ISLAMABAD -  Pakistan stands at almost 65 percent of the mandatory 20 days oil inventory of petrol, which may face January 2015-like energy crisis in case anything disrupts the supplies.

Despite the passage of almost two years since the worst oil crises hit Pakistan, the oil marketing companies are not maintaining the legally required 20 days inventory as the country’s petrol stock is just enough for 13 days.

At present, the countrywide stock of motor gasoline (petrol) is 225,674 metric tons (MTs) sufficient for only 13 days as per current average per day demand of the country, which is around 17,500 MTs, said a spokesman for the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources here yesterday. At the onset it was clarified that strategic and normal stocks are two different entities, the spokesman added. The fuel used for armed forces is sufficiently available, but details cannot be made public for security reasons, the spokesman said.

This available petrol inventory clearly indicates that in terms of oil supply chain, the country is vulnerable to crises and stands at such a position as it was back in January 2015, an official of the ministry confided to the scribe. Nothing has improved since then and if the factors which caused the early 2015 crisis arise again, the people will face the same situation, the official added. During the January 2015, a major part of the country was without petrol and the shortage of fuel in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has literally brought daily life to a standstill, leaving the people in queues for hours for petrol.

For the January crisis, Ogra blamed 10 oil marketing companies for violating terms of their licences for under Pakistan’s petroleum rules under which they are bound to maintain their 20 days stocks. Pakistan State Oil, Shell, Chevron, Bakri, Admore, Askar, Attock Petroleum, Overseas Pakistan and Byco Petroleum Limited were held responsible for not maintaining stocks.

However, the spokesman for the ministry said that besides the availability of 13 days stock, two vessels of motor gasoline carrying quantities of 17,000 MTs are waiting for berthing, while two more vessels having quantity of around 67,000 MTs are expected to arrive tonight.

The country wide stock of high speed diesel (HSD) is 466,821 MTs which is sufficient for 17 days as per current average per day demand of the country, being around 27,310 MTS, the spokesman said. Moreover, two vessels of high speed diesel, carrying quantity of 106,000 MTs, are waiting for berthing, while one vessel having quantity of around 54,000 MTs is under discharge, the spokesman said. It is pertinent to mention here that the total storage of high speed diesel is around 1.2 million tons, which is sufficient for 44 days’ cover. At present, the demand of high speed diesel has increased substantially due to harvesting season at approximately 27,310 MTs as compared to normal demand of 22,000 MTs.

Furnace oil is mainly used in the power sector and its countrywide stock is 759,022 MTs which is sufficient for 27 days cover as per current average per day demand of the country, being around 28,320 MTS.

In addition to the above quantity of furnace oil, three vessels of furnace oil carrying quantity of 204,974 MTs are waiting for berthing at Fauji Oil Terminal, Karachi.

From 14th August, 2016, to 31st October, 2016, one oil pier (OP-1) at Keamari port remained non-operational due to the maintenance issue, causing a temporary disturbance in import handling of motor gasoline (petrol), the spokesman further explained. With the close coordination among all stakeholders, the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Resources managed all imports without any disruption of supply chain in the country.

The said oil pier is now operational and import handling at Keamari has improved.

The spokesman said that at present, there is sufficient supply of petroleum products (motor gasoline/high speed diesel/furnace oil) throughout the country, keeping in view the current surge in demand of the petroleum products. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources has taken a proactive action, advising the oil marketing companies to import the product as per plan. Simultaneously, refineries have also been advised to maximise their production in order to cater to the countrywide demand, the spokesman maintained.