Sharjah govt to discuss petrol shortage
Dubai, June 28, 2011
The Sharjah government will meet on Tuesday to discuss the nearly month-long fuel shortage that led to a shutdown of Dubai-owned Enoc Group petrol stations in Sharjah, local media reported.
The UAE, the world's third-largest crude oil exporter, has been facing a fuel shortage for nearly four weeks, which spread to northern emirates from Sharjah, where Enoc group petrol stations ran dry before being completely shut down last week.
Authorities first blamed the shortage on maintenance but analysts say the loss-making nature of fuel subsidies in the UAE forced Enoc Group to simply stop supplying fuel.
Officials who declined to be named told the local Gulf News that the shortage will end before Ramadan, which begins in August.
"In Ramadan there won't be a lot of pressure on the stations. I am optimistic. Alternative solutions are in place, there won't be problem," an official, who declined to be named, told the paper.
The Sharjah government previously gave Enoc Group until June 24 to resume supplying fuel at its stations and finally ordered them to shut down on Friday when the group took no action to solve the problem.
The Enoc Group's stations in Dubai have continued without disruption. But fuel shortages at other emirates have prompted customers to rush to rival fuel retailers such as Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) and Emarat, causing long queues at stations.
This is the third time petrol stations in the Opec member UAE have run dry in the last 10 months, as similar shortages occurred in September and April.
Local media reported last week that Adnoc was ordered to send additional supplies of fuel to Sharjah. Gasoline is heavily subsidised in the UAE but the government began to phase out the subsidies last year as they cost the country hundreds of millions of dollars per year.
However, sources have said another fuel price hike in the UAE had been delayed as social unrest sweeps the region.-Reuters