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Northern fuel shortages widen
Saudi Gazette Report
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 18 - 08 - 2008

A fuel crisis is the last crisis most would not expect in the world's largest oil exporting country. The northwestern city of Ar'ar already facing a diesel shortage for the last month is now faced with a shortage of fuel.
Some nine owners of fuel stations filed complaints to the Ar'ar Chamber of Commerce and Industry against Saudi Aramco for not supplying enough fuel to meet their needs, Al-Hayat reported.
Thani Al-Anezi, chairman of the Northern Frontier Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the complaint has been referred to the concerned authorities and will be followed up because the impact falls on citizens, travelers and owners of fuel stations. He called on Saudi Aramco to conduct a field survey and supply fuel as it is required to fuel stations and factories through its own fuel tanker trucks or contracted ones.
Al-Anezi said the shortage was due to a new electronic quota system adopted by Saudi Aramco.
“The electronic system distributes a certain quantity of fuel to each fuel station, but the quantity distributed is not precise and does not meet the market demand,” he said. “The system does not take into consideration that many fuel stations do not own their own fuel tanker trucks, so several fuel stations may help each other.”
“Some factories purchase large quantities of fuel reducing the quota for fuel station owners,” he added.
In an earlier SG report, farmers of Al-Jouf region threatened to sue Saudi Aramco for curtailing diesel supplies. Khamees Anan Al-Daghmani, assistant director general of Agricultural Affairs for Al-Jouf region, said a continuing diesel shortage could cause massive agricultural losses to farmers if they are unable to pump water using diesel pumps or transport their produce. Close to 32,000 hectares of land was at risk. The rental price of fuel tanker trucks also increased by 40 percent. __


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