KUCHING: Steps are being taken by the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry to resolve the intermittent shortage of RON97 petrol in the state capital.
State deputy director Abd Hafidz A. Rahim said the situation was caused by a surge in demand for RON97 following its price reduction under the managed float system.
In addition, he said, the fuel currently had to be delivered from Bintulu while the depot at Senari Port here is undergoing upgrading works, expected to be completed on Feb 24.
“With the drop in the price of RON97, motorists who previously bought RON95 have now switched to RON97. Furthermore, many motorists wait for the latest price announcement before filling up their tanks, so petrol stations cannot cope with the demand.
“It doesn’t mean that there is a shortage in supply. Both Shell and Petronas are making efforts to speed up delivery of fuel to the affected stations,” he told a press conference after meeting representatives from the oil companies here yesterday.
Motorists had complained of difficulty in buying RON97 petrol since its price dropped to RM2 per litre for this month.
Abd Hafidz said on the whole the stations were able to sell the fuel for eight to nine hours a day before running out of stock, but it would be available again the next day following delivery.
He said the situation was expected to improve by today as Shell and Petronas were stepping up their delivery of fuel, including RON97 petrol, to their stations in Kuching.
He added that the oil companies were now sending five tankers from Bintulu with 30,000 litres of fuel each, to be distributed among the stations here.
According to him, 30 out of 39 Shell stations and 20 of 43 Petronas stations in Kuching sold RON97 petrol. Altogether there are 98 petrol stations in Kuching and 233 statewide.
Abd Hafidz also said the supply of RON97 was expected to return to normal once the upgrading works at Senari were comple- ted.
“We have directed Shell and Petronas to make preparations so that they can resume delivery from Senari when it is ready,” he said, adding that the ministry would continue to monitor the situation.