Pakistan State Oil (PSO) has hired foreign vessels to overcome the expected petroleum shortage, including furnace oil, this month.
“The country may face worst petroleum crisis in this month, but PSO is hiring foreign vessels to import petroleum products,” said a PSO official.
Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) had already signed an agreement with PSO to bring all its cargoes from abroad but the corporation has only two oil tankers which are out-of-order for last six months.
The official said that on PSO’s special request, the federal government and the PNSC have approved to give tender for foreign vessels for importing oil stocks from Arab countries and PSO had given this contract to other company for the month of June or July.
“There would be no petroleum crisis in June as the government and Petroleum Ministry expected,” the official said.
Earlier, the Ministry of Petroleum had claimed that the country may face petroleum and furnace oil shortage in June owing to the delay in providing vessels by the PNSC to import petroleum products.
A source in the Petroleum Ministry said, “The ministry had asked the PNSC to send its oil tankers to bring furnace oil and other petroleum products in May, but the corporation is using delay tactics in this connection.”
People of Punjab had seen similar situation in January 2015, when petrol dry-out was caused due to the delay by PNSC in providing vessels for the loading and transport of petrol cargoes.
Officials have also informed that since January 2014, PNSC has delayed provision of 77 vessels to PSO for the import of petroleum products. These delays are in direct breach of the timelines outlined in the Contract of Affreightment (CoA) between PNSC and PSO and have led to massive losses to the national exchequer.
The official said that PNSC has again delayed the provision of vessels for the import of petroleum cargoes. Officials of Petroleum Ministry said that PNSC had not provided vessels for the loading of a petrol cargo scheduled for May 5-7 and another petrol cargo scheduled for May 7-9, 2015.
The national carrier has also not provided any vessel for the loading and transport of High Sulfur Furnace Oil on May 20-22, 2015 which could lead to electricity breakdown in the country as well.
Officials said that demand of furnace oil had increased in summer season due to hike in demand of power generation and sowing season of crops. Petroleum dealers had also informed that they were facing problems in supply of petrol as oil marketing companies were not fulfilling their demands. They said that consumers would face dry out if such situation continues.
Sources have revealed that PNSC is backed by influential lobbies in the Ministry of Petroleum as well as the Ministry of Ports and Shipping. PNSC needs to get its act together and ensure that there are no delays in the transport of petroleum products in the interests of the nation, officials said, adding that it was due to this reason that Petroleum Ministry had moved a summary to economic coordination committee (ECC) to intervene for addressing the issue of delayed vessels by NPSC.