Oil cos start night shifts at depots to keep petrol pumps full

NEW DELHI: The oil ministry on Wednesday said state-run fuel retailers have introduced night shifts at fuel depots for loading more tankers to speed up stock replenishment at petrol pumps, even as industry data showed petrol consumption spiking 54% and diesel nearly 48% in the first fortnight of June compared to the same period of 2021.

The ministry issued a statement to quell rumours of shortage due to reports of some pumps running dry in specific locations in some states, saying “production of petrol and diesel in the country is more than enough to meet any surge in demand and sufficient supplies are being made available to cater to the extra demand”.

As reported by TOI, the sharp increase in demand has created a rush at petrol pumps operated by public sector retailers, especially in states where private players have curtailed sales either by shutting their pumps or charging more to drive customers back to public sector outlets. Another reason for stock replenishments at pumps getting delayed is longer distance from depots or terminals.

“In particular, this has been noticed in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. These are States where large quantity of supply was being done by retail outlets belonging to private marketing companies,” the ministry said. The ministry described it as a seasonal surge and attributed to agricultural activities, bulk buyers switching to retail outlets and a substantial reduction in the sales by private players pushing their substantial volumes to public sector outlets.

“Simultaneously, as a result of a crackdown by the government on illegal biodiesel sales, these volumes have also been added to the RO (retail outlet’s) diesel sale,” it said. The state-run retailers are increasing stocks at depots and terminals, raising the number of trips by tankers to restock outlets and provisioning additional quantities of fuels for the affected states.