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Supermarkets in Singapore Delay Gasoline Project Due to Safety Concerns

SINGAPORE - Supermarkets in Singapore will have to wait to conduct a test that would allow them to compete with oil companies in retailing gasoline because of an increased focus on security in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, Dow Jones reports.

Singapore's Minister of Trade and Industry, George Yeo, told Parliament, "After Sept. 11 the security concerns have become more severe and this has caused a delay."

The Ministry first considered the idea of "white pumps" -- or nonbranded gasoline stations attached to supermarkets and retail chains -- in January 2001. Now that global crude and gasoline prices have regained pre-September levels, Singaporeans are once again seeking cheaper gasoline, which white pumps at supermarkets can offer.

The discovery in Singapore of individuals linked to the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington has raised security concerns about the vulnerability of fuel storage tanks.

"The Ministry of National Development has identified several sites, but detailed studies need to be made to ensure that safety, traffic flow and environmental requirements can be met," Yeo said.

Singapore's five gasoline retailers -- ExxonMobil Corp., Royal Dutch/ Shell Group, BP PLC, Caltex Corp. and SPC -- say white pumps create an "uneven playing field," according to Dow Jones.
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