ISLAMABAD  - The circular debt in petroleum sector has reached Rs272.3 million. Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told National Assembly on Wednesday.

He said that receivable from power sector had soared to Rs231 million. “PIA has to pay Rs15 million, whereas the arrears in LNG and SNGPL are around Rs41 million.

He said government had instructed Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources to ensure uninterrupted supplies to WAPDA, HUBCO and KAPCO to avoid power crisis in the country.

However, Ministry of Water and Power could not make timely payments to PSO against supplies which resulted in considerable accumulation of receivables against these entities.

Abbasi said the gap between demand and supply of petroleum products was widening fast. “The consumption of POL products during 2015-16 was around 24 million tons, while the local production of POL during the same year was around 11.7 million tons against the installed capacity of 18.79 million tons,” the minister said in his reply.

He said demand for POL products by 2023-24 was projected to be around 29 million tons- therefore, there was need to set up more oil refineries in the country for which necessary steps are being taken.

Answering another question, he said thirty seven exploration wells had been drilled during the last three years in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

He said 333 mmscfd gas and 18259 bbls of oil had been injected in the system during the last three years.

Abbasi said the present raw gas production was around 4,000 MMCFD whereas constrained demand of gas was over 6,000 MMCFD.

“There are about 3500 CNG stations in the country, and out of these over 2300 are located in Punjab, which do not have sufficient gas production to meet even the demand of its domestic gas consumers,” the minister explained

He said in order to meet the demand for gas in Punjab, about 600 MMCFD of RLNG was being imported and supplied to various consumers including the CNG stations.