OGRA & OCAC favor testing of petroleum products by independent lab

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The Oil Companies Advisory Council (OCAC), a body that is engaged with refining and marketing companies has sought permission of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources to hire the services of an independent laboratory to conduct testing of petroleum products.  The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) has backed the proposal. The process can bring transparency at a time when the state-run Hydrocarbon Development Institute of Pakistan (HDIP) is alleged of dubious testing.

On several occasions, OCAC had lodged complaints with the petroleum ministry, that the results of two samples taken simultaneously did not match. The disparity in the results led to delays in the discharge of cargo leading to importers paying heavy demurrage charges.

Currently, HDIP is responsible for quality testing of imported petroleum at its Karachi laboratory prior to the cargo unloading process.Samples for the tests are taken by approved surveyors of the OCAC in the presence of an HDIP representative according to the prescribed procedures.In case of quality dispute, a second sample is tested by the HDIP in the presence of a nominated representative of the importer. Results of the second test are final and binding.

According to officials, the petroleum ministry was seeking approval of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) to allow OCAC to hire the services of an independent laboratory to conduct second tests instead of HDIP. Ogra has backed the proposal stating that this would bring efficiency and transparency to the process and would avoid unncescessry demurrage charges.