SINGAPORE  - Pakistan bought close to 600,000 tonnes of fuel oil in July, its highest volume this year, as the country relied more on oil-powered plants during the summer, official data showed.

Total fuel oil imports for July climbed 89,203 tonnes to 597,954 tonnes, up around 17.5 percent, figures from the Oil Companies Advisory Committee showed.

High sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) volumes rose 31,486 tonnes from the previous month to 482,659 tonnes, while imports of low sulphur fuel oil (LSFO) doubled to 115,295 tonne.

The increase was in line with expectations, as power generation needs usually peak during the summer when the country’s hydropower output declines, industry sources say.

Pakistan’s imports are set to decline as the monsoon season starts in certain parts of the country, before picking up again in winter.

Pakistan State Oil has bought 1.065 million tonnes of fuel oil for delivery from August to October, or an average of around 355,000 tonnes a month.

PSO has an outstanding tender to buy up to 685,000 tonnes of fuel oil for delivery over October-November which closes on Aug. 29. It also has a term tender, for 2 million tonnes for a 12-month period, due to close on Oct. 30.

Earlier this year, the World Bank approved a $1 billion loan to Pakistan to boost electricity supply and farm irrigation methods.

The bank said $840 million of the loan will be used to boost capacity at the Tarbela hydro power project, northwest of Islamabad, by 1,410 megawatts.