Ivan Graeham struggles with an empty gas tank at John Dial, Tobago on Wednesday.

Consumers seeking cooking gas in several parts of Tobago on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning were told by some retailers that filled LPG tanks had run out.

However when contacted Denise Ceasar Brand & Corporate Communications Manager Trinidad & Tobago National Petroleum Marketing Company Limited of NP’s Communications Department issued a statement saying there is no shortage of LPG in T&T.

Cesar said, “There remains an adequate and consistent supply of product and distribution is ongoing to ensure that LPG continues to be widely available for sale throughout our regular distribution points, and the 100lb cylinders through NP’s Authorized distributors /contractors.”

She made an appeal to consumers to desist from panic-buying. Moreover, we wish to make an appeal to consumers to maintain their normal purchasing patterns as much as possible, and avoid panic-buying and hoarding the cylinders which only serves to disrupt distribution through the normal supply chain and create ‘artificial’ LPG shortages at the service stations and at the various distribution points. As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, NP understands the vital role our services play in the communities we serve in T&T and NP’s Business Continuity Plan is being actively implemented to minimize disruptions and/or mitigate the impact, if a disruption occurs, while maintaining critical operations. NP continues to meet the fuel distribution and LPG/ Cooking gas needs of the country in a timely manner and is ensuring the public that there remains a reliable and continuous supply of liquid fuels, aviation fuel, lubricants and cooking gas to the local markets.”

One supplier who operates along the Winward Road said when consumers heard that restaurants had been closed to the public and they would have to cook at home, persons started panic buying.

The supplier said while NP has LPG supplier on the sister island its filling plant is rather archaic and needs to be upgraded to meet consumer demands.

The supplier said distributors are getting supplies from NP at Crown Point. He said during peak seasons there is also a high demand for LPG.