ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to lift the ban on export of locally-produced jet fuel to Afghanistan, to meet the demand for Nato’s aircraft engaged in operations against the Taliban, despite threats to oil marketing companies (OMCs) by terrorist groups that want to halt fuel supply to Nato forces.
The government has, however, turned down OMCs’ demand to resume supply of other locally-produced fuels, such as petrol and high-speed diesel, on the pretext of prospective shortages that may cause in Pakistan, sources said.
The government had recently imposed a ban on exports of locally-produced petroleum products to Afghanistan – OMCs were, however, allowed to export imported fuel.
Oil refineries and OMCs subsequently approached the petroleum ministry to lift the ban.
“The proposal is under consideration to allow OMCs to resume export of locally-produced jet fuel, demand for which is low in Pakistan,” Secretary Petroleum Ijaz Chaudhry said, adding that the ban on export of other petroleum products to Afghanistan will continue.
Petroleum Minister Dr Asim Hussain confirmed that such a proposal was under consideration.
“The country has a surplus stock of jet fuel and the petroleum ministry was therefore requested to lift the ban on its export,” said Chief Executive Officer Attock Refinery Limited Adil Khatak.
The OMCs do not have the storage capacity to stock it either, sources added.
Pakistan exports around 850,000 tonnes of imported jet fuel to Afghanistan per year. The country has also been exporting 150,000 tonnes of high-speed diesel and 100,000 tonnes of petrol per year since 2002-03 at subsidised rates.
Sources added that besides prospective shortages, another reason for continuing the ban on export of other locally-produced petroleum products was OMCs reported involvement in dumping petrol and diesel, bound for Afghanistan and exempted from Petroleum Levy and General Sales Tax, in Pakistani markets.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 28th, 2011.
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