jake from Transit to stop by to lend his oil and lubricant expertise. If that wasn’t enough, we’ll be offering up a limited edition Core Fuels / Red Cap branded Pit Boss portable grill. Drop by to enter the raffle or to snap a picture with our Minions propane cylinders. They’re always a hit with the kids!

Our team is revved up and ready to talk about all things fuel and energy. You’re not going to want to miss this one, folks! For more information visit: www.outdoorfarmshow.com/ or message us at; info@corefuels.ca .

As expected, market volatility has continued over the last month. Geopolitical influences are weighing heavily on the decisions of traders and producers appear to be struggling to build inventories.

There was a drawdown on crude oil in North America last week. Most of this volume has been exported to Europe to prepare for winter. There was also an additional drawdown from the US Strategic Reserve. These actions indicate global demand is strong and will continue to be strong heading into the cooler months. It seems NATO is projecting its independence from Russian energy. Whether this is authentic or not remains to be seen.

Gasoline inventories fell over the last week. The drawdown of gasoline was consistent with the 5 year average. As seasonal demand wanes, production is decreasing. Prices have fallen sharply over the last month. This may level out moving into the fall.

Distillate inventories have risen, as expected, but remain on the low end of the 5 year average for this time of year. The rise has been nullified by the anticipation of increased seasonal demand. The market volatility continues to put pressure on pricing. Like gasoline, distillate pricing could level out in the coming weeks.

Propane pricing has leveled out over the last month and the market appears to be at or near equilibrium. Inventories continue to build, which is consistent with this time of year. However, inventories remain below the 5 year average. If this gap doesn’t begin to tighten, we can expect the prices to rise heading into the fall. It will be difficult to build domestic supply if the export market remains strong. Crop drying demand and weather conditions will impact pricing as heating season approaches.

One of our own will be departing Core Fuels / Red Cap this month to embark on a machinist apprenticeship. We’d like to congratulate Hunter Reid for his placement at Little Lakes Machine and Tool and recognize his work with our team over the last several years. Hunter started washing trucks, cleaning the shops and cutting grass for Core Fuels / Red Cap in 2014. Since then, he’s picked up a number of responsibilities. Hunter can typically be found operating the propane pumps in Stratford and Cambridge or pitching in with deliveries whenever he’s called upon. He enjoys working outdoors and the fast-paced environment. Although he’s a young lad, Hunter values the work experience he’s gained during his time with us. While continuing to learn some technical skills related to his job, Hunter is proud of the work ethic and professionalism that he’s developed. He embraces his interactions with colleagues and customers; mentioning the importance of providing quality service. It’s pretty clear Hunter cut from the same cloth as many of us at Core Fuels / Red Cap!

Hunter graduated from highschool in June. Like so many young folks, his school experience was impacted significantly by Covid-19 restrictions. “It was tough not to get the authentic highschool experience – to have to do school online – and then when we did return, to wear masks all day, everyday.” Thankfully, things got a little better during the spring and he was able to take part in prom and graduation.

Hunter typically spends his leisure time hanging out with friends or family and riding sleds in the wintertime. He’s quite the athlete, as it turns out. His favourite sports are hockey and baseball. Wearing number 5 and playing the hot-corner, Hunter just wrapped up his season with the Stratford Nationals.

When asked what the future holds for him, Hunter was clearly eager to get his apprenticeship started. That’s the focus for the immediate future. Is a return to the fuel business possible? “Maybe in the far future, but for now I’m set as a machinist” Hunter states. Again, congratulations from our entire team! We hope and expect Hunter has a bright future ahead of him. Thanks for the years of service!

 

 

We recently sat down with the founder of Waterloo County Propane, Peter Rivers, for a fascinating conversation. As always, he enlightened and entertained us with his candor and enthusiasm. Since Core Fuels/Red Cap acquired Waterloo County Propane, Peter’s influence has remained ever-present as we continue to grow and evolve. Here’s what we learned during our discussion..

