Fuel stations in Laos will soon be required to guarantee the quality of their fuel or face fines or closure, with a specially dedicated fuel testing centre set to be established in the country.
The move comes as the owners of luxury vehicles have sought assurances from fuel retailers as to the quality of their fuels, following concerns that some fuel sold in Laos does not meet the required standards.
The Ministry of Science and Technology is cooperating with Chansavanh Importer & Export Sole Company Limited to build the testing and quality inspection centre for fuel imported to Laos.
The project, to be jointly implemented by the ministry and the private company, will cost US$1.5 million and will be funded by the Chansavanh Importer & Export the Sole Company Limited.
The aim of the centre’s establishment is to strengthen the quality inspection and testing of fuel in order to protect the rights of consumers in Laos.
The number of fuel stations in the country is increasing rapidly, in order to cater to the growing vehicle fleet, but the necessary quality controls have yet to be put into place.
The agreement to establish the testing centre was signed by Ministry of Science and Technology’s Director General of Standards and Indication Department, Mr Souksavath Sihapanya and President of Chansavanh Importer & Export the Sole Company Limited, Mr Outhanh Taylitthi.
Minister of Science and Technology, Prof Dr Boviengkham Vongdara, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, Mr Houmphan Inthalath and other senior ministry officials were also present at the ceremony.
Work on the project is expected to take 18 months to complete, after the cooperation agreement was concluded.
The centre is set to test the quality of every kind of fuel imported to Laos, to ensure that it meets national and international standards, especially with the coming of the Asean Economic Community in 2015.
Secretary General of the Petroleum and Gas Group Association, Mr Thong Thammalat told Vientiane Times yesterday that if the project is progressed, it will be able to help in terms of testing the quality of fuel imported to Laos.
“Currently, consumers have complained about the quality of fuel that many different companies are importing to Laos; they are worried about negative impact on the engines and fuel systems of cars and other vehicles,” he said.
Nonetheless, the fee for fuel testing should not be too expensive, so that it does not impact adversely on the hip pockets of motorists, Mr Thong added.
Laos imports all its fuel from other countries, and so the establishment of the testing centre is sure to be good news for motorists.
In 2012, Laos imported about 800 million litres of fuel, costing the country more than US$550 million.
Source: Vientiane Times