But he admitted that there has been a problem with the distribution process.

The supply has not been adequately distributed to wholesale providers, Tu complained, revealing oil and petrol imports have risen 33 percent over the same period last year.

He confirmed only four out of 12 major providers can ensure sufficient supply now. They are the Vietnam National Petroleum Corporation (Petrolimex), Petec Trading and Investment Corporation (Petec), PetroVietnam Oil Corporation (PV Oil), and Mekong Petroleum Joint Stock Company (PetroMekong).

There has been no hoarding of fuels in Hanoi, he insisted, adding it is not completely fair to crack down on firms and gas stations that either did not provide enough fuel supply or limited operations since they might just do so due to losses.

The Ministry has asked wholesale providers to distribute enough fuels to the market, especially to such critical regions as the Mekong Delta or the Central Highlands, Tu said.

Agents can only make profits with a 400 dong discount on each litre of petrol but many providers, in difficulty, can merely afford a 150-170 dong markdown, he said.

Petrolimex system is doing a better job thanks to its 220-250 dong discounts, he explained.

He reiterated that the country has adequate supply of fuels as Petrolimex can ensure 53 percent and the Dung Quat refinery can meet 30 percent of total demand, not to mention PV Oil.

PV Oil will not only provide enough fuels for its agent system but also for gas stations and agents outside the system that have signed contracts with it, Le Xuan Trinh, deputy CEO of the state-owned company, confirmed.

The firm now supplies fuels to more than 2,800 filling stations, Trinh said, ensuring those will always have sufficient supply.

Tuoi Tre - March 1st, 2011