A rush on gasoline stations in the Kathmandu Valley has eased with Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) boosting deliveries. Panic buying triggered by talk of a possible shutdown led to petrol pumps going dry over the last few days.
On Wednesday, long queues were seen outside gas stations, but motorists faced no difficulty filling up their tanks except for having to wait long time.
Increased demand coinciding with reduced deliveries by NOC resulted in private gasoline stations running out of stock.
And as often happens during times of shortages, motorists could be seen besieging petrol pumps operated by Sajha and the security forces.
Gas stations had announced that they would pull down their shutters from July 4 if the state-owned oil monopoly did not address their grievances over shrinkage loss.
According to NOC, demand on Tuesday surged to 1,075 kilolitres compared to the daily requirement of 450 kilolitres. Pumps ran dry also due to NOC reducing deliveries on Saturday and Monday which was a public holiday.
NOC Spokesperson Sitaram Pokharel claimed that fuel supplies had returned to normal from Wednesday. “A sharp increase in deliveries has brought the situation back to normal,” Pokharel said.
According to NOC, it distributed 550 kilolitres of petrol on Wednesday and a total of 3,150 kilolitres in the last six days. “Due to the massive rise in demand, we distributed double the usual quantity,” said Pokharel, adding that hoarding by panicked buyers had contributed to the rush on petrol pumps.
NOC has often been criticised for creating regular shortages by turning off supply on public holidays. A long weekend usually results in a fuel shortage and large crowds outside gasoline stations.
Lilendra Prasad Pradhan, president of the Nepal Petroleum Dealers’ Association, blamed NOC’s negligence for creating the problem.
“NOC should either distribute fuel on public holidays too or increase supply on workings days so a demand backlog does not lead to shortages,” Pradhan added.
NOC to hold talks with fuel dealers today
KATHMANDU: NOC is slated to hold talks with fuel dealers on Thursday in a bid to resolve shrinkage loss issues. The state-owned company announced holding negotiations following an ultimatum by gasoline stations.
Dealers from the Kathmandu Valley, Nuwakot, Dhading and Kavrepalanchok have warned NOC that they will stop buying fuel from July 4 if it does not address the problem of shrinkage (working) loss. According to them, NOC has been supplying 90 litres short on every measure of 4,000 litres of petrol while the permitted shortage is up to 40 litres. NOC Spokesperson Sitaram Pokharel said the enterprise had formed a technical team to study the possibility of revising shrinkage loss levels.