ISLAMABAD-The government has planned to start import of high grade petrol and diesel during the current fiscal year aimed at tackling the environmental issues and meeting requirements of high-tech vehicles in the country. “To reduce the environmental impact through improved quality of fuel, high grade imports of petroleum products i.e. Petrol and High Speed Diesel is planned to be initiated during 2020-21,” a senior official privy to petroleum sector developments told APP while referring to the Annual Plan 2020-21.

For the purpose, he said, a Euro-IV and V standard fuel testing laboratory had already been set up at the Hydrocarbon Development Institute of Pakistan (HDIP) Islamabad, while more labs would be upgraded in due course of time. In first week of last month, he said, Minister for Petroleum Omar Ayub Khan had formally inaugurated the Euro-IV and V standard fuel testing laboratory, which was in line with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s directives to ensure availability of high grade fuels conforming the latest vehicles and tackle environmental issues like smog & air pollution.

Following the directives, he said, a strategy was being worked out by the Petroleum Division to start import of the Euro-IV & V fuel besides producing it at local level. Currently, Euro-II & III standard petrol and diesel were available in the country. He was of the view that with adoption of high grade fuel standards and their usage in high-tech vehicles would also help save foreign exchange due to their less consumption. He said the laboratory would analyze new fuel standards, implemented by the government aimed at providing good quality high-grade fuels to motorists, adding “The lab will test the imported as well as well locally produced fuels of the increased standards. It will check that the fuels were matching the approved standards or not.”

The official said it had earlier accorded approval to undertake a major up-gradation plan for the HDIP. “This is in continuation of the Petroleum Division’s initiative to introduce international best practices in all its organizations.” The plan envisaged up-gradation of all petroleum testing facilities at Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta and Multan. During the current fiscal year, he said, Rs 55.476 million would be spent on up-gradation and ISO certification of Karachi Laboratories Complex to ensure provision of quality petroleum products across the country. Answering a question, the official said, the product quality, for all importers, was tested by HDIP laboratories prior to unloading from oil carrying vessels. “For which, sampling of each imported product is carried out by the HDIP in the presence of importers’ surveyors.”

In case of any quality dispute, the official said, re-sampling was made by the third party surveyor in the presence of authorized representatives of concerned stakeholders including the HDIP. Elaborating, he said, the fresh sample was tested in the presence of nominated representatives of the importer and the HDIP by another independent laboratory, pre-approved by Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority, which was considered ‘final and binding.’ The OGRA also independently carries out random sampling from vessels carrying imported petroleum products for testing through any of the approved laboratories for effective monitoring, quality assurance and greater transparency in the process. As per the policy, the official said, the HDIP was advised to coordinate with oil marketing companies to initiate sampling of imported petroleum products along with subsequent testing in the presence of importers’ surveyor and report to the authority within seven days.