Fuel oil bunkering facilities are now available for all vessels calling at Qatari ports, the state oil company Qatar Petroleum (QP) said in a statement.

The facility is made available for all vessels carrying Qatari seaborne imports or exports. The first of several shipments carrying fuel oil for bunkering has arrived at Ras Laffan, the firm added.

Following the air, land and sea blockade imposed on Doha led by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAe and Egypt, Qatar-bound vessels are now barred from calling on ports such as UAE’s Fujairah – the world’s second largest bunkering port.

Last week, QP signed an agreement with Anglo-Dutch oil major Shell to develop infrastructure for liquefied natural gas (LNG) marine fuelling.

Customer requests for bunkering and operation will be managed by Qatar Fuel subsidiary Woqod Marine, which manages sale and delivery of fuel oil.

“This is a first, and important, step towards self-reliance for fuel-oil bunkering solutions for all vessels,” said QP chief executive Saad Sherida al-Kaabi.

“Due to the unfortunate ongoing crisis, many of our clients were impacted by regional decisions limiting their ability to meet their commitments in a timely and cost-effective manner. We took it upon ourselves to assist our clients overcome this challenge by introducing measures to ensure continuous and reliable energy supplies.”

He added that the measure would be “temporary” until a more permanent solution would be implemented.

The fuel oil bunkering facility will mainly be used by gas-rich Qatar to service its LNG-carrying vessels around the world.