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Black markets thrive as fuel crisis worsens JAKARTA - The price of premium gasoline soared by up to 500 percent in some provinces on Wednesday as the country's fuel shortage bit deeper, with the National Police stationing officers at gas stations around the country to prevent outbreaks of violence among frustrated customers.

Long queues were seen at gas stations in all parts of the archipelago, with many people carrying jerrycans attempting to stockpile fuel in anticipation of prices rising further. Kupang city in East Nusa Tenggara was the worst-hit areas, with hundreds of people seen waiting in line on Wednesday night at gas stations in queues up to three kilometers long.

"The employee at gasoline stations are rationing gasoline in order to ensure people get their fair share," said Antonius Amsekan, who had waited four hours to get gasoline after queuing at a station since 4 a.m. At roadside retail outlets, the price of premium gasoline had reached Rp 12,500 (US$1.3) a liter, or about five times the normal price. Pertamax, a premium variant, which officially costs Rp 4,000 a liter, was not available in most gasoline stations in the city.

"A tanker carrying 2,500 tons of premium gasoline from Surabaya will arrive in the city on Friday, so the gasoline shortage is expected to end the next day," said Winrian, a Pertamina official in Kupang. In Jambi, the price of premium gasoline rose three-fold in retail outlets on Wednesday, while passengers in minivans and buses were asked to pay more for tickets, reflecting the higher prices.

"It is hard to find gasoline and its price has been increasing. We have to increase the transportation costs in order to prevent losses," a minivan driver, Udin, said. Normally, people paid Rp 1,200 for a short minivan ride, but now they were being asked to pay Rp 2,000, he said.

In Samarinda, East Kalimantan, some gas stations closed early after supplies were exhausted at 10 a.m, leading to longer queues at other stations in the city.

In Manado, North Sulawesi, shortages were also apparent, with Pertamina reducing premium gasoline supplies to stations from 450 kiloliters a day to 350 kiloliters for the past three days.

One place not affected by the shortage was Batam, where supplies to the Bintan and Sambu island depots were normal.

Responding to the shortage, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called on the public to be efficient in using energy, while Yogyakarta Governor Hamengkubuwono X asked people not to travel by car or motorcycle unless it was absolutely necessary. The shortage is caused by state oil company Pertamina cutting back fuel supplies to the regions so as not to overshoot its government set supply quota and pay financial penalties. National demand is currently about 10 percent higher than the budgeted supplies.

The company announced on Wednesday it was distributing more fuel across the country to ease the shortage. "Pertamina offices will open for 24 hours to help tackle the fuel shortage problems," Pertamina president director Widya Purnama said as quoted by Antara. Separately, the National Police Headquarters announced on Wednesday that it had confiscated 3.4 million liters of fuel from fuel hoarders since last year. Police had arrested 304 suspects in 231 hoarding and smuggling cases, National Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Zainuri Lubis said.


Link to related event Related event:
Fuel shortage

Related blog entries (category 'General') Related blog entries (category 'General'):
07 July 2005 · No fuel? Don't panic, says SBY
05 July 2005 · Pertamina cuts supply for quota
05 July 2005 · Jakartans start to feel the bite of fuel shortage
21 June 2005 · More power plants likely to be shut down due to fuel shortage
20 June 2005 · Pertamina: up to US$1.5b needed for fuel imports this month


Posted in General @ 07 July 2005 08:25 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink





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No fuel? Don't panic, says SBY


As the gasoline shortage worsened across the country on Wednesday, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told people not to panic, saying the government was gradually increasing the country's supplies, which would be back to normal soon. Susilo said the government was also drafting regulations on energy saving and plans for alternative power generation.


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