Islamabad: Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) on Tuesday called for increasing petroleum storage capacity in the Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) to ensure uninterrupted operations and early completion of the economic corridor and mega projects.
Expressing concern over the current situation, President ICCI Atif Ikram Sheikh called for boosting GB petroleum storage capacity by 1000 percent which can help masses as well as armed forces in case of an emergency. Talking to a group of businessmen from Gilgit-Baltistan, he said that closure of main road leading to GB had become order of the day due to land sidings and other disturbances.
The situation results in scarcity of fuel leading to profiteering by certain elements which can be avoided by improving local fuel storage, he said. Atif Ikram Sheik said that economic corridor, mega water reservoir project, and revamping the highways would require more fuel while the existing infrastructure can handle only one million litres or demand of two days.
The storage capacity was enough for three days but corridor project has changed the situation, he said, adding 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. Getting benefit of the receding oil prices many countries are increasing their strategic reserves but Pakistan is not doing anything in this regard, he noted.
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 is improving storage capacity to offset emergency demand for three months which must act as a wakeup call for our policymakers, he noted. 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.