ISLAMABAD: Lubricant oils are as important as petrol and diesel. It is a high margin lucrative business for all those involved in the supply chain. It is unregulated as well giving pricing freedom to the lubricants suppliers and manufacturers.
Unfortunately, scant attention has been paid to the issues involved in this sector. It used to be an under regulated sector requiring licensing but now it is unregulated, with positive and negative consequences. Used oil is an environmental liability having the potential to pollute water resources. Used oil is being recycled by SME recyclers with rudimentary processing and is marketed as a spurious product compromising engines performance and integrity of vehicles. Recycling is beneficial and is done in most developed countries; however, it has to be under oversight and controls. Oil marketing companies (OMCs) should recognise their role and responsibility in this respect.
There is only one refinery producing lubricant. However, lubricants are imported as well. OMCs blend and market lubricant oils through their distribution networks. There are thousands of petrol pumps and unaccounted workshops involved in oil sales and change business. Traders and importers also sell through shops and directly to large industrial and institutional buyers.