Diesel fuel crisis due to harvest season, says oil minister

The diesel fuel crisis affecting certain Egyptian governorates is being caused by an increase in consumption due to the agricultural harvest season, said Petroleum Minister Abdullah Ghorab.

He added that consumption rates increased from 32,000 to 36,000 tons per day, at a rate of 1.8 million liters per hour, with farmers storing diesel fuel in jerry cans for future use in harvesting. Ghorab also said that the filling of jerry cans has led to long lines of cars at diesel gas service stations.

In press statements on Sunday, Ghorab said that teams of monitors had been sent to gas stations across the nation to control the sale of diesel fuel and to give priority to cars and bakeries that work on diesel so as to prevent the black market from exploiting price hikes.

Ghorab went on to say that the Petroleum Ministry and the General Directorate for the Investigation of Supply (GDIS) are intensifying their efforts to deal with any price manipulations. He added that his ministry was coordinating efforts with the Ministry of Social Solidarity to pump large quantities of diesel fuel at official prices to the bakeries so as to prevent a halt in production.

Ghorab said that local production covers 75 percent of the country’s consumption needs and that the rest is covered through import. He pointed out that the ministry had pumped additional quantities since the beginning of May.

Mohamed Shoaib, deputy CEO for operations at the Egyptian Petroleum Authority, said that Greater Cairo would not be affected by the diesel fuel crisis, as it is an urban area with no involvement in agricultural harvesting. He went on to say that bakeries nationwide were working at full capacity to ensure subsidized bread reaches the citizens, and said there had been no complaints from bakeries in this regard.

Shoaib said the Ministry of Social Solidarity, in coordination with the GDIS, was intensifying its efforts to ensure diesel fuel from reaches all governorates.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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