By Houda Mzioudet.
Tripoli, 14 December 2013:
As the petrol crisis in the capital moves into its third week, the National Security Directorate . . .[restrict]of Tripoli has said it had detained groups of individuals last night vandalising petrol stations.
Issam Ennas, spokesman for the National Security Directorate of Tripoli, told the Libya Herald that his men, who are now tasked with managing queues at petrol stations and guarding fuel tanks, had arrested groups sabotaging petrol stations. He could not however give precise numbers of those detained.
Ennas dismissed out of hand reports that two people had died yesterday in armed clashes in the Fornaj area, east of Tripoli.
Ennas confirmed that police and the army were once again deployed at filling stations across the capital but as the evening comes on the situation on the ground is becoming more tense. Queues of two kilometres, hundreds of cars-long, can be seen in Tripoli’s streets as drivers wait hours to fill their cars. The tail-backs are causing further traffic jams as they snake their way round corners and down adjoining streets and alleyways.
As the crisis continues, drivers are becoming more desperate and petrol is being sold online at a high mark-up. On Open Souk, an online marketplace, 20 litres of petrol reached a price of LD 7 more than double its normal cost.
On Friday, the manager of Brega Oil Company, Faraj Al-Kimishi, stated that petrol would be available in all the company’s petrol stations and the process of fuel provision should be continuing as normal. The company has supplied the capital’s 22 petrol stations with 3,100,000 litres of petrol and 1,700,000 litres of Diesel.
The petrol shortage has raised questions over the strength of Tripoli’s petrol infrastructure. There are only 22 filling stations in Tripoli to service a population in excess of a million. Each forecourt also has a limited storage capacity, a legacy of the former regime which sought to limit the profitability of petrol station ownership. [/restrict]