By AMER SIAL
The decline in motor spirit (petrol) prices coupled with decline in compressed natural gas (CNG) availability and increase in vehicular traffic have led to a record 480 percent increase in petrol consumption during the last eight years, resulting in diminishing of the mandatory limit of petrol storage from 20 days to below 14 days; it was reliably learnt.
An official source said the domestic petrol consumption is increasing at an amazing rate of 20 percent per annum. The petrol consumption was estimated at 125,000 tons per month during 2008 and it has increased to 600,000 tons per month in 2016.
It has simply out dated the storage capacity fixed for the oil marketing companies (OMCs). This situation is only witnessed in the motor gasoline category, while the consumption pattern of high speed diesel (HSD) and furnace oil remained on a steady path.
The HSD consumption has gradually increased as overall economic activity in the country has remained dull during the last eight years. The regulator, OGRA is yet to enhance the motor spirit storage limit, but it has asked OMCs and refineries to take measures to smoothen the petrol supplies, the source said, adding, that developing additional storage was a cumbersome job considering the number of permissions required for carrying out the work.
According to the Ministry of Petroleum estimates the total storage of HSD is around 1.2 million tons which is sufficient for 44 days cover. At present, the demand of HSD 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 power sector and its country wide stocks are 759,022 MTs which is sufficient for 27 days cover as per current average per day demand of the country, which is around 28,320 MTS.
A Spokesman of Petroleum Ministry said, at present there is sufficient supply of petroleum products including motor gasoline, HSD and furnace oil throughout the country. Keeping in view the current surge in demand of the petroleum products, the Ministry of Petroleum has taken proactive action advising the OMCs to import as per plan. Simultaneously, refineries have also been advised to maximize their production in order to cater to the country wide demand.