Omar Ayub irked over fuel shortage, forms body to identify ‘black marketers’

–Minister claims some elements creating ‘artificial shortage of fuel’ only to maximise their profits

–Orders cancellation of OMCs’ licences if anyone found negligent

ISLAMABAD: Energy Minister Omar Ayub Khan on Monday expressed deep concerns over fuel shortage in the country and formed a committee to verify the availability of stocks and identify “black marketing and hoarding” by some elements.

Chairing a video conference at the Petroleum Division, the minister maintained that some elements created “artificial shortage of fuel across the country only to maximise their profits”, which caused inconvenience to the general public.

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The meeting, attended among others by Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Petroleum Nadeem Babar and Secretary Petroleum Mian Asad Hayaud Din, discussed ways and means to mitigate the fuel demand and supply challenges, according to a statement issued by the Petroleum Division.

The meeting decided to form a committee to identify bottlenecks in the country’s fuel supply chain.

It was also decided that “oil marketing companies shall not be allowed to ration supplies of petroleum products to retail outlets” and strict action would be taken against those dealers involved in overcharging and hoarding.

The meeting decided that OMCs would not be allowed to cancel or defer their planned cargoes for June 2020, while oil refineries should be directed to produce their committed volume of petroleum products.

“OMCs must move Mogas from Karachi ports to main consumption centres immediately. In this regard, a committee has also formed to inspect OMCs installations/depots to verify their stocks, physically. The licence of OMC(s) will be cancelled by the regulator if anyone found negligent,” the Petro Division’s statement read. “Besides, OMCs must ensure additional supplies to Malakand, Faisalabad and Hyderabad Divisions.”

The minister also asked the Oil Companies Advisory Council (OCAC) to issue a ‘press statement’ indicating that sufficient stocks of petrol were available in the country and all import of petroleum products was lined up to meet the demand.

OGRA was given a task to deploy vigilance teams in the field to verify available stocks of OMCs, depots and retail outlets.

The meeting also stressed that additional production by refineries as well as planned imports should be as per schedule aimed at meeting the monthly needs, observing that useable stocks of 214,536 Metric Tonnes of petrol were available in the country, which was sufficient for 10 days.

The meeting vowed to take proactive and appropriate actions jointly by the Petroleum Division, OGRA and all relevant stakeholders, including the provincial government, to normalize the fuel supply situation across the country.

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