Vietnam’s Industry and Trade Ministry said it will inspect 33 of the country’s 36 fuel distributors as petrol shortages continue to be reported in the country.
The ministry will scrutinise the distributors operations, permits, facilities, and imports since early last year and the whole process is expected to take about 70 days, VNExpress reported.
However, the nation’s three jet fuel suppliers will not be scrutinised.
Petrol shortages are still being reported at some stations in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and retail prices are already at an eight-year high.
The shortages started earlier this month mainly due to a cut in production by Vietnam’s biggest refinery Nghi Son, although government officials have assured that supply was still adequate.
Earlier this month, some petrol stations were forced to close due to lack of supplies especially in the southern part of the country.
Previously, a ministry official said the reasons given for the supply shortage was dubious and they were investigating further.
Authorities also believe some of the retailers may be hoarding supplies and Trade minister Nguyen Hong Dien had also warned that petrol stations found not selling despite having stocks would have their licenses revoked. Fuel prices in Vietnam are determined by the government on the 1st, 11th and 21st day of each month.
Another ministry official, Tran Duy Dong, said Vietnam had enough fuel stocks to meet demand this month and there were plans to ensure supply was adequate for March. The head of the ministry’s domestic markets department said oil companies could supply up to two million cubic meters of fuel in February, which is the normal demand.
He however warned that fuel supply could decline in March but assured that fuel imports could alleviate the supply shortage.
The shortage was triggered when the Nghi Son refinery had to cut down production to 80 per cent due to a cash crunch. The refinery, which supplies 35 per cent of Vietnam’s requirements, said it could resume full production by the middle of next month.
Responding to the situation, state-owned distributor PetroVietnam Oil had ordered an additional 68,000 cubic meters of fuel from foreign suppliers. Another distributor, Petrolimex, had also signed deals with foreign suppliers to increase its inventories, according to VNExpress.