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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Qatar, UK energy officials meet amid ‘fuel panic buying’


Qatar’s energy minister met with the UK’s Energy Secretary of State amid a growing fuel crisis in the kingdom. 

Qatar’s Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi met with the UK’s Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Kwasi Kwarteng in a virtual meeting on Monday.

The two discussed aspects of cooperation in the energy field and means to enhance and improve them, state-run Qatar News Agency reported.

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No further details were provided, however the meeting came as the UK faces a pressing crisis that has seen the public panic buy fuel over an acute shortage of truckers in the country.

Over the last few days, queues have continued to form at petrol stations with many waiting for hours to fill their vehicles with fuel.

The trucker shortage has prompted the government to put the army on standby to deliver fuel if necessary as motorists continued to panic buy. Dozens of petrol station forecourts have closed and erected signs to confirm they are out of petrol or diesel, though retailers have assured that there was not a shortage of fuel in the country.

As per new Brexit employment laws, labourers from the European Union can no longer work in the UK visa-free. Brexit, coupled with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, has caused the shortage in transporters.

This was made worse with a halt to truck-license testing during Covid lockdowns, prompting fuel supply chains to take a massive hit.

In a desperate attempt to deal with the crisis, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has allowed for the issuance of temporary visas for 5,000 foreign truck drivers to ease the shortage.

The UK’s medical and transport sector warned that the crisis is a major threat that could lead to disruption to essential services, demanding priority access to petrol and diesel as healthcare staff reliant on vehicles risk being cut off from their work.

The British government has also suspended competition laws to allow energy companies to restock petrol stations and ease fuel supply chain disruption.

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