Wed, 12 Sep 2001

Gasoline shortage hits several cities

JAKARTA (JP): Hundreds of cars were seen queuing at ten gasoline stations in the South Sulawesi capital of Makassar on Tuesday following gasoline shortages in the city since Monday.

The cars arrived at the gasoline stations in the morning and many of them left in the afternoon after waiting for gasoline.

Some of the gasoline stations were overwhelmed by the vehicles.

Gasoline station owners said that the shortage of gasoline was due to late supply from the state oil and gas company Pertamina.

The Pangayoman gas station on Jl. AP Pettarani operated only one of its four pumps as the delivery of gasoline and diesel fuel from Pertamina's Balikpapan refinery in East Kalimantan had been behind schedule since Monday, Antara reported.

Spokesman for Pertamina's Makassar office Winarto confirmed the late gas supply from Balikpapan.

"The tanker carrying 14,000 kiloliters of fuel from Balikpapan will only enter Makassar on Tuesday," said Winarto.

In Yogyakarta, at least five out of around 40 gasoline stations had to close before noon due to short supply.

The five gasoline stations are located on Jl. Prof. Herman Yohannes, Jl. Godean, Jl. Wates, Jl. HOS Cokroaminoto, Jl. Kusumanegara and Jl. Kali Urang.

An attendant at a gasoline station on Jl. Kali Urang said that Pertamina had cut the supply by half three days ago.

"We order 30 tons of gasoline per day but we got only 15 tons to 16 tons," said the attendant, who wished to remain anonymous.

Another station attendant said that the gasoline was finished by 11 a.m. and the more supplies would be delivered at about 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. the following day.

Yogyakarta's Pertamina office claimed that there was nothing wrong with the supply to the gasoline stations and that its gasoline and diesel fuel stock in Rowulu depot, west of Yogyakarta, was secure.

"The fuel shortage in the five gasoline stations is caused by distribution problems and we have nothing to do with that," the office head Bambang Saritono told reporters at his office on Tuesday.

He said the Rowulu depot held 21,752 kiloliters of diesel fuel, 13,313 kiloliters of gasoline and 18,000 kiloliters of kerosene.

In the Central Java seaport town of Cilacap a tanker, MT Gebang, carrying 600,000 barrels of crude oil from the Arjuna rig off the Java Sea was unable to enter the harbor as 500 traditional ships belonging to local fishermen blocked the passage with 1,400 fishing nets spread along the sea lane.

The tanker has had to anchor five miles out of the harbor for two days since Sunday.

Local authorities, including Marine Police and the Navy managed to persuade the fishermen to clear the way for the tanker at about 2 p.m. on Tuesday.

Pertamina's local office spokesman Husni Banser said to the Post that his office had suffered more than Rp 200 million in losses.

Chairman of Cilacap branch of the Indonesian Fishermen's Association Atas Munandar confirmed that the fisherman had blocked the sea lane, "but it was because the fishermen wished to fish after more than one week of being idle due to the scarcity of diesel fuel for their ships." (44/45/sur)