Punjab goes dry on fuel | Pakistan Today

Punjab goes dry on fuel

Problems caused by the closure of Attock Refinery because of a technical fault were compounded when the Byco Refinery was shut down for non-payment of circular debt, resulting in a severe petroleum shortage across the country on Tuesday that left citizens stranded on roads after they ran out of petrol – ironically while searching for petrol – particularly in Punjab and the federal capital.
An official source said that the unprecedented closure of two major refineries in the northern and southern regions in such a short time period, coupled with the fact that Compressed Natural Gas was not available on Tuesday, had created an emergency-like situation. After an assessment of the situation, they said, the government had decided to rush in three tankers of imported petroleum to avert a full-blown crisis, which would reach the country in 24 hours.
The Petroleum Ministry sought the prime minister’s approval to import the petroleum required to keep things running smoothly, and he told the ministry to ensure the supply of petrol to Punjab and the Northern Areas. Karachi and southern Balochistan are also likely to suffer petrol shortage in the coming days if the situation continues as it is. The first oil tanker, containing 35,000 tonnes of petrol, was expected to reach the country today (Wednesday), said the sources, and the rest of the two other tankers would reach the country in subsequent weeks.
Two of the main oil refineries in the country, the Pak Arab Refinery (PARCO) and the National Refinery, are operating on full capacity and supplies from Karachi are being rushed to the north where petrol is currently hard to come by. Pakistan has a daily requirement of 70,000 tonnes of petrol per day, against which a supply of 80,000 tonnes is provided. Local refineries churn out 2,500 tonnes a day and the bulk of the requirements are met by imports that amount to 135,000 tonnes a week. The second tanker, containing 50,000 tonnes, was due to arrive on June 14, the source said. After the devastating floods of last year, the government had told oil marketing companies to store enough petrol for 20 days at all times in case of an emergency, but given the current crisis it seems that the government’s directions were not followed. The Petroleum Ministry told OGRA to issue show-cause notices to the companies for their failure to keep the required amount of petrol in store. OGRA had issued notices to 7 new companies, giving them a month’s time to submit their replies, the source said.
Sources said Attock Refinery, which catered to most of the petroleum demand in the northern parts of the country, might take weeks to become functional again.
Meanwhile, commuters suffered badly in Lahore, as most filling stations remained closed. The shortage would continue for at least three more days, sources in the industry told Pakistan Today. A petroleum dealer, who asked not to be named, said the government was not paying the oil refineries, which was the major reason for the petrol shortage.
Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association Chairman Abdul Sami Khan said the government was not increasing margin on petrol supplies for dealers and oil marketing companies, which was another major reason for the shortage. Long queues were witnessed at filling stations in Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Rawalpindi and Islamabad, and customers were reportedly overcharged when they turned to unlicenced dealers.

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  1. Shami Photos said:

    This is really a big problem in Faisalabad too.
    We are all very upset due to shortage of petrol.

  2. ahsan habib said:

    We should decrease our fuel demand. Petrol prices are so much high anyway that its better not to use it any way

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