ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources misled the economic managers about the oil stocks, leading to unprecedented petrol shortage in Punjab as well as other parts of the country.
According to a report surfaced on Sunday, the Petroleum Ministry had informed the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) in its meeting on January 10 that the country’s oil stocks on an average were enough for 18 days of consumption on January 6.
However, Punjab started facing petrol shortages soon after the ECC meeting. Within days, the situation worsened and petrol stations ran dry with people scrambling to purchase whatever fuel was available at the filling stations.
Pakistan State Oil (PSO) said efforts to cope with the surge in petrol demand were impeded by Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC), which supplied vessels for the transport of fuel later than the agreed time.
A vessel bringing in 52,000 tons of petrol was to be provided for loading on January 2-4, but it arrived on January 10. Similarly, another vessel, which was due to arrive at the loading port on January 5, reached on January 15.
PSO sought the release of Rs 74 billion on an urgent basis by December 31, 2014 to honour the commitments made to local and international suppliers. The state oil marketing company also had to bear penalties of approximately Rs 250 million on account of delayed payments to banks along with demurrage charges of $1.8 million and supplier’s claim of $6.4 million due to delay in opening the LCs.
PSO informed the government that due to delay in payments by the power sector, the company was unable to import fuel cargoes or continue supplies to the power sector. On an average, PSO imports three to four cargoes of furnace oil of 65,000 tons each per month. In January, no cargo of furnace oil was imported and only one cargo was brought in December.
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