The city of Port Moresby faced another issue with the supply of fuel today when vehicle owners discovered that most of the service stations were low on supply, but the reality is that this fuel crisis situation could prolong.
This is because of the current situation faced by Puma Energy PNG with the closure of its accounts with the BSP Financial Group Limited (BSP), limiting further the fuel distributor’s ability to purchase fuel from overseas.
The Chairman and Managing Director of Puma Energy PNG Group of Companies, Mr. Hulala Tokome initially indicated that this would happen after it was clear that Puma’s request to reopen its accounts with BSP was denied and that Puma would have to open its accounts with another commercial bank in the country.
In a letter to the Chief Secretary to the Government dated 19th January 2024, Mr. Tokome stated, “As a result of BSP’s confirmation yesterday that they are not willing to reopen our accounts, we regret that we are left with no choice but to imminently begin the phased reduction of our operations and supply.
We confirm that for the time being, the actions which we may take to reduce our business will, with time and effort, be reversible, should an acceptable banking solution be found.”
Since that time on, Puma was left to make the transition from BSP to another commercial bank with the deadline for its accounts closure with BSP set for the 08th of March 2024, but that dead line was extended after BSP gave 90 days extension for the accounts closure after the prime minister intervened.
However, at this stage it is not clear how long the phased reduction of fuel supply will continue as Puma has not come out clear as to when its accounts with a new commercial bank will be opened and business can resume.
For how long it will take, this is not clear either as the Puma management in the country is yet to make a statement, and it is understood that Mr. Tokome would not be speaking to the media either until he is fully briefed on the next phase of action by Puma Energy.
Nevertheless, while this is going on, the residents in cities like Port Moresby could be facing a longer period of fuel rationing and fuel shortage situations unlike previously experienced.