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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Curbs Leave Mongolia Out of Gas

ULAN BATOR, Mongolia -- Mongolia has started rationing gasoline sales because a Russian curb on exports of petroleum products dried up supplies, officials said Thursday.

Newspapers said a third of Mongolia had run out of all fuel supplies.

The streets of Ulan Bator, the Mongolian capital, were quiet as most motorists lefttheir vehicles at home.

The rare taxis still running doubled their fares and the price of gasoline available at a few private trading companies shot up four or five times to 800 togrogs to 1,000 togrogs (78 cents to 97 cents) a liter.

Neft Import Concern, Mongolia's near-monopoly petroleum importer, stopped selling fuel to all but emergency and official vehicles.

They were on a strict ration of 5 liters per day.

"This is because of Russian limitation on exports of petroleum products since the end of July," an NIC spokesman said. "There is no solution yet for this problem, and the shortage is serious."

He said the NIC's three main petroleum product suppliers, all Russian, were not exporting fuel to Mongolia because of a Russian government resolution, passed at the end of July, limiting the exports of about 40 Russian companies.

Following the resolution, Russia ordered a halt to gasoline exports, while fuel oil and diesel exports were cut by 30 percent for the whole of August and September. This was aimed at directing Russian refinery output to a domestic market suffering severe fuel shortages, especially in the agriculture sector during the current harvesting season.

Mongolia imports virtually all of its fuel supplies from Russia.

The NIC said it was searching for other options, including imports from China, but no decision had been made. The Mongolian government was discussing the problem with Moscow, officials said.