Govt plans to probe fuel crisis: minister

ISLAMABAD:

Federal Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan on Wednesday said the government planned to hold a thorough investigation into the fuel crisis, which occurred last month, to take the elements involved in hoarding and creating artificial shortage of the commodity to task.

 “A commission has been formed by the federal cabinet in its last meeting,” the minister said, during the question hour session in the National Assembly.

 Wondering where the stocks had gone, he noted the sales of petrol stood almost at 28% as compared to the corresponding period last year.

 “Definitely, some oil marketing companies and dealers had been involved in creating artificial shortage [of petrol] to make a quick buck, which was evident from the fact that there was no shortage of fuel after the government had announced increase in the price of petroleum products for the month of July,” he said.

 The minister maintained that a system of automation was being introduced to maintain the sales data of OMC depots and nozzle sale of petroleum pumps aimed at keeping an eye on demand and supply needs in the country.

 Replying to a question, Ayub observed that currently eight oil refineries including Attock Refinery Limited (ARL Rawalpindi), Pakistan Refinery Limited (PRL Karachi), National Refinery Limited (NRL Karachi), Pak-Arab Refinery Company Limited (PARCO Mahmood Kot), Byco Petroleum Pakistan Limited (BPPL-I Hub), Enar Petroleum Refining Facility (ENAR-I Karachi), Enar Petroleum Refining Facility (ENAR-II Karachi) and Byco Petroleum Pakistan Limited (BPPL-II Hub) were operating in the country.

 Besides, he said, a number of projects were in different phases of implementation under which Gwadar Refinery, PARCO Coastal Refinery, SIOT Refinery and Falcon and Khyber Refinery would be established to achieve self-sufficiency in the oil production sector.

 The minister noted that the electricity supplied to the port city by the national distributor was the cheapest in the country.

 He informed the house that the electricity supplied to K-Electric (K-E) through the national distribution system had the lowest national tariff when compared to other power distribution companies.

 “We have to rationalise this tariff while the members of Sindh [assembly] have recommended reducing K-E’s fines,” he said.

 While responding to question, the minister said that the K-E had also been asked to build a 500kV grid to ensure smooth distribution of power from the national grid.

 “We are supplying 850 megawatts of electricity from the national grid. The K-Electric did not order oil on time but we provided facilities to them,” he said.

 He quoted the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) saying that the K-E did not make any investment in its grid system and that no work had been done on it over the past years.

 “Our focus is to provide transformers in rural and urban areas,” he said.

 “K-Electric’s LNG plant will come online next year which will bring improvement,” he added.

 Ayub congratulated the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) for transmitting 23,300MW of electricity, which is the highest number achieved till date.

 Later, the NA speaker directed the minister to draft a feasibility report for further improving the country’s distribution system.

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