A senior official at the Jordan Petroleum Refinery Company on Monday accused the Petrol and Gas Station Owners Association of leading a slander campaign after the refinery decided to confiscate damaged cylinders owned by distributors.
“The campaign is [the association's] retaliation against the company which is performing its duty, [seizing the damaged cylinders] in pursuance of public safety regulations,” said Abdul Wahab Zu'bi, the refinery's director general.
The controversy started last October when the refinery seized 719 gas cylinders. “The number increased to date to some 1,600 cylinders,” said an association source, who preferred not to be named.
According to Zu'bi, who was speaking at a press conference held on the company's head office, in spite of the company's repeated calls for the gas distributors to ensure safe delivery and retrieval of cylinders, the number of cylinders damaged because of mishandling has increased.
The cylinders are either imported by the refinery from Turkey, Italy and Saudi Arabia or are locally manufactured.
A committee representing the refinery, the Ministry of Energy, the Civil Defense Department, the Jordan Institute for Standards and Metrology and the association was formed last year to investigate the issue.
The committee recommended the removal of 114 cylinders at the refinery's expense, while the distributors would bear the cost of removing another 605 cylinders.
But the association has raised some reservations about the committee's decision.
“The committee's task is to decide whether gas cylinders are defective or not, and not to decide at whose expense the cylinders would be removed and replaced,” said the association source. He added that it is the duty of the refinery to fix the repairable cylinders, if there are any.
As the association did not accept the committee's decision, another committee was formed to test the cylinders. “Its recommendation was identical to that of the first committee,” said Zu'bi.
But, according to the association source, gas distributors are not supposed to bear the expense of damaged gas cylinders as all cylinders, defective or not, fall under the refinery's responsibility.
The Jordan News Agency, Petra, quoted Zu'bi as saying, “there is an intention for the state treasury and for the last time to bear the cost of replacing the [damaged] cylinders seized by the refinery.” He did not elaborate.
Consumers pay JD25 as a deposit on each gas cylinder. The cost to replace an empty cylinder with a full one is around JD2.
By Khalid Dalal
( Jordan Times )
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )