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Fuel deficit creates kilometer-long queues in Kazakhstan 29 августа 2014, 19:10

Uralsk is an administrative center of West Kazakhstan Oblast. The Oblast produces both oil and gas. However, since early morning yesterday people in the city have been forming kilometer-long queues to refuel.
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There are kilometer-long queues near fuelling stations in Uralsk, a city in Kazakhstan's oil-producing west, Tengrinews reports citing local newspapers Moi Gorod and Uralsk Week.

Yesterday, buying fuel without vouchers was possible only at four gas stations, where drivers were lining up since early morning. According to the regional anti-monopoly inspection, there are a total of 11 petrol filling stations in the city, but only "Helios", "Alim", "Oral Zhana Oil" and "KazMunaiGas" are free selling. In fact, it is extremely difficult to get refueled even there these days, Moi Gorod writes.

“The country is rich in oil and gas, but has problems with gasoline,” says an outraged driver whose name is Marat. “This is a shame. I hear they want to make the prices equal to the Russian ones, but they better first raise our salaries.”

"I've been waiting for almost three hours,” says another driver. “I don’t have a voucher as almost all of us in the queue but we hope to refuel soon. There are some guys here offering coupons for AI-92 gasoline at 200 tenge per liter. Well, if the situation does not change, I will have to get some."

“I think that the government is to blame,” says a driver. “I heard that the fuel quota from Russia was smaller this year but the number of vehicles (in Kazakhstan) only increases, which is why the quota needs to be raised. But in general, Kazakhstan itself should produce more gasoline, so that there are no more problems.”

“I think the hype is created artificially, on purpose,” says Olga, who is in the queue with her husband. ”I think this is the way they are preparing us for a new gasoline price hike.”

“Let them raise [the prices]. It looks like these people are ready to pay more, as long as we can actually refuel,” says Sagidulla. “Though, this is of course absurd: they have upped the prices, but there is still not enough fuel.”

Here is a video of one of the users, who says: "Look at what is going on in one of the key oil-producing regions of Kazakhstan."

However, some officials believe that the blame lies with the citizens. "The hype and long queues have been created by the people themselves," the Head of the Oblast's Department for Development of Energy Kanslu Utepkalieva said.

"Everybody is trying to stock up, the drivers buy up the entire daily supply of gasoline from the filling stations as soon as the tank truck delivers the fuel, so the rest have to wait in queues for the next tank truck with more fuel to arrive. This waiting time creates anxiety among the drivers. Besides, the hype is worsened by the recent gasoline price rise, even though the gasoline is available at fuelling stations,” she told the journalists.

According to her, there are 1087 tons of AI-92 gasoline in the city storages at the moment. AI-92 is the most popular brand of gasoline in Kazakhstan. And there are 15 train fuel tanks with 60 tons of gasoline each in Sol-Iletsk town at the Russian border on their way to Kazakhstan.

Uralsk Week writes that experts predict fuel shortages to last until November this year, because the nearest Russian refineries will hold their next petroleum tenders only in two months, while the Kazakhstani oil refineries are unable to supply enough gasoline to cover the entire domestic market.

Writing by Dinara Urazova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina

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