ISLAMABAD - Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said that the country has satisfactory stock of petroleum products and there is nothing to worry about fuel availability now.

Maintaining that there was a stock of nine days of petrol and 18 days diesel at the moment, he asked the media to avoid giving unconfirmed news about fuel shortage as it creates panic and people then start storing fuel that ultimately could cause a crisis.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, he said that first shipment of liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) will reach the country on March 31 and construction of Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project was underway which would be completed by the end of 2016 or the start of 2017.

The minister ruled out possibility of petrol crisis in future. He said arrangements have been made in view of expected reduction in oil prices next month and rising demand of petrol. He said per day consumption of petrol in the country has increased from 9,000 tonnes in January 2014 to 15,000 tonnes in January 2015 and for the running month the government has projected an estimated demand of petrol at 19,000 tonnes a day.

Abbasi said during ongoing month petrol consumption so far has been recoded at 450,000 tonnes and it is estimated it to reach 540,000 tonnes in next month due to expected reduction in the prices. Diesel consumption during past one year has also increased by 12 percent and to meet the future requirements the government is taking all necessary steps. He said petrol crisis was overcome by taking effective measures. To a question, he said sufficient stock of diesel and furnace oil has also been ensured.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the first LNG shipment arriving on March-end will be provided to power generation plants. He said that Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is also an important part of the country’s energy mix which will be promoted. “We will not allow any crisis to damage the world number one industry and efforts were underway to revive it as soon as possible,” he said.

The minister said CNG sector has been allowed to import LNG and the government will transport it to provide CNG and alternate fuel to consumers. He said pressure on petrol will be reduced with the availability of CNG and people will get relief. The minister said that petrol consumption in the country was increasing with each pass days due to reducing prices and selling of 40,000 bikes per month. He said last year around 500,000 motorbikes were sold in the country. “It is natural that you should import the gas for the country; gas is a cheaper and cleaner fuel, it can easily be transported. Pakistan is a very old gas country which has extensive gas supply network, even villages have gas, industries are on gas, fertiliser factories consume gas, so we need gas... what I am saying is that in future I see not this just one (IP) pipeline but I see three or more pipelines from Iran,” Abbasi said.

“So we went through different ways to develop the (IP gasline) project and what we did was that we have signed an understanding with the Chinese company and this is part of the Gwadar project also; we will build an LNG terminal at Gwadar and a 700 kilometres pipeline would be built from Gwadar to Nawabshah which would leave us with constructing a section of only around 70 kilometres which would take it to Iran border,” the minister added.