KARACHI - Total oil consumption during the first 9 months (July-March) of FY10 stood at 14.8 million tons, up 11 per cent from the corresponding period of last year. Oil sales during March 2010 stood at 1.8m tons, up 34 per cent MoM and 4 per cent YoY on the back of robust HSD and petrol sales, according to the latest numbers released by the OCAC. Atif Zafar, an analyst, told The Nation Tuesday that Furnace Oil (FO) sales were up 12 per cent YoY following growing shortage of electricity and rising demand from dual fuel thermal power plants, which have been the primary growth determinant for oil sales during 9MFY10. Petrol and jet fuel sales too reflected a rising trend, with consumption up 33pc and 47pc, respectively. Load management at CNG pumps and the reduced price differential between CNG and petrol have been key reasons behind the jump in petrol consumption. As a consequence of subdued economic activity, diesel sales remained under check, with consumption up only 2pc YoY to 5.5m tons. However, Kerosene Oil (SKO) and Light Diesel Oil (LDO) sales were down 11pcYoY each. He said that March oil sales, which stood at 1.8m tons, posted impressive showing in almost all respects. Compared to the preceding month, oil consumption was up 34pc as diesel and FO sales recorded impressive growth of 64pc MoM and 11pc MoM, respectively. Petrol, SKO and JP sales too were up 54pc, 82pc and 21pc, respectively. On a year-on-year basis, oil consumption was up 4pc in March mainly due to 22pc and 43pc increase in diesel and petrol sales, respectively. However, with the circular debt taking its toll on the OMCs, FO sales registered a decline of 19pc. We expect oil sales to grow by a 4 year (FY10-14) CAGR of 6pc, with robust oil consumption to sustain in the comings months owing to commissioning of further rental power plants and IPPs he added. PSO will remain the primary beneficiary of the anticipated rise in oil consumption owing to its vast distribution and handling capacity. APL, on the other hand, is expected to enhance its market share in diesel sales on the back of expansion of its distribution network. During 9MFY10, PSO and APL oil sales have jumped 9pc and 22pc, respectively in response to the aforementioned reasons, while rising international oil prices should help boost margins for the oil marketing companies. Moreover, recent news flow regarding the Rs100b and Rs60b Sukuk and TFC issues have slightly alleviated concerns over the long-standing circular debt issue he further added.