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ABOUT TOWN: Where's the Gas? A Shell Game Exposed in Stoughton

Welcome to "About Town with Mark Snyder," a column that will keep you up to the minute with what's what, who's who and what's going on around town. If you see or hear something we could use here, let us know by sending an e

WHERE'S THE GAS? - A SHELL GAME EXPOSED: The About Town email box and Facebook private message file have been clogged with requests from readers to try to find out just what is going on at local Shell Service Stations.

For instance, the one located near me on Central Street, almost at the Avon line/Route 24, hasn't sold gas in a couple of months. When I ask the clerk there, what's going on, he groans, "soon." They still sell soda and newspapers, and do car repairs there. There's a similar situation at the Shell in Cobb's Corner, at the Stoughton/Sharon/Canton line.

So, I tried to reach official spokespeople, and they were all tied up making excuses for the lack of deliveries to New York and New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy.  

So, I called Marvin Odum, the President of Shell Oil directly. After a few messages were left, I did hear from someone in "The Office of the President." They sent me an email telling me they were doing the best they could to get supplies to New Jersey and New York. Then, someone from that office kindly followed up, and I explained that I was calling from the South of Boston, and wanted information specifically about Stoughton. (Snyder's New York just doesn't have the same kind of ring to it, does it?)

Eventually, he called me back and explained the situation. Via email, David, the man from the Office of the President, wrote, "Pursuant to your original call and inquiry as to why there are no Shell retail stations with available fuel stock, in the Boston-Stoughton area, the wholesaler contracted to this dealership is making a legal attempt to take possession of numerous stations from an indebted proprietor. The court system delays and litigation procedures are contributing to the untimely outage of fuel at these sites."  

In other words, the owner of all these gas stations went belly up, and he owes his gas supplier a ton of money. So, the supplier is trying to get ownership of all these stations, in lieu of the money.

Meanwhile, customers continue to pull up to gas, and figure out there is none. Are they mad at the bankrupt owner? No. They're peeved at Shell Oil, whose name is on the big sign.  

The owner of many of these gas stations is Ghazi Saab, a native of Lebanon, who resides in Sharon. He purchased his first gas station at age 25, and has built a large stable of stations. Calls to his home resulted in a recording which said, "The caller at this number is no longer taking calls at this time."

The wholesaler who is owed all the money is Colbea Enterprises LLC of Rhode Island. A half dozen calls made to Operations Officer Tom Cosgrove on Tuesday and Wednesday seeking comment were not returned.

So, it appears the Shell game will go on. No gas for you!

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bunny kirchdorfer November 15, 2012 at 03:52 PM
thank you. patch keeps us all up to date on local news and events.
Dale F. Appel November 15, 2012 at 04:05 PM
I also want to know why gas is so much more expensive in Stoughton than other parts of Massachusetts. Last week I was buying gas in Middleboro for $3.45 and $3.49 per gallon. The cheapest gas I could find in Stoughton was $3.65 per galon.
Scott M November 15, 2012 at 08:11 PM
I would not support the Mobil in Cobbs Corner. They appear to be profiting off their new monopoly. Their price is way more than the average in town.
DJ November 16, 2012 at 04:04 AM
Cobs Corner Shell pricing was always high too. The Shell on Mazzio Dr in Randolph has lower prices and I miss my V. Thanks for the very excellent investigative reporting.
Ruth Boncorddo November 16, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Thanks for the great reporting! You always tell me things I didn't know I needed to know!

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