Thursday, 3 July 2008

Fuel shortages are now

In case you haven't been paying attention to the weak signals for the past two years or so... the fuel crunch is now gearing into full swing:
  • Argentina: "The shortage of diesel reaches half the service stations across the country"
  • China:
  • India: "It is a scene reminiscent of war times. Vehicles queuing up at petrol bunks and people lugging all kinds of containers, from plastic water pots to jerry-cans and even empty mineral water bottles, to buy that precious litre of diesel or petrol."
  • Iraq: "Residents in Baghdad endured a second day of petrol shortages on Wednesday"
  • Mexico: "Gas stations in Otay and the south of the city temporarily closed their diesel pumps because they ran out of the fuel."
  • Thailand: "Thailand's supply of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is in shortage at present mainly because greater numbers of personal vehicles have been converted to use the alternative fuel."
  • Scotland: "Petrol stations in the Capital are beginning to feel the strain of the fuel tanker drivers' strike, with some pumps already completely dry. "
  • Bangladesh: "Due to gas supply shortfall, eight power plants yesterday generated more than 700 megawatt (MW) of power less than their capacity yesterday"
  • Pakistan: "The overall shortfall of power supply in the city shot up to 370 Megawatts (MW) on Monday"
  • Spain: "In Gibraltar, Lucie Goss, said the British territory was "utter chaos, with Spanish and local drivers queuing at the fuel stations, panic-buying"."
  • Australia: "Australia's most prominent diesel suppliers, has diverted its tanker routes towards Fremantle to address the area's fuel shortage"
  • United States: "U.S. drivers crossing into Mexico in search of cheaper gasoline and diesel fuel are straining fuel supplies in Baja California."
  • Congo: "Congolese capital, Brazzaville, is facing an acu te shortage of fuel"
  • Malaysia: "River and land transportation in many parts of rural Sarawak came to a halt when petrol and diesel supply ran out following massive panic buying"
  • Gaza: "Tension and desperation are mounting in Gaza, four days after Israel restricted the amount of fuel allowed into the region."
  • Nepal: "Petrol pumps across the country downed their shutters from Monday in protest against the inadequate supplies"
  • ... the list is growing daily
The reasons are many: price being too high for people to pay, actual supply delivery disruptions, refinery problems, tanker problems, blockades, transportation strikes and just plain old "sorry, we ran out of fuel."

It can only get slowly worse before it gets any better. The supply for both crude oil and distillates is looking to deteriorate. There's no way out of this, except to use less. Hoarding will not help, it'll just drive us to break point faster. At which stage the government will have to step in and start rationing.