ISLAMABAD -The government has given a task to the country’s top energy experts to prepare ‘working papers’ on use of technology and automation system in collecting real-time data of oil sector and for up-gradation of refineries. “Under the automation system, daily sales data of oil depots will be maintained, which will help streamline the matters related to fuel supply across the country and achieve self-sufficiency in oil refining sector besides reducing the country’s oil import bill to great extent,” a senior official privy to petroleum sector developments told APP. Elaborating, he said a multi-pronged strategy was being worked out to ensure smooth supply of fuel across the country by maintaining daily sales data of depots and petrol pumps, capacity building of OGRA and sealing all illegal filling stations. He also hinted that a law could be enacted for live data-recording of oil depots’ sales and petrol pumps ‘nozzle sale’ (actual dispensed fuel) in the system on daily basis.

He said it would help keep the fuel supply chain intact without any disturbance and ensure effective monitoring of Oil Marketing Companies’ (OMCs) fuel stocks, supply to petroleum pumps and their onward sale to end-consumers. The official hoped that the system for maintaining the data of oil depots would be in place during next few weeks, while its implementation on petrol pumps could be time consuming due to a big number of almost 9,000 legal registered filling stations operating across the country. “These pumps are selling fuel under a label of their respective OMCs.” Moreover, he said there were more than 1,500 illegal stations, which were not associated or in agreement with any OMC. He vowed to shut down all such illegal filling outlets through an effective crackdown.

“The government wants to end the issue of fuel hoarding once for all,” he said, adding it would not be tolerated that some OMCs curtailed supply to petrol pumps when the government reduced the oil prices to pass on benefit to the common man, and they started their routine business after surge in petroleum prices to make a quick buck. The official said efforts were being made to strengthen the role of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) aimed at increasing its enforcement capabilities to instantly suspend licences of OMCs violating conditions with regard to maintaining mandatory fuel stocks. He said necessary amendments would be made in Rules, Procedures and Act [if deemed appropriate] of OGRA, enabling it to exercise ‘complete authority’ against the licence conditions violators.

According to an official document available with APP, currently as many as five refineries are operating in the country with overall installed capacity of 417,400 barrel per day (BPD) oil and contributing significantly in meeting the petroleum needs through indigenous production. Out of which, Pak Arab Refinery Limited (PARCO) has 100,000 BPD oil refining capacity, Attock Refinery Limited (ARL) 53,400 BPD, Byco Petroleum Pakistan Limited (Byco) 150,000 BPD, National Refinery Limited (NRL) 64,000 BPD and Pakistan Refinery Limited 50,000 BPD.