Qatar will have 70 new petrol stations in the next five years, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Industry, H.E Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah announced here on Saturday.
Ten to 20 fuel stations will come up per year, Attiyah said after opening a petrol station in Abu-Hamour. The announcement comes in the wake of a severe diesel shortage that hit Qatar’s transportation and construction industry recently.
WOQOD, the national fuel supply company, had blamed a sharp rise in the number of diesel-run vehicles over the past year for the crisis.
He also announced that Qatar will “soon” float a global tender for building a 250,000-barrels-per-day refinery. The technical and feasibility studies for the construction of a refinery in Al-Shaheen oilfield have been completed, he said, and added, the target for first export from the plant is set for 2011.
Attiyah, who is also the Chairman of WOQOD, denied rumors that the Company had run into trouble with the Urban Planning and Development Authority (UPDA) over allocation of land for the new petrol stations. “We have been assured by UPDA that the projects will be cleared. Talks have been held at the highest levels,” he said.
Explaining the diesel shortage, Attiyah conceded the demand had risen so much that even though Qatar used to export diesel until a few months ago, it had now forced to import it.
“The daily diesel requirement in the country stands at 40,000 liters currently. We are importing close to 17,000 liters a day,” the Minister said.
He also said that Qatar had decided to roll back its plan to replace diesel consumption with the gas-to-liquids (GTL) fuel, which had been launched under an aggressive campaign in December. “GTL needs to be blended with a suitable fuel before being used for consumption. But the blend is quite costly, and the process is therefore not economically viable,” he said.
The two new refineries coming up in Ras Laffan and Mesaieed will also help meet the requirements in future, Attiyah said. “The Ras Laffan Refinery, with a production capacity of 145,000 barrels per day, will be ready by next year. The refinery being built in Mesaieed, expected to be finished by 2011, will have a production capacity of 250,000 barrels a day. Together, they should be able to meet all our future requirements.”
The Abu-Hamour Petrol Station has high speed diesel pumps capable of filling up a truck in two minutes. It also has a cafeteria and a vehicle service centre.
“We are adapting to the views of our customers. We are adjusting our facilities to ensure that we continue to achieve excellent customer service,” said WOQOD’s Managing Director, Mohammed Turki Al Sobai.