Petrol stations ration fuel as shortage drags on

Motorists complain of being turned away from stations as fuel shortfall hits retailers
Petrol stations ration fuel as shortage drags on
State-owned retailer ENOC has blamed disruption at more than 80 stations across UAE on maintenance
By Claire Ferris-Lay
Tue 14 Jun 2011 01:51 PM

Petrol stations across Dubai are rationing fuel or turning
drivers away altogether as a country-wide fuel shortage stretches into its
second week, motorists told Arabian Business.

State-owned retailer ENOC has blamed disruption at more than
80 stations across emirates including Sharjah, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah on
maintenance, leaving drivers struggling to find petrol.

 “I was told at three stations on Sheikh Zayed Road
that they couldn’t fill up my car but they were filling up delivery trucks so
they must have had some fuel. I ended up having to drive to the Meadows,” Dubai
resident Sarah Stafford told Arabian Business.

 “They were out of petrol at EPCO Station in Industrial
City at the weekend. The man just said; ‘sorry sir, no fuel, we’re empty’,”
said Ahmed Soliman.

Other drivers have reported a rationing of fuel. “We had
troubles at ENOC in Jumeirah – they said there was a shortage of petrol and we
couldn’t get a full tank,” said Rawiya Shihabi.

Nearly all of the 25 Dubai-based petrol stations contacted
by Arabian Business said that while they had not be told to ration petrol for
personal vehicles, they were not filling up drums, or commercial vehicles.

The Nad Al Sheba branch of EPPCO said customers filling
drums were allowed a maximum of AED25 of fuel.

Sharjah’s Executive Council last week called for an
immediate end to the fuel shortages and demanded Dubai-owned ENOC explain the
“real reasons” for the shortfall. 

Analysts have said the shortage is likely to be a reflection
of the increasing gap between fuel prices and the heavily subsidised cost at
the pump.

“It is more likely due to a shortage of funds,” said Samuel
Ciszuk, energy analyst at IHS Global Insight. “This is quite a common problem
in a system where the retail price is fixed and where the main entity is an
importer of fuel or feedstock. What normally happens in such a system is that
you receive cash injections from time to time to fill that gap.”

The UAE, the world's third largest exporter of crude oil,
has long subsidised fuel prices in an effort to cut living costs for residents,
a move that costs the state millions of dollars a year.

(Additional reporting by Sarah Morris)

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