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Diesel, propane shortage lead gas stations to shut down.

Sana'a, March 17--Gas stations around the capital have had to shut down this week following increased shortages of diesel fuel and propane gas.

The last severe diesel fuel shortage occurred in early November 2013, when thousands of drivers were forced to queue in front of gas stations across the country in order to buy diesel and propane. Following the latest severe shortage, people have begun parking their cars and waiting for fuel to arrive.

Taxi driver Fuad Al-Jaledi told the Yemen Times, "I queued for an entire day in order to buy diesel fuel but the station ran out and I ended up going home empty-handed." Without fuel, Al-Jaledi says he has been without work for two days.

"For two months it has been hard for us to buy diesel fuel, and this week the gas stations completely ran out. I can't work now because my taxi operates on diesel fuel," he said.

Diesel is available on the black market--for higher prices, according to Al-Jaledi. Supplies of regular gasoline are also spotty, but more readily available than diesel fuel.

One liter of diesel fuel sells for YR100 (about 46 cents per liter, or $1.76 per gallon).

Mohammed Al-Aizari, the owner of a gas station in Sana'a, says that even after the start of the diesel shortage two months ago, the station would still get periodic deliveries. Al-Aizari says he used to sell 12,000 liters of diesel in two days but now sells the same quantity in two or three hours. "People lined up in front of the station and some people even slept in their cars but because we didn't get any deliveries, we decided to close the station," Al-Aizari said.

In its last session on Thursday, Parliament formed a committee to study the reasons behind the diesel shortage and to coordinate with concerned government bodies to find an appropriate means to ensure regular provision of diesel fuel to the market. The committee will report back to Parliament within a week. Yemen Petroleum Company in a statement on Saturday denied rumors that the government intends to raise diesel prices, according to the state-run Saba News Agency. The company said that diesel is regularly delivered to gas stations but that the current high demand has led to the shortage.

Al-Aizari believes the rumors of diesel fuel increases are leading some to hoard fuel.

In a financial statement released on Sunday, Yemen Central Bank said oil pipeline sabotage has caused a decline in the production of unrefined fuel. The bank said that the government has had to import large quantities of oil derivatives to meet the country's demand--to the tune of $258 million in January 2014 alone.

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Publication:Yemen Times (Sana'a, Yemen)
Geographic Code:7YEME
Date:Mar 18, 2014
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