Peter began working as a mechanic for an equipment rental business at 165 Avenue Road in Cambridge in 1968. The only other employee left the company six months into Peter’s tenure, leaving him to learn all aspects of the business. In the fall of 1971, the opportunity to purchase the business arose and Peter became the sole proprietor. As the rental business began to grow, Peter identified other market needs and established several ancillary businesses. Among them were a propane conversion business for school buses and a mechanic training program for Chrysler Canada. As it turned out, Peter wasn’t fond of the “school environment” and the government ended subsidies for school bus conversions so he promptly left both businesses. During this time, Peter entered the residential propane, industrial supply and cylinder industries; once again responding to demand amongst his customer base. Business was great and it was growing.

Entering the ‘90s, Peter and about 35 of his employees were proudly serving the Waterloo area. However, large equipment rental outfits from the US started to open up shop north of the border pushing prices and margin down. Understanding this industry was becoming more work than it was worth, Peter sold his equipment rentals business, and eventually his industrial supply business, in 1996.

Ever the opportunist and entrepreneur, Peter then started Cedar Signs which supplies industrial signage. Together with his propane business, Peter migrated his operations to Clyde Road. The business continued to grow steadily for years. Sensing that the propane business was only going to get bigger, Peter started to engage in negotiations to sell the business in early 2019. In August of that year, a deal was finalized to sell Waterloo County Propane to Core Fuels/Red Cap. Peter continues to operate Cedar Signs at his Clyde Road farm to this day.

On a personal note, when asked what Peter does during his leisure time, he reflected:

“I was never a guy chasing money; I just like doing stuff..anything ..and so it’s a bit of a curse, from one standpoint because if I have nothing to do, we have a problem. Most entrepreneurs, I think, are like this.”

Peter likes to remain active. He’s up early every day either working around the farm or around the business. He’s passionate about hockey; playing as often as five times per week in the winter. Everything he does is fast-paced with the exception of fishing. He could fish all day long if he had to!

Clearly a man of many skills and interests, we had to ask Peter what he attributes his success to. He believes, strongly, that the biggest factor is his connection to his customers on a personal level. Peter explained:

“Everybody’s on the phone trying to snag new customers, you know. Anybody can come up with a better number, for some period of time, until you get it back up. The customer has to have a reason to go.. ‘Nah, I’ll live with that extra penny per litre I’m paying, at the time, because we like the people we’re dealing with’”

Peter recounted one Christmas day that he spent personally fixing someone’s furnace. He routinely gives his business card with his personal number to customers. He often sends them hand-written notes to acknowledge the work they’ve done on their house or even to say hello and wish them well. It’s clear Peter cares about his customers and about his work. His dedication and his compassion are clearly why he’s done well. Cheers to Peter!

We have seen the price of Crude Oil retreat throughout July and into early August. It seems that North America is well supplied, but the uncertainty in Europe is keeping pressure on the price. OPEC+ is meeting in early August. The expectation is that they continue to pump oil at present levels or increase production slightly. Diesel prices have continued to fall from highs earlier this year. Refiners have increased production to respond to shortages. However, this came at the expense of gasoline production which has resulted in an increase to gas prices. Ongoing volatility is expected into the fall.

Propane inventories have been building throughout the summer but still remain below the 5 year average for this time of year. Expanded export options continue to impact the inventory levels and prices, in turn. However, somewhat surprisingly, prices have gradually dropped recently. It’s tough to determine if this will continue or not.

We’ve experienced a slight drop in propane prices throughout the spring as demand has cooled off. However, inventories remain well below the five year average. This is likely to mitigate any downward price movement, into the fall, if the gap isn’t reduced. Our brand new bulk loading facility in Stratford is projected to be operational this summer. This should ensure we are well supplied into the heating months.

Distillates and gasoline (to a lesser extent) prices have been extremely volatile throughout the spring. This surely correlated with low inventories and speculation on the geo-political climate. We saw prices reach all-time highs in May and have since retreated more than 20 cents. Demand will remain high through the summer driving months. Though, we hope to see prices cool off into the fall.

New regulations were announced by the government this week which will increase the ethanol content in gasoline. We are awaiting more details and will update accordingly. The provincial government has implemented a six-month gas tax holiday beginning on July 1. All road tax will be reduced to $0.09/litre.