Officials Take Action Against Illegal Fuel Imports

Fuel Imports

It is estimated that 45 to 50 percent of the fuel Laos imports are used in Vientiane Capital and Vientiane Province.

At the January 24-25 Vientiane Government monthly meeting, an announcement revealed new requirements are to be imposed on companies anticipating to import petroleum.

During the two-day conference chaired by Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, the government set forth guidelines for the reduction of fuel companies from twenty-two to five.

The Lao Petroleum and Gas Association warns that those who fail to meet the new requirements will be directed to cease their venture in petroleum and urged to explore other business opportunities.

Deputy Director of Lao State Fuel Enterprise and senior official from the association, Mr Phayboun Phomphaphi explained, that it is necessary to reduce the number of fuel companies to make it easier to manage and that there are currently several fuel companies that are too small and do not meet standard requirements.

“Over the past years, illegal imports of oil have been reported in Laos and I believe that the adjustment and improvements will contribute to address the problem,” he stated.

Further research and analysis must be made before determining the probability of the adjustment. If made, four state petrol companies could possibly be reduced down to just one or two.

However, it was not specified when the adjustment of the fuel companies be executed.

Last month, the government announced that three companies would no longer be able to transport imported fuel through Laos to neighboring countries.

According to Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Bounchom Ubonpaseuthm, the maneuver aims to eliminate loopholes that could result in illegally imported fuel and only companies that comply with the country’s laws and government’s obligations will be permitted to continue to operate.

Based on a government report, petrol must only be imported across officially recognised international border crossings. Fuel brought into the country at local border crossings will not be permitted.

Statistics taken from Lao Petroleum and Gas Association shows an increase of eight percent in petrol imports to Laos annually. The oil import figures for 2016 have yet to be concluded, though the association estimates the figure to be around 1,400 million liters of oil.

The demand for fuel in the country is at an all-time high due to the persistent expansion of the Lao economy, particularly in the industrial sector.