KARACHI: Hascol Petroleum Limited has become the largest oil marketing company in the private sector in terms of oil storages nationwide, a top official said on Wednesday.
“Hascol, in collaboration with Dutch company Vitol, has added 232,000 cubic metres of oil storage capacity at Port Qasim (Karachi) with an investment of $65 million,” Chief Executive Officer Saleem Butt told The Express Tribune.
“With this, our oil storage capacity has surged to 28 days (of consumption) from 16 days earlier,” he said, adding that other oil marketing companies had storage facilities for less than 20 days each.
Hascol Terminals Limited, an associated company of Hascol Petroleum Limited, has completed the process of commissioning its storage facility at Port Qasim.
“The terminal…has started operations. First shipment of motor gasoline (petrol) will reach on March 6, 2019 (Wednesday),” said Company Secretary Zeeshanul Haq in a notification to the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Tuesday.
“With this, the total installed storage capacity surged to 400,000 tons with us. This has turned Hascol into a company that owns the largest oil storage facility in the private sector and second largest in the country after state-owned Pakistan State Oil (PSO), which manages 1.2 million tons of storage facility,” Butt said.
The latest storage facility at Port Qasim is connected with 700km pipeline of Pak Arab Pipeline Company (Papco) from Karachi to central Punjab. The facility will greatly help in ending blackouts at fuel stations in Punjab. “Sometimes, a three-day suspension in supplies from Karachi to Punjab (via roads) results in blackouts at petrol pumps in Punjab,” he elaborated.
He said it took almost two years to establish the latest storage facility at Port Qasim. Hascol has 49% shareholding while Dutch company Vitol owns the majority 51% shareholding in the facility. National Bank of Pakistan has also played a role in construction of the facility.
“Vitol has 28% shareholding in the overall business of Hascol Petroleum Limited,” he said. The company, which also appears to be the second largest oil marketing company in terms of market share, which stands at 13.7% at present, after PSO, which has market share of 37%, will open 100 more filling stations nationwide in 2019.
At present, the company runs its business at 590 sites and is expected to manage 690 pumps by December 2019.
“We have a plan to add 100 sites every year till we reach 1,200 sites in the country,” the CEO said.
Most of the new pumps will obviously be opened in Punjab as 60% population of the country resides there and 70% of demand for petroleum products comes from the province. “Pumps will be opened in that ratio,” he said.
The demand for petrol was on the rise despite economic slowdown in the country, he said, adding, “petrol sales have surged 9% in the last two months in contrast to 20% drop in diesel sales.”
Lubricant plant by May
Butt said Hascol, in collaboration with foreign firm FUCHS, is in final stages of setting up a lubricant blending plant.
The plant, which is being established with an investment of $20 million, is targeted to start production from May 1, 2019.
Hascol has started construction of a lube oil blending plant to produce FUCHS-branded lubricants and greases in Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 7th, 2019.
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