FuelSpot Faces Tight Squeeze

FuelSpot, an online crude and refined petroleum exchange, could be following the path of defunct business-to-business operations DownstreamEnergy Corp. and PetroCosm Corp.

The petroleum portal has reportedly closed its offices in Colorado and Minnesota and consolidated operations at its home base of North Chelmsford, Mass. In addition, the company has laid of one-third of its staff, estimated at 65 to 70 people, two sources told CSNews Online.

The company did not return several calls left at its Massachusetts office. "They've fallen through the cracks," said Leif Eriksen, a petroleum analyst at Boston-based AMR Research. "They can't compete with the major trading platforms and they don't really provide a lot of good commerce services.

"They, like virtually everyone else, are finding out that adoptions are not happening as quickly as they expected," he added.

The company, which is led by CEO/President Jim Imbler, announced three months ago it had been awarded a regional petroleum pricing service contract with the U.S. Defense Energy Support Center, which is responsible for government fuel purchasing across the country. The agency tapped FuelSpot's AXXIS Petroleum subsidiary for pricing services in 13 Midwestern and Southwestern states.

Imbler, who was former president of the Koch Petroleum Group, said earlier this summer that the company had raised $25 million in capital since its founding two years ago and had embarked on a third round of financing. Sources told CSNews Online that round has rendered few dollars.
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