Gas pumps remain shut anticipating fuel price revision

Kathmandu, March 15

Many gas stations in the capital today remained closed today as the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) is preparing to slash fuel price on Monday.

As the state-owned fuel supplier is preparing to reduce the price of petroleum products tomorrow in line with global decline in its price, fuel stations did not collect petroleum products from NOC’s depots expecting the fuel prices to drop tomorrow. Thus, long queues had formed outside the few pumps that were open.

The NOC often revises fuel price on the first and 16th day of the English calendar. As global oil price has come down significantly in the recent weeks and the NOC has been criticised for not reducing fuel prices accordingly, the corporation is expected to review the price of petroleum products on Monday.

NOC officials informed that though the corporation had enough stock of petroleum products, dealers were reluctant to collect fuel from NOC’s depots today.

“As the global oil price is coming down, this will also impact the fuel price in the domestic market. They probably did not collect fuel from NOC depots fearing that they would have to bear losses if oil purchased today remains in stock,” informed Birendra Goit, spokesperson for NOC.

However, Goit said that such trend of not collecting fuel with expectations that fuel price will come down is against market principles and will be checked from next time. “Such activities of the dealers will create panic among consumers,” he added.

While dealers refuted that the fuel stations were shut intentionally and said that some gas stations were shut probably as they could not collect fuel from NOC’s depots on Saturday (a public holiday), consumer rights activists alleged that NOC officials and dealers were colluding to do a brisk business during price review.

“Dealers do not collect fuel once NOC leaks the information that fuel prices are going to be reviewed. As a result, consumers are obliged to suffer all the time,” complained Madhav Timalsina, president of Consumer Rights Investigation Forum.