Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Out of gas

I kept waiting to write this post until I got a good picture to go with it, but I've given up on that happening. Instead, I just went to the Gulf News website and found this one.

For over a month now, all the gas (petrol) stations in Sharjah have been closed, save for the stations operated by the ADNOC company. We're lucky because the closest gas station to us happens to be ADNOC, so we haven't had to travel farther afield or out of our way just to fill up our tank. However, we are still impacted by this petrol shortage since everybody from farther afield is traveling out of their way to fill up their tanks at ADNOC. If I had been alive during the 1973 oil crisis in the US, I think our experiences at the gas station these days would remind me very much of that time:

It's ridiculous. Everywhere you go in Sharjah, you pass empty gas station after empty gas station with pumps shuttered, entirely free of vehicles (but bizarrely, sometimes with attendants still loitering outside).

When you pass an open ADNOC, you know it, because the line starts two kilometers back and jams up traffic for blocks and blocks.

In the beginning, the other gas stations fed some line to the press about upgrading their pump systems...all at the same time...with an indefinite re-opening date. Mmm-hmm. Then it was unforeseen interruptions in the supply chain. Over a month later, it looks like maybe a supply shortage is what's to blame, though the intricacies of why it hasn't affected ADNOC are a mystery to me. (My favorite part of that article, referring to a spokesman for one of the closed petrol companies: "Pressed for answers, he made casual comments on the weather to change the subject.")

Beneath the surface of this issue is the fact that this shortage is happening in "the Northern Emirates," aka "everywhere but Dubai and Abu Dhabi." Sometimes the different emirates have to restrain themselves from squabbling like the family members that they are, and problems like a fuel shortage hitting some emirates but not others tends to throw any differences into sudden, sharp relief.

So the days of filling up with gas on the way to going somewhere else are - temporarily, I hope - past. Now, going to get gas is an errand in and of itself, because you never know how long it's going to take. Thankfully, we don't have to do it very often, but I'll be hoping for a prompt resolution to this problem along with everyone else in Sharjah.


Jen said...

The next time you've waited in line and are FINALLY getting gas into your car, you should mention to the random guy at the other pump, "Gosh, this is just like the oil crisis of '73, don't you think?"

Bridget said...

Ah, Jen, your twisted sense of humor just made me laugh out loud. Mwahahahahahahahaha.

Really, though, I feel bad for coming close to complaining in this post. I'm not complaining, because holy cow, gas is $1.50/gallon here (even if you have to wait in line to get it). I am NOT complaining.

Liz Johnson said...

Wait, so you can get gas in Dubai? What the heck, man.

I'm sorry you have to wait. It's so intriguing to me that this is happening, though.

JosephJ said...

We had a gas supply problem when I lived in England, too... it only lasted about a week. I guess I should clarify. There was plenty of petrol to be had, but the drivers to deliver the lorries were a part of the massive motorway blockade demanding (higher wages? more vacation days? free twizzlers at every delivery location?). I don't know. But the waits were long (hours), and missionaries opted to take mass transit or cycle instead of wasting time in lines.

Okay, I found the real reasons... it was people fed up with paying high prices creating a blockade. Do you think the emirates are also tired of too-high prices?

Crys said...

Maybe the factories are all being changed over to umpa lumpas? No seriously should I start stocking up...gas is 3.48 here, a shortage I could do without :)


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