Long lines at gas stations as North Sinai fuel crisis continues

The North Sinai Governorate, specifically the city of Arish, is witnessing a severe petroleum crisis, leading to traffic congestion and confusion on the highway between North Sinai and other governorates.

Drivers have been lining up in queues, holding jerry cans in front of fueling stations, recalling images of a similar crisis three months ago. Fights have also been breaking out at the filling stations, resulting in the injury of some employees.

Many reasons are being offered to explain the current energy crisis in North Sinai.

Some drivers attributed the crisis to gasoline smuggling through Gaza tunnels, while others put it down to the companies supplying filling stations, saying gas station owners sell the gasonline on black market at inflated prices.

Essam Mohamed, a taxi driver, said that the gasoline crisis started two months ago, but has worsened since the beginning of Ramadan. He suggested that the use of liquified natural gas could reduce dependence on gasoline and also protect the environment, especially since natural gas exists in Arish and would be difficult to smuggle to Gaza.

One of the petroleum station owners in Arish said that the crisis came about because a company supplying gas stations had restricted supply by nearly half. He stressed that the recent arrival of armed forces in the border city of Arish had concerned people, compelling them to store petroleum in large quantities.

Fathy Abou Hemda, an official in the North Sinai Governorate, said that the crisis had been caused by a reduction in petroleum production in the adjacenmt city of Suez, in addition to the bad behavior of some drivers, who store large amounts without any justification. 

Abou Hemda said that the crisis would be resolved soon, saying that the governor of North Sinai had contacted the Petroleum Ministry, which promised to send additional supplies of gasoline as soon as possible.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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