Pakistan News

Authorities move to ensure adequate oil supply during holidays

Authorities move to ensure adequate oil supply during holidays

ISLAMABAD: Against the backdrop of a severe petrol crisis which almost crippled the transport sector in January this year, the authorities appear to be planning to take extraordinary measures to avert a shortage of petroleum products during extended Eid holidays.

But one of the main reasons behind the January crisis — relationship between the Karachi Port and the oil industry over priority berthing — appears to be still unresolved and may pose problems for smooth supplies.

Informed sources said a meeting with the oil industry would be held on Tuesday to assess the stock of petroleum products in the country and review arrangements for transportation before and during Eid holidays.

Read: Oil crisis: ‘entire supply chain to blame’

The government has announced July 17 to 21 as public holidays.

The meeting will fix the quantities of oil to be imported by marketing companies for the month ahead. It will be presided over by the director general oil and attended by heads of the Oil Companies Advisory Committee (OCAC), oil marketing companies (OMCs) and refineries.

The companies and refineries have been asked by the government to operate round the clock during the holidays and ensure continuous supplies, except on the first day of Eidul Fitr.

The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) had alerted the petroleum ministry and the OCAC last week about depleting stocks of petrol in some regions served by private OMCs and the relationship between the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) and the oil companies on the issue of priority birthing.

After that special monitoring teams were constituted at almost all tiers of the oil supply chain, including the Ministry of Petroleum, Ogra, OMCs and refineries, for consultations, coordination and movement of products from surplus to deficit areas.

On July 8, Ogra reported t`he depleting Mogas (petrol) stocks of Shell Pakistan in some regions and depots and warned of its aggravation because of non-berthing of Shell’s cargo of around 24,000 tons.

The regulator said the cargo was due on July 5 and the ship arrived on schedule, but instead of allowing it to berth the KPT let in non-POL vessels at OP-2 and 3.

Since there is a time lag of two to three days for transporting the product from Keamari to the upcountry, vessels carrying petroleum products need to be berthed on a priority basis to avert a crisis situation.

Ogra wants the federal government to use its influence to persuade the KPT to prioritise berthing of oil products to avoid any disruption in the supply chain and a dry-out position at petrol pumps.

A petroleum ministry official said there were sufficient stocks of all transport fuels in the country and arrangements had been made to divert stocks to deficient regions.

The ministry has also asked the OCAC to request the managing directors and chief executives of all OMCs and refineries to monitor production, dispatch and supply situation and nominate focal persons for coordination with the directorate general of oil.

Although it was Ogra which alerted the government about the supply situation, the petroleum ministry has in return asked the Ogra chairman to monitor and ensure stocks of petroleum products at retail outlets.

Published in Dawn ,July 14th, 2015

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