Sharjah to petrol stations: Stock up or else

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Sharjah is brandishing a new weapon at its

: Either get petrol, or prepare to shut down.

Its executive council has granted Emirates National Oil Company, the Dubai-owned company that owns the stations, 72 hours to stock up.

"Failure to adhere to this deadline will see the [Sharjah Economic Development Department] taking the necessary actions, which could result in the closure of the group's stations and facilities in Sharjah," threatened a statement sent to reporters today.

Sharjah and the other northern emirates, which do not enjoy the same abundance of fossil fuel resources as Abu Dhabi, have suffered from fuel shortages for weeks. Earlier this month Sharjah demanded an

of the situation from Enoc.

The federal government requires retailers to sell fuel at a set price that is lower than market rates. A high oil price forces Enoc into selling fuel, which it imports, at an even higher loss than usual or to stop the pumps altogether.

Yesterday the Government ordered Abu Dhabi's state oil company to step in and help Sharjah.