At the end of last week, Abdi Addis, owner of an old, worn-out pickup truck, found himself stuck in the streets of Lancia when his car broke down after running out of fuel. He was filling his gas tank using a five-litre container purchased from across the street. Ironically, he was travelling from Bole to Lancia looking for gasoline when his car gave up on him.
To his delight, right across the street a National Oil Company (NOC) gas station, one of the 120 stations in the city, happened to be selling the benzene he was so desperate for. Alas, this gas station was destined to run out soon too.
Abdi earns his living through the transportation of goods. In addition to the shortage of gasoline currently gripping the capital, he is challenged by the enormous increase in the prices of petroleum products in recent months. Abdi says that he is unable to make up for the costs by charging more for his services as customers will not allow it.
"They [customers] don't understand when you tell them the price of fuel has increased," he complained.
Abdi is one of many whose daily lives have been compromised by the shortages in fuel supply, as well as the swelling price.
That same afternoon, the NOC gas station located at Temenja Yaz railway terminal was serving customers waiting in long queues. Soon it too ran out of benzene and was forced to put up a sign reading "benzene unavailable" to the dread of waiting customers.
Ethiopia saves 470 million USD from reduced fuel import and it suspends benzene import from Sudan.
The demand for petroleum products has declined significantly as the COVID-19 pandemic slows down economic activities in the country. The amount of gasoline (benzene) and jet fuel import has shown a decline following the outbreak of COVID-19 while diesel consumption remains the same.
Tadesse Hailemariam, CEO of the Ethiopian Petroleum Supply Enterprise, told The Reporter after the WHO declared the COVID-19 as a global pandemic in March, benzene and jet fuel consumption has shown a 20 and 70 percent decline, respectively. Ethiopia’s daily benzene consumption is 2.2 million liters, diesel nine million liters and jet fuel 2.6 million liters on average. According to Tadesse, due to the lockdown in some regions and slow economic activity observed in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, daily benzene consumption has declined to two million liters, diesel 8.5 million liters and jet fuel to one million liters.
(thereporterethiopia, Jan 2018)
Fairfax Africa Fund, a US-based investment firm, in collaboration with multiple partners from Asian countries is planning to build an oil refinery in Ethiopia with a total investment cost of four billion US dollars.