Pakistan bought more than 450,000 tons of fuel oil in March, its highest level this year, led by higher imports of high-sulphur grade fuel, official data showed on Thursday.
Total fuel oil imports, used for power generation, climbed 70,328 tons to 460,688 tons, up around 18%, figures from the Oil Companies Advisory Committee showed.
High-sulphur fuel oil volumes rose by 132,492 tons at 392,499 tons, while low-sulphur fuel oil fell 62,164 tons to 68,189 tons.
The rise was in line with expectations, as Pakistan imported only about 390,000 tons last month, out of the term volume of 890,000 tons state-owned company Pakistan State Oil (PSO) purchased for delivery between February and March.
PSO has also sought similar second quarter volumes, but has refrained from buying expensive low-sulphur fuel oil.
The country is looking to increase its hydropower capacity through a recently approved $1 billion World Bank loan in an effort to reduce its reliance on fuel oil imports.
The bank said $840 million of the loan will be used to boost capacity at the Tarbela hydro power project, northwest of Islamabad, by 1,410 megawatts.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 6th, 2012.