Laos could face petrol supply ‘gaps’ as prices soar, says major supplier

Motorists line up to pump fuel into their vehicles at a PTT gas station in Vientiane in a Lao national television photo taken between May 9 and 10. ((Laos national TV photo/AFP)

Gasoline supply in Laos could face “some shortcomings”, a major supplier said on Monday, after the government held an emergency meeting to deal with soaring prices and panic buying in the nation. from Southeast Asia.

Many petrol stations were closed last week, according to media reports, forcing consumers to queue for hours to refuel. Laos depends on imports from neighboring Thailand for most of its oil.

Thai oil and gas company PTT Oil and Retail Business Plc, which operates 53 petrol stations in Laos, said it planned to distribute fuel as usual but there could be “gaps”.

“In some cases where there are a lot of customers, there may be gaps, but we will try to manage the situation,” said Songpon Thepnumsommanus, a marketing manager. He gave no further details.

With a population of just over 7 million, landlocked Laos is one of the poorest countries in the region and is aiming for 4% annual economic growth until 2025.

A weakened kip currency, high inflation and an unstable global oil market are preventing fuel importers from meeting public demand, the Vientiane Times reported last week.

“It’s hard to find gas stations that are open,” Kham Goodman, a resident of the capital Vientiane, said on Monday after posting videos on social media showing people waiting to fill plastic water bottles with fuel. fuel.

The Lao government on Friday played down the situation, saying it was “not so much a crisis”, but held an emergency meeting and asked the public not to panic.

“I assure you that my company and the Lao Fuel and Gas Association will provide enough fuel, there will be no shortage, said Chanthone Sitthixay, president of Petroleum Trading Lao Public Company, in a public address.

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