x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Fresh petrol queues in Sharjah

People returning from Ramadan and summer vacations are again putting a strain on the Northern Emirates' petrol supply.

The empty interior of a closed Eppco station on Al Ittihad Road in Sharjah this week.
The empty interior of a closed Eppco station on Al Ittihad Road in Sharjah this week.

SHARJAH // Queues at petrol stations are once again lengthening in the emirate as residents return from vacations and Eid holidays.

Motorists are worried that, without a solution, fuel shortages - and long waits at filling stations - will drag on through the winter. It has already been more than three months since Enoc and Eppco stations ran dry and were eventually shut down by the Government.

"I spent about 15 minutes in a queue on Al Arouba Road Emarat station," said Salah, a motorist. "Last month, one could be there for just three to five minutes but now I am afraid it's getting back to how it used to be in June."

Hameed, another resident who had endured a long wait to refill at an Adnoc station on Airport Road in Sharjah, said he was pessimistic.

"I think it is going to be like this for good," he said. "They have already stopped talking about the crisis like there is nothing."

The silence will not last if motorists continue to face ever lengthening queues, said Haytham Abu Omar, from Sharjah.

"Very soon the queues are going to be longer than they have ever been, and authorities will have to resume discussing solutions," he said. "They have been fortunate this crisis started during the summer season and most people were going abroad for vacations. They could have used that time to fix the problem."

Authorities confirmed that no new arrangements had been made. "Nothing has changed so far. Everything is as it was before," said Osama Samra, director of Sharjah Media Centre, the official voice of the Sharjah Government.

No changes had been made at Enoc Group, said the Eppco and Enoc spokesman Khalid Hadi.

In Sharjah, Enoc and Eppco petrol stations remain closed. Their supermarkets have been emptied and the facilities are generally unattended.

The Sharjah Executive Council ordered the closings in June after Enoc Group ignored a 72-hour ultimatum to resume selling petrol after a month without supplies.

In Ajman, Eppco and Enoc stations continue to provide car maintenance, sell lubricants and operate their supermarkets. However, their pumps are still dry.

Eppco and Enoc stations in the Northern Emirates began running out of fuel in May, creating long queues at stations run by other companies, including Adnoc.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, ordered Adnoc to act. It boosted its supply by up to 40 per cent in its 59 stations in the Northern Emirates, but high demand has sustained long queues.