KARACHI - The consumption of the aviation fuel has soared by 38.5 per cent to 0.67 million tons during the 1st Half of 2010 mainly due to the ongoing military operation along the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, experts said. They said that the fuel oil depicted the highest growth followed by motor spirit and aviation fuel. Experts are of the view that the surge in demand of petroleum products during 1HFY10 validates that consolidation of economy is underway, however deficiency of alternatives continue to snag pace of growth. According to details, total energy product demand witnessed growth of 15.5 per cent to 9.97mn tons during 1HFY10 as black oil products sales grew by 23.4 percent whereas white oil volumes escalated by 9.7 percent. While the sale of gasoline swelled by 34.6 per cent to 0.93mn tons owing to continued loadshedding, necessitating greater use of fuel powered generators. The lacklustre economic activity hampered High Speed Diesel (HSD) volumes, that constitutes nearly 40 per cent of the total consumption, as it registered mere increase of 1.3 per cent to 3.76mn ton against the corresponding period last year. Superior kerosene oil (SKO) also witnessed modest increase of 8.4 percent as shortage of gas continues to haunt especially during the winter season. Salman Vidhani, senior investment analyst at Habib Metropolitan Financial Services Limited (HMFSL), said an increasing portion of local oil consumption demand is being imported while local refineries continue to operate at 60 percent to 70 percent capacity utilization due to timing difference arising from pricing of product that has exposed them to product price volatility, adversely affecting gross refinery margins and foreign exchange losses.