NP: No fuel shutdown

Date: 
Tuesday, October 29, 2019 - 02:45

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.

Pres­i­dent of the PDA, Robindranath Narayns­in­gh said he did not wish to com­ment yes­ter­day but as­sured that his or­gan­i­sa­tion would is­sue a state­ment to­day.

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 mes­sage said: “It may not be traf­fic/RB re­lat­ed but gas sta­tions are go­ing on strike 2mor­row...so it would be wised to top up to­day if posi­ble....ru­mor has it that d gov’t raised tax­es on gas sta­tion and the own­ers are kick­ing up against it be­cause they are com­plain­ing that they al­ready dont make any­thing.”

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.

The As­so­ci­a­tion said its prob­lem was with a unique cost as­so­ci­at­ed with dis­pens­ing CNG to the mo­tor­ing pub­lic, which was be­ing en­tire­ly borne by CNG op­er­a­tors.

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.

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Story by SAMPSON NANTON

Image caption... Customers at St Christopher’s Service Station on Wrightson Road.

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