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Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Egypt officials attribute fuel shortage to hoarding, smuggling

Egypt officials attribute fuel shortage to hoarding, smuggling
Long queues outside nation's gas stations are due primarily to illegal
smuggling activities, Tuesday report by presidency asserts
Ahram Online, Tuesday 25 Jun 2013
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/3/12/74952/Business/Economy/Egypt-officials-attribute-fuel-shortage-to-hoardin.aspx

Egypt is not suffering a petrol shortage and the long queues outside gas
stations are mainly attributable to false rumours that the government plans
to halt the supply of octane products, Egypt's petroleum minister said
Tuesday.

"Egyptians' worries have pushed them to hoard petrol products," Sherif
Haddara said at a Tuesday press conference attended by the ministers of
supply, electricity and local development.

Last week, Turkish news agency Anadolu quoted Haddara as saying that Egypt's
strategic reserves of three vital fuel products would run out by the end of
this month.

Haddara said Tuesday that long queues of motorists at the nation's gas
stations would be over "within days."

The petroleum ministry provides 1,520 tonnes of Octane 80 per day to the
nation's gas stations, while national consumption stands at 1,370 tonnes
daily.

The petrol minister added that the daily supply of Octane 90 and 92
currently stands at 2,565 tonnes.

Haddara also attributed motorists' queues to a new smart-card system,
recently implemented in hopes of reducing energy subsidies, at most gas
stations.

For his part, Supply Minister Bassem Ouda has said that some gas stations
were refusing to sell octane to the public, going on to threaten violators
with severe penalties.

In a related development, the presidency issued a report on Tuesday citing
reasons for the recent fuel shortage, in which it blamed the shortfall on
illegal smuggling activities.

The report put the amount of fuel smuggled since Egypt's 2011 uprising at an
estimated 350.5 million litres of diesel oil and 52.1 million litres of
petrol.

The presidency also attributed the lack of fuel to ongoing foreign currency
shortages, noting that the state-run Egyptian General Petroleum Corporationís
current debts stood at an estimated $5.4 billion.

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