- Title: RUSSIA: Fuel shortage sparks panic buying in Russia's Kamchatka peninsula
- Date: 26th December 2007
- Summary: CARS QUEUINTG AT GAS STATION DRIVERS STANDING BY CARS AT GAS STATION MAN ROLLING METAL CANISTER WITH GASOLINE CARS QUEUING AT GAS STATION
- Embargoed: 10th January 2008 12:00
- Topics: Energy
- Reuters ID: LVAD17GAD1MXOH58VOABNCJ8ABL9
- Story Text: Drivers, afraid of further increases in petrol prices, are rushing to buy as much fuel as possible - even filling up plastic bottles or canisters with as much fuel as possible.
Long queues formed at petrol stations at Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, the main city of Kamchatka peninsula in the Russian Far East.
Rumours of a sharp increase in fuel prices began to circulate in the city, causing panic-driven demand for petrol and even higher price increases.
As a result, the region found itself on the verge of a petrol shortage.
"I do not have enough money to buy gasoline. Today I've spent my last 400 roubles on gasoline, so I could go and work. But I could buy only 12 litres" - said Sergei Erykalkin, a local taxi-driver, who queued for hours to get more petrol.
Stockpiles of the fuel in the region are melting away.
Many stations across the city have ran out of fuel and posted signs saying they have neither 76 [octane], nor 92 [octane] nor 95 [octane] petrol left.
The region's administration has launched an investigation into the cause of the petrol crisis.
"There is no reason for this panic buying. The amount of gasoline which our two main suppliers had in storage was enough to provide the population with gasoline until the next tanker would come. But of course, some unreliable suppliers raised prices and caused this panic buying," said Alexei Kuzmitsky, regional governor.
The anti-monopoly authorities say that in the last two weeks local entrepreneurs have raised retail prices by 7 per cent and the mainland wholesale suppliers have increased their prices by 20 per cent.
"There are various rumours circulating in the city, that there will be not enough gasoline, that it will be more expensive," said car owner Vasily Dmitrishev.
The regional administration have appealed to residents not to panic buy, but rumours of price increase after the New Year continue to draw queues at petrol stations.
Owners of petrol stations have had to impose limits - just 40 litres of petrol to be sold to one buyer.
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