Petro Division asks provincial govts to ensure smooth supply of fuel

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Energy’s Petroleum Division on Tuesday asked the provincial chief secretaries to ensure movement of personnel and the equipment of petroleum exploration and production (E&P) companies for uninterrupted fuel supply across the country amid coronavirus-related restrictions.

In a letter written to four provincial chief secretaries, the Directorate General Petroleum Concession (DGPC) has requested to allow smooth movements of personnel, subcontractors and vehicles of oil and gas companies, including OGDCL, PPL, UEPL, ENI, MOL, MPCL, KUFPEC, POGC, OPPL and POL, to meet the energy requirements of the country.

Irfan Khokar, a representative of the LPG Association, told this scribe that the provincial chief secretaries had not allowed LPG distributors, shops, plants, and transporters (bowsers) to continue their businesses despite issuance of a letter by the Petroleum Division.

He said domestic gas consumers, especially in remote areas where natural gas is not available for cooking and lighting purposes, have been facing serious problems due to gas shortage.

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He requested the government to exempt LPG distributors, shops, plants and transporters (bowsers) from the coronavirus related restrictions.

Meanwhile, Ghyias Abdullah Paracha of All Pakistan Petroleum Retailers Association said the government’s decision of up to Rs15 per litre cut in POL prices is welcoming, but it could cause heavy losses to the owners of fuel stations, who have been maintaining additional stocks due to current situation and not closing petrol pumps following the instructions of the district administration.

He claimed each owner would be facing loss up to Rs700,000 due to this sudden decision, adding that oil sales had already dropped significantly due to the virtual lockdown-like situation.

Paracha demanded the government to ensure financial assistance for petrol pumps and also instruct oil companies to adjust losses in a bid to ensure availability of oil in the country.

“Oil companies who have obtained oil on cheap rates should adjust losses being faced by owners of petrol pumps.”

Paracha further asked the government to promote LNG and waive customs duty on the fuel while putting a limit on local production of natural gas to save billions of dollars, as imported LNG is cheaper than local gas.

He said increased import of LNG would help reduce the price of gas without spending a hefty amount on subsidies. “This would also ensure economical gas and electricity.”

Oversupply in the international market is a golden opportunity, which should not be missed, he opined.

According to Paracha, local CNG sector is facing the brunt of the situation as sales have come to a halt and CNG operators are facing difficulties in paying rent and salaries to the staff.

“The government should reduce taxes on the CNG sector and announce a bailout package so that the sector could survive,” he maintained.

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Ahmad Ahmadani
The author is an investigative journalist. He can be reached at [email protected]
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