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Where’s ze betrol?

Where’s ze betrol?

‘My kingdom for some petrol’ was what Richard III would’ve said if he lived in the UAE where petrol stations are tapped out. So what’s really behind the disappearing gas?

June 6, 2011 5:32 by

It was a funny weekend. After being turned away by EPPCO and ENOC stations, we finally joined the snaking queues at ADNOC and bustled our way through the jostling and aggressive throng of cars competing to get to the ranks of pumps.

‘Why no petrol?’ I asked the EPPCO guy.
‘Government issue, maybe.’ He grinned.

Gulf News ran a report on the situation the other day, but has obviously continued to receive nothing but the traditional filibustering, half-truths and downright dis-ingenuousness from spokespeople. For instance, this little classic from ENOC, reproduced by Gulf News:

“Enoc is managing its fuel supplies to meet the current demand. This involves a two-pronged approach of regulating the distribution of fuel through our network, as well as upgrading selected stations.”

Luckily, GN has got hold of some third party analysts who confirm that the issue is actually that of subsidies, with petrol distributors in the country losing money for every litre they sell. This has led to problems underwriting the ongoing loss and so we find ourselves in the odd position of living in an oil-producing nation where the petrol pumps have run dry. The assertion is one made by commenters to this here post on the issue back in April – we must have reached some sort of crisis point last week.

You’d think ADNOC would be pleased at the increased business, but looking at the economics, they’re just losing more money faster than anyone else.

I can feel a petrol price hike coming up. Now, given I fill my Pajero for a sum of Dirhams that fills a small hire car in the UK in pounds (we pay per gallon what you pay per litre, people), you’d be forgiven for whipping out the world’s smallest violin and playing us all a lament. But an increase in fuel would have a huge knock-on effect on things like food prices here.

Even Pepsi and Coke have put up their prices recently. Grief.

This blog originally appeared in Alex McNabb’s blog, Fake Plastic Souks.

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