Severe shortages of electricity and fuel in the Gaza Strip resulting in rolling 12-hour blackouts

Ilustration: stock.xchgApproximately 120 gas stations in the Gaza Strip, which account for some 70% of all gas stations in the Strip, have stopped working and 12-hour rolling blackouts are being implemented to cope with the severe shortage of fuel entering the Strip via the tunnels.

Over the last two weeks, about 35% of the normal supply of fuel has entered Gaza; less than 400,000 liters of fuel compared to about a million liters of benzene (gasoline) and diesel are reported to have entered daily. The power plant uses about 35% of the total fuel that comes in and 50% of the incoming diesel.

According to some reports, one of the reasons for the fuel shortage is a rise in black market prices in the Sinai desert, which makes selling fuel to the Gaza Strip less profitable. Uncorroborated reports suggest that the price hike is a result of restrictions on fuel supplies shipped through the Rafah Crossing which have been imposed by the Egyptian police. A delegation that left Gaza for Egypt in order to find an arrangement to stabilize the fuel supply to the Strip came back empty handed. Muhammad al-Shawa, Director of the Gas Station Owners’ Association has stated that if the fuel shortage continues, it may be necessary to resume import of fuel through Israel.

Israel began restricting fuel supply to Gaza starting in 2007, which led to a growing reliance on the smuggling of fuel through the tunnels from Egypt. The fuel from Egypt is cheaper, but as current events indicate, supply is unreliable.