An unexpected demand for diesel triggered by an exploding vehicle population has prompted oil-exporting Qatar to import the fuel to meet local consumption.
Qatar Petroleum (QP) began importing diesel in June last year and the recent shortage was caused by a sudden import of 3,500 trucks last month, say senior officials of WOQOD. The country’s vehicle population rose considerably last year to around 500,000, some half of which use diesel, WOQOD’s Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Mohammed Turki Al-Sobai, told a news conference.
There was a tremendous strain on WOQOD’s supplies as some 84,000 vehicles were imported last year, compared to 26,000 in 2005. Half the number of the 84,000 automobiles was heavy vehicles, he stated.
There is only one multi-product pipeline supplying petroleum products from the refinery in Mesaieed to WOQOD’s Depot. There was a shortage of “Super” petrol for a day or two as more diesel was channeled from the Mesaieed Refinery to WOQOD’s Depot to meet the shortfall. A new pipeline with large capacity is under construction, to be ready by next year. By then, the upcoming refinery in Ras Laffan would also be operational, Al-Sobai said. WOQOD had already set up three distribution centers to provide additional supplies to stations. “QP” is paying between around $80 per barrel (pb) for the imports, but is making the diesel available to petrol stations at a subsidized rate of $30 pb for retail sale.
“Qatar Today” Magazine