The National Petroleum Marketing Company (NP) has sought to dispel claims that of a proposed shutdown of fuel operations due to occur today.
However, the Petroleum Dealers Association (PDA) is not saying for certain if it sanctioned a shutdown.
However, when asked if he could say categorically that the PDA did not sanction a shutdown, he replied, “I cannot say that,” adding that he preferred not to confirm nor deny the question.
“I don’t know what will happen tomorrow,” he added.
The claims came via social media posts that circulated mostly via WhatsApp on Monday, urging drivers to fill up with gas due to an expected shutdown of service stations across the country.
The Government has already dismissed claims that it had raised taxes on gas stations and no such measures were announced in the 2020 Budget.
In a move to quickly counter the rumours, NP issued a statement late yesterday, saying that it was aware of the rumours circulating on social media.
“NP wishes to advise the public that our operations are running as normal and that we remain steadfast in our commitment to ensure that a continuous and reliable supply of fuel is delivered across the country,” the NP statement said.
It added: “In fact, as of today, 2019 October 28, the placing of orders for the purchase of all liquid fuel products continued unabated, with deliveries to service stations taking place today as scheduled, and others being scheduled for tomorrow, based on orders received from our dealers.”
The company insisted yesterday that there is no need for consumers to panic buy, saying this will only serve to cause fuel shortages at the pump.
It’s assuring the public that all liquid fuels will continue to be available at service stations throughout Trinidad and Tobago.
“As the largest service station network operator in Trinidad and Tobago, NP remains committed to providing a reliable and convenient supply of quality fuel to our valued customers and communities,” the statement said.
Guardian Media attempted to reach the Chief Executive Officer of Unipet, Dexter Riley on the position Unipet was adopting in light of the claims.
However, several calls to his phone went unanswered.
The rumours came just days after providers of compressed natural gas in south Trinidad, threatened to stop providing the product because of high electricity costs attached to it.
The Petroleum Dealers’ Association last week called on Minister of Energy Franklin Khan and the Government to immediately address the unprofitability of the service they provide as consumers in south Trinidad faced difficulty in getting a supply of CNG.
Naraynsingh had said dealers currently earn on average as low as $2.50 per $100 sale at the pumps, while they are expected to pay an estimated $10,000 per month for the industrial gas supply to use the pumps, their employees’ salaries and cover all other expenses.
Minister Khan is yet to publicly respond to those concerns.
Story by SAMPSON NANTON
Image caption... Customers at St Christopher’s Service Station on Wrightson Road.