Bali Post reports that uniformed police officers have been deployed to stand duty since Thursday, April 3, 2008, at gas stations across Bali to deal with possible unrest as long lines of consumers wait to buy scarce petrol supplies.
With shortages blamed on the late delivery of fuel by tankers destined for the Island's main depot at Sanggaran, near Padang Bai, the current shortage is most acutely felt by those seeking premium gas. During the course of the shortage, stations that finished their gas stocks simply closed, while those still able to pump gas remained opened before lines stretching as much as one kilometer in length formed outside their entrances.
As the fuel crisis worsened and more gas stations closed their pumps, officials of the State oil company Pertamina promised the shortage would soon end with 6,000 kiloliters of new fuel landing on April 4th and additional stocks of 2,000 kiloliters expected on April 5th. With a daily fuel requirement of 16,000 kiloliters substantially larger shipments of fuel will be required before local gas supplies become sufficient.
Officials cite numerous causes for the current late delivery of fuel, including repairs on the fuel pier recently damaged by a tanker and the breakdown in a delivery ship as all playing contributory roles in delaying fuel shipments destined for Bali. Meanwhile, local press reports suggest that fuel may continue to be hard-to-come-by for as long as the entire month of April.
Pertamina Says Fuel Shortage to End Within One Week
Tempo Interaktif quotes a sales representative for Pertamina in Bali, Putut Adriatno, who denies a prolonged shortage and says the current fuel shortage would be over within one week, with gas stations receiving extra allotments of fuel until demand profiles return to normal levels. Adrianto also blamed the current shortage on panic buying by Bali consumers.
The Chairman of Commission II of Bali's House of Representatives (DPRD), I Nengah Usdek Maharipa, criticized the State Oil Company for the present shortage, saying it violated existing agreements with Provincial government assuring that Pertamina would always prioritize the delivery of fuel supplies for Bali. Blaming the current shortage on a lack of coordination by the distribution team comprised of representatives from the Departments of Trade, Industry, Natural Resource Management Department and Pertamina,
Maharipa told Tempo Interaktif that if the current fuel shortage persists for more than one week it is likely have the ripple effect of causing the cost of basic commodities to increase across the Island.
Legal Action Ahead?
With the public becoming increasingly unhappy with long lines and delays at Bali gas stations, a group calling itself the "People's Alliance of Fuel Users" is threatening to file a class action suit against Pertamina, if the Sate Oil Company continues to lack transparency in its dealings with public and if the fuel shortage persists beyond the second week of April.
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