UAQ motorists call for more petrol stations to beat the queues
UMM AL QUWAIN // With only a handful of petrol stations to serve a population of about 80,000 people, drivers in Umm Al Quwain are accustomed to long queues each morning and evening as they wait to fill up their cars.
Adnoc, the state-owned oil company that supplies the northern emirates, operates nine stations in and around the least populous of the seven emirates. Three are in UAQ city with the others located on the motorways that pass through UAQ and main internal roads.
But motorists, many of whom commute to work in other emirates, say the busier stations close to residential areas have limited facilities, with some having only two pumps for refuelling, which adds to their daily frustrations.
“There are three petrol stations inside the emirate and each one has just two pumps for cars and one big pump for trucks,” said Hussam Al Ali. “The station located at Al Ittihad roundabout has five pumps. However, it is not enough.”
The 30-year-old Emirati said all of the stations were overcrowded, especially at peak times. “When I sometimes put petrol in my car in the morning, I get stuck in traffic for about half an hour waiting with 20 cars before me.
“Because the stations accommodate just two cars in each turn, all cars from the emirate and Al Salama come to this one [Al Ittihad].”
The soldier, currently serving in the Armed Forces, said he filled up after 9pm to avoid being stuck in traffic in the morning before going to work.
Qais Abdulla Hassan agreed stations in UAQ needed to be expanded, although his work shifts meant he usually missed rush hours.
“I don’t have any problem because my work is shifts, sometimes in the morning and other times at night, but people who have work in the morning suffer from this issue,” said the Emirati, who works in data entry for the Armed Forces.
“I wait about five to 10 minutes at midnight or in the afternoon while coming back from work, but if I go to the station to put petrol in the morning I will wait 30 minutes.
“UAQ is a small emirate, so the three stations inside in addition to ones outside are enough. But expanding the space and adding more pumps in the [existing] stations will be the best.”
Fuel problems in the northern emirates date back to 2011 when the Enoc group, which owns the Enoc and Eppco stations, stopped supplying petrol to the area.
The Sharjah Government issued a 72-hour ultimatum to Enoc to resume refuelling or close down all its stations. The ultimatum was not met and the pumps were closed.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, intervened and ordered Adnoc to take action.
The company increased its supply to the northern emirates by building more stations as well as taking over 74 petrol stations previously operated by Emarat in Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah, with 30 of these in Sharjah alone.
“I have lived here 20 years and the petrol stations in the past were better than these days,” said Syed Mohammad Salim. “But I see expanding the space is better than opening more stations.”
The 50-year-old Canadian, who works as an estate agent, blamed the emirate’s expanding population, with more residents meaning more cars causing congestion on the roads and at petrol stations.
Khalid Hadi, vice president of marketing and corporate communication division at Adnoc Distribution, said the company planned to increase the number of stations across UAQ.
“We aim to open four new stations in UAQ and ensure that each is adequately fitted out to deliver services that our customers have come to expect.
“We are committed to equipping our network across the UAE with the most advanced fuelling facilities.”
Published: December 13, 2014 04:00 AM