SHARJAH // After a year of long queues and short supplies, the end appears to be in sight for the emirate's fuel crisis.
Three new Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) stations have opened recently - two at the beginning of this month in Yarmook and Samanan, and a third last month in Maleha Road. The openings come amid reports that the company is planning a fuel import terminal in Hamriyah port within the next two years with which to supply its Northern Emirate stations.
The new facilities have already helped to ease the long queues that have been a daily feature of life at the emirate's stations since pumps owned by the Emirates National Oil Company (Enoc) group - which include Eppco stations - ran dry in May last year.
Since Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, ordered Adnoc to step in to fill the gap, nine Adnoc facilities have been built in the Northern Emirates.
Motorists have already noticed the difference.
"The authorities have handled the crisis with a lot of secrecy but are at least delivering on their solutions," said Ahmed Al Kutbi, who lives in Sharjah. "We mostly thank them for resolving the crisis without increasing the fuel price."
Mr Al Kutbi said he used to refuel in Dubai to dodge the long queues but that now that queues were shorter, there was no need to do so.
However, not all stations were queue-free.
Most Emarat stations remained crowded with motorists waiting in queues of five to six cars in industrial areas - as compared to queues of two or three cars in residential areas. Long queues also formed during morning and evening rush hours.
Several motorists said they had not yet given up on trips to Dubai to refuel,
"It is still better for me to refuel in Dubai where I work before coming back home to Sharjah," said Abdullah Al Mursi.
"In Dubai petrol stations can be found almost everywhere, whereas in Sharjah sometimes one has to drive for a long time to find an operating station."
It has been 12 months since Enoc and Eppco stations stopped pumping petrol throughout the Northern Emirates. The Sharjah Consultative Council issued the company an ultimatum to resume supplying petrol or close down all their other businesses in the emirate. To this day in Sharjah, all Eppco and Enoc stations remain abandoned and gathering dust. In other emirates such as Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah, the group still operates some businesses but it does not supply fuel.
Bassma Essa, a spokeswoman for the Enoc Group, told The National earlier this year that Enoc is still in discussions to resume operations throughout the Northern Emirates.