Farmers Union Westhope Farmers Union Oil Westhope

Fuels

Northern Fuel Partners Delivers

 

A reliable energy source, whether fuel, gas or propane, is important to rural America. When it comes time for spring planting the last detail a farmer wants to worry about is keeping the bulk diesel and gas tanks full. In the fall a wet season can lead to many hours of drying the grain and the need for a reliable supply of propane. Farming is the heartbeat of the rural prairies, but there are commercial, industrial and residential customers that also need a reliable energy source. For that reason Northern Fuel Partners was formed in 2009.

 

The new company was a cooperative effort between Farmer’s Union Oil Company of Westhope, Souris and Bottineau, and Souris River Cooperative of Newburg. “As we looked at the map, the two co-ops bordered each other on two sides,” according to Kevin Schroeder of Northern Fuel Partners, “We formed Northern Fuel Partners to create more efficiencies in delivering refined fuels and propane to our members.”

 

Some of those efficiencies meant larger bulk plants, more trucks and sharing of employees in the delivery system. “When we are able to purchase more, it gives us leverage on contracts for multi-months, for example we are able to offer contracts on propane for winter delivery. Robert Wettlaufer is our CES (Certified Energy Specialist) and it’s his job to manage the supply,” said Kevin.  Wettlaufer has to watch the markets and make purchases according to supply and demand. “The market really dictates the prices so it’s important to take advantage of price breaks when you can.” And when you are delivering 2,100,000 gallons of fuel, 1,832,000 gallons of gas and 1,500,000 gallons of propane each year, not including deliveries to retail stations, saving money when purchasing product is important.

 

Supply is also a challenge. “What’s going on out west has certainly affected the supply,” said Kevin, “it takes a lot of energy to keep up to the demands out there.

The majority of the Northern Fuel Partners employees are from Farmer’s Union in Westhope and Bottineau, but the company also has a propane and fuel truck stationed in Newburg to service that area in case of an emergency or “need to have” situation.

How large is the fleet of trucks? “We have four propane and four fuel trucks,” according to Kevin, “ and they cover an area from Antler to Rolla and from the Canadian border to Bantry.

 

Within that area are four bulk plants for fuel in Westhope, Souris, Bottineau and Newburg, and three bulk plants for propane in Westhope, Newburg and Bottineau.

As far as deliveries of fuel and gas, “Around 40% are to ag customers and 60% to commercial and industrial. As far as propane goes, 70% are residential deliveries and the rest is split between commercial and agricultural. It really depends on the year. A warm winter will mean we deliver less propane,” says Kevin.

 

In the future, Northern Fuel Partners has a goal to save even more money by being efficient in their purchase and delivery system. “If we can create routes that make it more cost effective to deliver our products, it saves our members money. With fuel costs going up, it makes sense to look at every option,” says Kevin.


For Northern Fuel Partners the challenge to deliver product more efficiently will mean looking at the future and learning from the past.

 

 

Northern Fuel Partners

25 Railway Ave East

Westhope, N.D. 58793

Phone: (701) 245-6433

 

Bottineau Location

207 West 11th Street

Bottineau, N.D. 58318

Phone: (701) 228-2900 or (877) 819-2269

 

Newburg Location- Souris River Cooperative Location

315 Main Street

Newburg, N.D. 58762

Phone: (701) 272-6158

 

Souris Location

118 Main Street

Souris, N.D. 58783

Phone: (701) 243-6414