Despite demand surge, oil supplies are sufficient: ministry

Advises OMCs, refineries to make imports and maximise production

Our Correspondent November 21, 2016
A news report had suggested that stocks of petrol and diesel had gone below strategic levels. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources has announced that there is adequate supply of petroleum products throughout the country, keeping in view the current surge in demand.

“The Ministry of Petroleum has taken action advising the OMCs (oil marketing companies) to make imports as per plan. Simultaneously, refineries have also been advised to maximise their production in order to cater to the country-wide demand,” it said in a statement issued on Monday.

The ministry made the announcement after a news report suggested that stocks of petrol and diesel had gone below strategic levels.

At present, according to the ministry, the country-wide stocks of motor gasoline (petrol) stand at 225,674 tons, which are sufficient for 13 days of consumption in line with the current average demand of around 17,500 tons per day in the country.

In addition to this, it said, two vessels carrying 17,000 tons of motor gasoline were waiting for berth at the port while two more ships with around 67,000 tons were expected to arrive on Monday night. In the case of high-speed diesel, the country-wide stocks are estimated at 466,821 tons, which are sufficient for 17 days of consumption as per current average per-day demand of around 27,310 tons in the country.

Moreover, two vessels carrying 106,000 tons of high-speed diesel are waiting for berth whereas one vessel having around 54,000 tons is being offloaded.

The ministry pointed out that the total storage of diesel was around 1.2 million tons, which was sufficient to meet the country’s requirement for 44 days. At present, the demand for diesel has increased substantially to approximately 27,310 tons due to the crop harvesting season as compared to the normal demand for 22,000 tons.

The stocks of furnace oil, which is mainly used in power plants, stand at 759,022 tons, which can meet the requirement for 27 days as per current average demand of around 28,320 tons per day.

Apart from this, three vessels carrying 204,974 tons of furnace oil are waiting for berth at the Fauji Oil Terminal (Fotco), Karachi.

The ministry insisted that strategic and normal stocks were two different things. “The fuel used for armed forces is sufficiently available but its details cannot be made public due to security reasons,” it said.

The ministry did acknowledge that an oil pier (OP-1) at Keamari remained un-operational from August 14 to October 31, 2016 because of maintenance work, causing a temporary disturbance in the handling of motor gasoline imports.

However, with close coordination among all stakeholders, the Ministry of Petroleum managed all imports without any disruption in the supply chain. The oil pier has now resumed operations and import handling at the port has improved.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 22nd, 2016.

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