Thukten Zangpo

Although the economic affairs ministry notified the public that there would be no fuel supply interruption in the country, many people were still rushing to fuel depots to refuel their cars since June 14.

After rumours spread in Thimphu that there would be fuel price hikes and supply disruptions, demand for fuel increased.

The notification did not stop people from turning up in large numbers at fuel depots.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA) explained that the two Indian principal companies, Indian Oil Corporation Limited and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, supplying fuel to Bhutan have completed successful registration of import and export code at Land Custom Station at Jaigoan on June 14.

It was mandatory for the exporters and importers to register the import and export code in the new Indian Customs EDI Gateway system at all ports of entry.

According to the ministry, the supply lines of fuel have been normalised and fuel tankers are already on the way from Phuentsholing to replenish the stock in different stations in the country.

Oil distributors also assured that there is a continuous supply of fuel in the depots and would be adequate for all.

The regional manager at Tashi Bhutan Oil Distributors (BoD) in Lungtenzampa, Dendup Tshering, said the demand for fuel surged by more than 50 percent because of the rumour.

On June 14, about 1,000 cars queued in the depot.

The depot sold 42,000 litres of petrol in a day, unlike 10,000 litres on usual days. Similarly, the depot sold 27,000 litres of diesel from 12,000 litres.

Dendup Tshering said that the depot receives about 29,000 litres of petrol and 30,000 litres of diesel in a day.

An official from Damchen Petroleum in Changzamtok said that because of the increased demand, the petrol finished at 8pm on June 15.

The depot received 4,500 litres of petrol and 12,000 litres of diesel on the same day.

“This time the demand for petrol increased to 4,500 litres in a day compared to the usual 1,500 litres. The demand for diesel increased to 6,000 litres from 2,400 litres,” an official said.

Meanwhile, MoEA stated that if there were a requirement for emergency fuel supplies, they would supply from the fuel depot at Thinchupangkha, Chunzom, which has 1,000 kilolitres each of petrol and diesel to last for two weeks.