Enoc and Eppco Petrol stations are being closed, during the 72-hour deadline. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan, Gulf News

Dubai: The Sharjah Economic Development Department (SEDD) has shut down all petrol stations under the Enoc Group in the emirate after they failed to comply with government demands to resume their services.

A “lack of responsiveness” from the Enoc group prompted the SEDD to close their petrol stations, Osama Samra, Director of the Sharjah Media Center, told Gulf News.

The 72-hour deadline given to the Enoc group by the Sharjah Executive Council to open petrol stations across the emirate expired on Friday without compliance by the group.

A senior SEDD official refused to comment on the department’s next step, citing the “sensitive” nature and the legal complexity of the issue.

“The SEDD will take further steps,” he said, but refused to elaborate.

Enoc officials have remained silent on the development, despite several attempts to contact them.

“There will be action taken. The aim of the SEDD and Council is the well-being of citizens and residents. You cannot cut the supply of petrol to residents, citizens and tourists, it’s a necessity like bread. So the government had to take action to protect the rights of the consumer,” said Samra.

In earlier reports:

The Sharjah executive council has been given the directive to take legal action if the Enoc group does not meet the council's demand to open petrol stations across the emirate, according to a source in the Sharjah government.

However, depending on what statement the Enoc group provides, the council is willing to be lenient and work with them.

According to the source, no steps are expected to be taken until Sunday.

On Tuesday, the Sharjah Executive Council gave the Enoc group 72 hours to resume their operations at fuel stations in the emirate.

"Failure to adhere to this deadline will see the Sharjah Economic Development Department (SEDD) taking the necessary actions, which could result in the closure of the group's stations and facilities in Sharjah," a statement from the Sharjah Media Centre said on Wednesday.

Since then the SEDD has been waiting for a response from the Enoc group "...one the department hopes will indicate the group's intention to resume the operation of its services, which have experienced constant disruptions since the end of May", the statement said.

SEDD could not be reached for comment.

This follows a statement issued by the Executive Council more than two weeks ago giving the petroleum company 48 hours to explain why its facilities in Sharjah were closed and to come up with a solution.

So far the Enoc group has not responded to either demand or provided any statements. Despite numerous attempts by Gulf News, Khalid Hatti, spokesperson for the Enoc group, could not be reached for comment.

In previous statements Hatti put the closures down to ongoing maintenance as the company upgraded its dispensing equipment. He said in a previous interview with Gulf News that these disruptions would last two to three weeks.

As a result of this "maintenance", 82 stations across Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah have been closed for nearly a month, leaving frustrated motorists searching for alternative sources.

Analysts have only been able to speculate as to why the stations have been shut down, blaming high government subsidies and malfunctioning supply pipes.