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PA plan to import fuel from Arab countries on hold

Feb. 1, 2013 9:57 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 5, 2013 11:16 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – A plan by the government to import fuel from Arab countries is still being considered despite that a feasibility study has not yet been prepared, says the head of the Palestinian Petroleum Corporation.

Fuad al-Shubaki told Ma’an on Friday that contacts were made with companies in Jordan and the Gulf states, but there were no further follow up talks.

With regards to the current fuel price rise, he said the Palestinian government shouldered a percentage of the price rise. “Benzene prices rose by 32 agorot, but the government raised the price by 15 agorot only. Similarly, diesel price rose by 15 agorot, but the government raised it by 5 agorot only.

"The government will cover the rest and that is expected to cost the treasury 4-5 million NIS a month in addition to 50 million NIS the government covers as a result of a previous rise in fuel prices.”

Asked whether the plans to import fuel from Arab countries have been cancelled, he said the government held talks with Jordan, but the country does not have enough quantities.

He added that initial contacts have been made with Qatari and Saudi companies, but the Palestinian government has not made a decision yet, neither has a feasibility study been made.

Al-Shubaki highlighted that the Israeli side was not contacted about the issue because the joint Palestinian-Israeli committees have not been operating since the Palestinian Authority obtained recognition of Palestine as a non-member state in the UN. The Israeli side is expected to approve the move, he said.

Another initial agreement to install four pipelines to carry fuel from Israel to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip has also been suspended because of the rupture in relations after the UN move.

Thus, he said, fuel is still delivered in trucks from Israel to the Palestinian territory.

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