Doha, August 26, 2008:
Qatar doesn’t face a shortage of diesel. WOQOD Vice-chairman and Managing Director, Mohamed Turki Al Sobai, has said.
“While we don’t have a shortage, we know some people abuse the system by smuggling the heavily subsidised diesel,” he said. Al Sobai added that the Ministry of Interior, in cooperation with the Ministry of Energy and Industry, had registered several cases of diesel smuggling. “We will continue to monitor the market and be on the look out for offenders,” Al Sobai said.
The daily consumption of diesel in Qatar was estimated at about 40,000 barrels per day (bpd). Of this about 24,000 bpd is being provided by Qatar Petroleum Refinery. The balance of 16,000 bpd is being met through imports.
“The Government provides heavy subsidy on this 16,000 bpd though it is imported at he international price. The Government’s policy is very clear. The subsidy is being provided to safeguard the interests of both nationals and expatriates, because diesel is significantly important for our transportation sector. It drives our economy. Hence the stress on adequate supplies and subsidy,” Al Sobai said.
The diesel price for international companies and joint ventures operating in the Country is different. This means there are different tiers of diesel pricing for general and industrial purposes within the Country. “We have a committee which fixes the diesel price for international companies and projects operating in the Country. That’s done based on their character and nature of operations in Qatar,” he added.
Al Sobai said that some of these people were trying to get subsidized diesel from local filling stations using some unscrupulous elements. “We have caught many of them,” he said.
On the long vehicle queues seen at some filling stations in Doha and elsewhere in Qatar, the Minister said, “some drivers seem to prefer filling up from certain gas stations due to convenience. When you have so many drivers turning up to fill their vehicles at the same time, you ought to find a queue.”
Al Sobai said that Laffan Condensate Refinery slated for commissioning either later this year or early 2009 would provide about 24,000 bpd of diesel. “With our Refinery in place, we will be able to meet our local demand for diesel,” he added.