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India: diesel crisis, petrol outlets go dry

India: diesel crisis, petrol outlets go dry thumbnail

It was a double whammy for residents of Chennai, as a large number of the 300 fuel outlets in the city that put up ‘no diesel’ on Friday also ran out of petrol. While there was no explanation from the oil companies till late evening, pump owners said petrol shortage was a spin-off of the diesel scarcity.

“On Thursday we placed an order for 12,000 litres of fuel – 8,000 litres of petrol and 4,000 litres of diesel – but we were asked to choose either of the two. We chose petrol because we have more petrol customers, but we completely ran out of stock by around 3.30pm today,” said B Gnanavelu who runs a fuel outlet near Kodambakkam flyover.

Pump owners said they ordering petrol more than normal to augment their loss of diesel sale. “When we asked senior sales officials they informed us that Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited had suspended its operation for a few days in April, leading to a shortage. But we think the crisis is acute because of a few pumps choosing to buy diesel over petrol on Friday, and went dry on both,” said a Hindustan Petroleum bunk operator in Nandanam. Panic buying also added to the scarcity. Officials from oil companies were not available for comment.

By evening, motorists were calling up each other to find out where they could get petrol. “Because of the diesel shortage, I left behind my car and set out today on my bike. But, petrol outlets in CIT Nagar and Nandanam didn’t have stock,” said Vishnu Ram, an advertising professional who finally got to fill petrol at an outlet near the Thiru Vi Ka bridge.

For once, it was shortage overtaking price. “Yesterday we were cribbing about the petrol price rise,” said S Shankar, an autorickshaw driver at Nandanam. “Today, we are willing to pay anything for a litre of petrol.” Diesel shortage, meanwhile, continued for the fourth day on Saturday. A handful of pumps that managed to get the precious fuel on Friday evening had long queues of cars. “We finally got around 3,500 litres at around 5.30pm. By around 7.30pm, , the entire Indira Nagar second street was blocked by cars trying to drive in from every direction, and before midnight we ran dry again. We refused a few tempo trucks, but catered to many cabs,” said Nandan Krishnan, an employee at a fuel station on LB Road. Cabs and freight operators are believed to be the worst hit by the shortage.

If commuting to work on Monday is likely to be tough, work place experience may not be any better, as offices rely on diesel generators to function during power cut. “We don’t know how we will cope on Monday,” said Nasscom regional director K Purushothaman.

Times of India

4 Comments on "India: diesel crisis, petrol outlets go dry"

  1. DC on Sun, 27th May 2012 5:49 pm 

    Anything to do with India foolishly going along with amerikas sanctions against Iran? Any connection at all?

  2. John Orr on Sun, 27th May 2012 8:56 pm 

    Know what ur saying DC about Iran,, but I can’t work out why diesel is cheaper 10m from the UK border???

  3. BillT on Mon, 28th May 2012 3:14 am 

    The Empire at work…and coming to a station near you.

  4. MikeK on Mon, 28th May 2012 5:18 am 

    Are they running out of oil to process, or running out of processed fuel due to lack of refining capacity? Does anyone know?

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