KARACHI: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Wednesday called for increasing petroleum storage capacity in the Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) to avoid any future problems.
Expressing concern over the current situation, it called for boosting GB petroleum storage capacity by 400 per cent which can help masses as well as armed forces in case of an emergency.
Talking to a group of businessmen from Gilgit-Baltistan, Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW said that closure of main road leading to GB has become order of the day due to landsliding and law and order issues.
The situation results in scarcity of fuel and profiteering by certain elements which can be avoided by improve local fuel storage, he said.
Moreover, mega water reservoir projects and revamping the Karakoram highway would require atleast one hundred and fifty thousand litres of diesel per day which cannot be satisfied by the existing infrastructure which can handle only one million litres or demand of three days.
Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that Pakistan lacks good storage capacity while situation in remote hilly area is unsatisfactory as state-run oil retailer can store only 800000 tonnes of fuel.
India can store fuel enough for requirements of two weeks, US two months, Switzerland four and a half months while all 27 EU countries must have storage enough to satisfy requirements for three months, he informed.
China will also be able to store fuel enough to offset emergency demand for three months within five years which must act as a wakeup call for our policymakers, he noted.
It must be noted that oil accounts for more than 44 per cent of Pakistan’s energy needs, and we relies heavily on 18 million tonnes of imported crude and petroleum products from Middle Eastern markets.
The GB businessmen said that all the private petroleum providers are interested in retail business while the Chief Secretary of the area has decided to resolve the matter as soon as possible.