ISLAMABAD - A parliamentary committee was informed on Wednesday that in order to meet the enhanced demand of motor gasoline and to build up healthy stocks of the product, Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) have been directed to import additional volumes in October 2017, otherwise punitive action would be taken against them.
Standing Committee of National Assembly on Energy, which met under the chairmanship of Bilal Ahmad Virk, also observed the open sale of Iranian smuggled petrol at petrol pumps and has decided to invite representatives of Pakistan Customs, FIA and heads of provincial police departments to discuss the sale of smuggled petrol in the country.
MNA Yousaf Wasan said that smuggled petrol is being sold at petrol pumps and nobody is there to check it. Shehryar Afridi said that there is no storage in Kohat region which is affecting the entire southern region. The Ogra chairperson said that they are pursuing the OMCs to increase their storages in Kohat region otherwise they are not going to get the freight charges.
The committee has directed the Petroleum Division to ensure supply of sufficient quantity of motor gasoline by the OMCs in the country to meet the demand. State Minister for Petroleum Jam Kamal said that the Ministry of Energy and Ogra are trying to increase the oil storage in the country. For the safety purpose, it is also being ensured to set up the oil storages far away from the cities, he said. Small OMCs have been asked to increase their outlets, the minister said.
The committee was informed that currently Pakistan has the storage of 11 days of petrol, 15 days of furnace oil and 21 days of diesel. About the recent oil shortage in Lahore, it was also informed that on some places few petrol pumps of Shell were closed. Shell has decreased its oil import by 50 percent after Bahwalpur incident, as shell is only using the standard tankers.
While briefing the committee on the issue of reported shortage of petrol in the country, Petroleum Division Secretary Sikandar Sultan Raja informed that due to less import of motor gasoline by the OMCs during August and September 2017, shortage was reported in Lahore region which was mitigated on war footing basis. He further informed that in order to meet the enhanced demand of motor gasoline and to built up healthy stocks of the product, OMCs have been directed to import additional volumes in October 2017, otherwise punitive action would be taken against them.
The petroleum secretary informed the committee that by December 2018, oil pipeline project will be completed which will improve the oil transportation in the country. The committee directed the Ogra and Petroleum Division to keep a vigilant eye on imports of OMCs and ensuring their storage capacity against their quota. The committee also asked Ogra to take up the issue of induction of oil tankers complaints with the technical standards with OMCs besides taking necessary steps for laying underground pipelines for oil transportation.
On the Nepal amendment act, the Nepra chairman said that they have several objections to the proposed amendments. For example, he said, the experience of the Nepra member has been decreased from 15 to 10 years which will compromise the quality of work as in 10 years it is hard to become SDO or Xian. The Nepra has proposed to keep the experience at 15 years. He said if they follow the new policy it can cause tussle of authority. The ministry can direct the Nepra to increase the losses, the Nepra chairman said. He further said that they have also objection over the unified tariff as some companies have more losses than other. Unified tariff will affect the efficiency and privatisation of the Discos, he maintained. The regulator has also objection over the appointment of a tribunal for the evaluation of the Nepra.
The committee unanimously approved the Private Power and Infrastructure Board (Amendment) Bill, 2017 without amendments. The committee deferred discussion on the Regulation of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Power (Amendment) Bill, 2017 for its next meeting. The meeting was attended by Minister of State for Power Abid Sher Ali, Minister of State for Petroleum Jamal Kamal Khan, MNAs; Malik Ihtebar Khan, Muhammad Afzal Khokhar, Syed Muhammad Saqlain Shah Bukhari, Mian Tariq Mehmood, Rana Muhammad Ishaq Khan, Nawab Ali Wassan, Shehryar Afridi, Imran Khattak, Abdul Waseem, Sajid Ahmed, Pir Bux Junejo, Shahjehan Muneer Mangrio, secretaries of Petroleum and Power Divisions and senior officers of the departments concerned.