Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moscow Asks Regions for Gasoline Supplies

Government officials, hoping to avert severe gasoline shortages in Moscow, asked distant refineries Thursday to supply them with gasoline as two nearby refineries serving the capital have been shut down.

Rosnefteprodukt, the state agency in charge of gasoline deliveries, sent an official request for gasoline to refineries in Perm, Samara and Kuibyshev following sharp reductions in supply of the most popular type of gasoline in Moscow, said Irina Balabina, Department head for Rosnefteprodukt, the state agency in charge of gasoline deliveries.

Responses from the refineries are expected to be received by Friday, Balabina said.

Most of city's gasoline stations have not been selling A-92 gasoline, the most common brand, and have been offering the more expensive A-95 that is being supplied from the city's special reserves, she said.

Five Moscow gasoline station's managers said they had not been supplied with any A-92 brand for the past eight days.

While gasoline shortages are common in Moscow and throughout Russia, the city's new supply problems coincided with the holiday weekend and the balmy weather, which brought cars mothballed for the winter back onto the streets. Normal lines at area gasoline stations grew even longer.

"The situation is tense, but there is no reason for panic", Alexander Korsak, Moscow deputy transport minister said. "Moscow will not be left without gasoline".

But stoppage of the nearby refineries may be just part of the problem.

The capital could face severe gasoline shortages in three to four weeks unless prices are raised, said Vladimir Tabeyev, head of the Resources Department of Rosnefteprodukt.

He said refineries might be reluctant to sell gasoline to Moscow because "prices in the city are jumping back and forth". Refineries have already lost money after President Boris Yeltsin, shortly before the referendum, reversed the Moscow government's decision to double prices, according to Tabeyev.

In April, the Moscow mayor's office doubled gasoline prices to keep up with rising prices for crude oil. A-92 gasoline jumped to 80 rubles per liter (9 cents) and A-76 gasoline to 70 rubles per liter. But only three days later President Boris Yeltsin reversed the decision.

The official price for A-92 is still 40 rubles per liter while the production cost is about 60-65 rubles, Tabeyev said. The difference is compensated from the federal budget, said Tabeyev.

Prices for gasoline are 10-20 rubles higher only 100 kilometers from Moscow, attracting car owners to the capital for cheaper gasoline.

"They add to Moscow's lines", said Tabeyev.

Korsak said the city decided Thursday to speed up repairs at its Moscow refinery and resolve as soon as possible the production problems at its other principle gasoline refinery in Ryazan.

The Moscow refinery is closed for a scheduled repair and is expected to resume production by May 15. The Ryazan refinery failed to resume production April 29 after repairs because it was unable to transport other oil products out, said Balabina.