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11.03.2009 Business & Finance

Fuel shortage hits town

By Daily Guide

Accra seems to be heading for a fuel shortage, real or artificial, judging from the queues that have started to form in the city since Monday following the reduction of the commodity.

There are indications that fuel station managers who are not in favour of the price reduction are hoarding the commodity.

Some of the filling stations in the metropolis, particularly, Total, GOIL, Mobil, Shell and Star Oil, have displayed 'no fuel' and 'no petrol' notices. Consequently, they are not selling petroleum products, attributing the situation to a shortage.

Almost all the filling stations visited by this paper on the Mallam-Kasoa road were not selling the commodity. The situation was no different at other filling stations in the metrolopolis.

At the GOIL filling station at the Nima Roundabout, the Elf Filling Station at Legon and the Total Filling Station at Darkuman Junction, there were signs of 'no petrol'.

The only petroleum products that are available at these stations are G-plus, V-Power and Super-plus which are being sold for about GH¢5 per gallon.

The situation has resulted in some motorists driving from one service station to another in search of fuel. Those manning the stations were reluctant to comment on the shortage, except to say 'no fuel'.

This has therefore resulted in pressure on the few fuel stations that are selling diesel.

A source at the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), the main source of supply of petroleum products, asserts that there is no supply problem since adequate fuel has been released into the system.

The oil marketing companies (OMCs) on the other hand, do not seem to share this view. The OMCs claim that they do not get adequate supplies to meet demand.

Consumers, on their part, blame both TOR and the OMCs for the shortage. They claim that some of the OMCs may be hoarding the product, while TOR is also under supplying, all in the name of making profit.

Meanwhile, TOR has stated that it has released more than enough petroleum products into the market to curb any artificial shortage in the country.

Following the price reduction of petroleum products, a gallon of petrol will now sell at GH¢3.51 from GH¢3.69, representing a drop of five percent and diesel will go for GH¢3.89 from GH¢4.00, representing a 2.8-percent decrease.

Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is also expected to go down by about 10 percent.

The reduction means Ghana could lose GH¢50 million as announced by Finance Minister, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor.

Meanwhile, crude oil shot up to $50 a barrel yesterday.

By Felix Dela Klutse