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15.02.2005 General News

Fuel Crisis: Queues Hit Accra, K’si

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(Graphic) -- The nation seems to be heading towards fuel shortage, real or artificial, judging from the queues that have started to form in Accra, Kumasi and other big towns.

There are indications that either motorists are making panic purchases or fuel station mangers are hoarding the commodity in anticipation of a price increase.

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 the other hand,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 when a new and higher price is announced.

A number of filling stations in the Accra metropolis seem to be creating the artificial shortage of petrol and other petroleum products in anticipation of immediate price hikes in the products.

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

This 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”.

However,filling stations of the Ghana Oil Company (GOIL) are still serving motorists.At the Zongo Junction Goil Filling Station, an attendant,who only gave his name as Kwame, said GOIL could not hoard the product because its aim was to serve the public.

The mention of the probable implementation of the deregulation of the petroleum sector in the President's State of the Nation Address last month and the expected presentation of the government's budget to Parliament this month have fuelled the speculations.

At a Mobil filling station at Adabraka, the Elf Filling Station at Legon and the Shell Filling Station at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle,there were signs of no petrol,report Michael Donkor & Drake McHug.

From Kumasi, Enoch Darfah Frimpong reports that there have been long queues at various fuel filling stations in the metropolis since last Wednesday, with “no diesel” notices posted at the stations, with some owners of those stations them complaining that supplies have not been coming from TOR.

This has, therefore, resulted in pressure on the few fuel stations that are selling diesel.Meanwhile,TOR has stated that it has released more than enough petroleum products into the market to curb any artificial shortage in the country.

It said the daily supply of petroleum products to the oil marketing companies (OMCs) had been increased by more than a million litres.

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