Petroleum ministry denies diesel shortage

Sufficient amounts of diesel are available on the local market as planned, said the Ministry of Petroleum, despite recent overcrowding at gas stations and reports of shortages.

The petroleum authority sent representatives to gas stations to find out the reason for the overcrowding, said Mohamed Shoaib, deputy CEO for operations at the Egyptian Petroleum Authority.

Shoaib added that more than 17,000 tons of diesel are stored in Tanta, and wondered why there were so many vehicles queuing at gas stations on the Cairo-Alex desert road. He warned that all the talk about a diesel shortage could eventually drive prices up.

Shoaib said Egypt’s daily consumption of diesel amounts to 33,000 tons, 80 percent of which is produced locally. This, he said, demonstrates that local production of diesel is capable of satisfying demand. Shoaib said that even if Egypt did not import any diesel, there would still be no problem.

Egypt’s annual consumption of diesel equals 12 million tons, of which nine million tons are produced domestically, Shoaib said, although he admitted that the smuggling of diesel into Gaza has reduced some governorates’ quotas.

Hossam Arafat, head of the fuel department at the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce, said the diesel crisis had been provoked by rumors that prices may rise, which caused consumption to climb.

Farag Wahba, head of the bakeries department, said he hadn’t received any complaints, adding that bakeries would normally be affected four days into a crisis, as they usually have sufficient stock for four days.

Wahba added that bakeries have priority over cars when it comes to diesel supplies, to ensure the continuity of their work.

Meanwhile, Ahmed el-Zeiny, head of the general sector for building materials at the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce, said he had received calls from truck drivers complaining that their cars had stopped on the way to cement factories in Helwan due to the lack of diesel at some stations.

On the other hand, iron factory owners said there were no problems with the transportation of raw materials or end products to traders.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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