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Friday, October 22, 2021

Qatar losing two more privately-owned petrol stations

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Doha Petrol Station
Doha Petrol Station

Motorists in central Doha who need to fill up their tanks will have even fewer options by the end of the month as two more private petrol stations close for business.

In a notice published in today’s newspapers, Doha Petrol Station in Musheireb announced that it would close this Wednesday (April 13).

That follows the quiet closure of a petrol station on C-Ring Road between Gulf Cinema and Toyota signals, which residents began to notice last week.

That brings the number of private petrol stations that have closed in the last three years – which include facilities near Landmark mall, Villaggio mall and Burger King signal – to at least six.

Shuttered gas station
Shuttered gas station

Apart from the old Al Andalus Petrol Station on C-Ring Road, which has remained shuttered since an apparent underground explosion in September 2013, there are no obvious reasons why so many of the private facilities keep closing.

What’s happening

Officials from state fuel company Woqod – which is rapidly building its own network of new petrol stations – have previously told Doha News that it has no plans to force the country’s remaining private facilities to close.

New Woqod petrol station
New Woqod petrol station

However, the company’s most recent annual report suggests otherwise.

Earlier this year, the report said a new station in Al Khor was needed, in part, “to urge some privately-owned petrol stations to stop their trade, either for maintenance or change the nature of their business altogether to other more profitable ventures.”

Additionally, a committee led by a representative of Qatar Petroleum, which owns 20 percent of Woqod, was formed in 2014 to oversee petrol stations in the country.

Specifically, the panel works to develop unified standards and evaluate existing stations to determine “the necessary requirements to improve,” according to QNA.

Many of Qatar’s private petrol stations are smaller than the new facilities under construction. Additionally, these older stations are often located close to shops and restaurants.

Al Andalus gas station
Al Andalus gas station

This proximity has come under fire from members of the Central Municipal Council (CMC), including one who called them “time bombs” in the wake of the 2013 incident at Al Andalus Petrol Station.

More recently, however, the CMC called on authorities last year to stop demolishing private petrol stations, but also rethink the design of existing facilities.

For its part, Woqod said it opened eight new stations last year and has 18 more under construction.

While that includes a new station on B-Ring Road and several more in and around busy areas of Doha, many are located outside central areas of the city.

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