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| 06 March, 2018

Fuel delivered to your car? There's an app for that in Abu Dhabi

Customers in Abu Dhabi can order mobile refuelling service via mobile app

A view shows a petrol nozzle refuelling a car at a petrol station in Viterbo, north of Rome, September 25, 2012. Image used for illustrative purpose.

A view shows a petrol nozzle refuelling a car at a petrol station in Viterbo, north of Rome, September 25, 2012. Image used for illustrative purpose.

REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito

Abu Dhabi-based fuel station operator ADNOC Distribution has begun testing a new service which will allow drivers who run out of fuel to order a mobile delivery via their mobile phones.

The service, known as Call To Fuel, allows users to submit a request for a mobile fuel delivery truck to deliver fuel to a specific vehicle at a set time and location. The user can prepay and leave the fuel vehicle’s cap unlocked, meaning that they don't need to be in attendance. A video which appeared on Twitter on Sunday shows a user, @XEmirati, taking advantage of the service.

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In a statement sent to Zawya, a spokesman for ADNOC Distribution said the company "is focused on improving service, choice and convenience for customers, while maintaining our 100 percent commitment to safety".

"As part of our company’s transformation, we are looking at a number of customer-centric innovations, some of which are currently being piloted with a small group of customers," the statement said. "We will provide further updates in due course."

The service is one of a number of customer segmentation offers that the company, which is the fuel distribution arm of state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), is planning.

ADNOC Distribution floated a 10 percent stake on the Abu Dhabi Global Market in December and the company's prospectus contained details of a plan to begin charging customers for a "premium" refuelling service (i.e. having attendants refuel cars), as part of a 'mixed mode' service.

It said that a charge of 5-10 dirhams ($1.36-$2.72) was likely, and that it expected about 40-50 percent of customers to pay for the service. Customers that do not wish to pay can opt for a self-service option, it said.

"We believe that the relative affluence and high wages of consumers in the UAE, hot weather conditions, especially in the summer months, that discourage our customers from refuelling their own vehicles, and the fact that our customers are not accustomed to refuelling their own vehicles, will lead to a higher penetration rate for our premium service than is experienced in other markets," the document said.

Both ADNOC Distribution and its Dubai-based competitor, ENOC Distribution, have previously launched self-service trials for customers, but subsequently shelved the idea.

However, in a presentation document to investors published when it revealed its 2017 results last week, ADNOC Distribution said that it is on track to launch the mixed-mode service, known as ADNOC Flex, during the second quarter of this year. It will then be rolled out across its entire network by the end of the year.

ADNOC Distribution currently operates 359 fuel stations, but said it was on track to open 13 new sites this year - three of which will be in Dubai. It also operates 235 convenience stores.

The company revealed that in 2017, revenue increased by 11.8 percent to nearly 19.8 billion UAE dirhams ($5.4 billion). Net profit increased by 4 percent to 1.8 billion dirhams.

(Reporting by Michael Fahy; Editing by Shane McGinley)

(michael.fahy@thomsonreuters.com)

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