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January 18, 2015

Marching back to the stone ages


January 18, 2015

ISLAMABAD: No electricity, no gas and no petrol- Pakistan was promised to be made Asian Tiger but in fact is fast marching back to stone ages.
The present situation of acute shortage of petrol is unheard of and speaks volumes about the poor planning and bad governance of the Nawaz Sharif government. Previously due to the shortage of natural gas, the otherwise expensive option of petrol was available to motorists but today it has also become scarce.
The Nawaz Sharif government, which is known for its inactions and indecisiveness, is presently focused on the issue of terrorism while everything else has been pushed in the backburner as if the regime is incapable of doing multiple functions of a state.
There is now no emphasis seen on the much needed electoral reforms, police improvement, civil service restructuring and depoliticisation, tax reforms, introduction of speedy justice system, merit based top level early appointments in public enterprises, corporations and agencies, and the promised self-accountability of the cabinet to oust inefficient ministers.
When the government took over in mid 2013, it had promised that the power loadshedding would completely end in Pakistan in three years time i.e by mid 2016. Later the government reviewed its goals and claimed that by the end of government’s tenure in 2018, the power shortage crisis would be addressed completely. Now, however, the 2018 target has too become blurred and some high profile coal based energy projects have been shelved.
Regarding the natural gas shortage, the Nawaz Sharif government had pledged that the 2014 winters would be much better than 2013 as the regime would import LNG from Qatar by November 1, 2014. November 2014 has passed but there is no LNG around.
A reviewed target of February 2015 for the import of LNG was given but that too, according to sources, is not possible. Consequently the winters 2014-15 have been much worse than 2013-14. There is no final word about the next

date of import of LNG from Qatar.
With already serious shortages of electricity and gas, the country is now hit by the petrol shortage like never before in the history of Pakistan.
According to sources for the month of January, 2015 PSO awarded 02 vessels with the loading window on 2-4 January from UAE and 3-5 January from Singapore. PSO advised Pakistan National Shipping Corporation for providing vessels as per the provisions of the agreement signed between the two.
Officials in the PSO are shifting the burden on the PNSC and insist that the latter failed to discharge their obligation and vessel for UAE loading was provided on 6th January. As per industry practice any vessel arriving late misses its right for berthing and had to wait. The vessel was berthed on 10th January and sailed on 12th arriving Karachi on 15th after high tide and was berthed on 16th January. The dispatches to up-country were started immediately.
Similarly, it is said, the vessel for Singapore loading was provided after 10 days delay and vessel arrived at load port on 15th January instead of 5th January. The vessel is under loading which will be completed by 18th January and will arrive on 28-29 January as the sailing time from Singapore to Karachi is 10-11 days depending on weather.
Meanwhile, it is also said that the decrease in prices of petroleum products increased the sales and average sales were 15000 MT/day as against an average of 11000-12000 MT. This resulted in depletion of oil stocks at PSO storages. The Parco refinery experienced an emergency shut down on 6th January due to tripping of 11 KV lines which halted refinery operation for 3-4 days and reduced the availability of petroleum goods from the refinery.
PAK-Arab Refinery Limited (Parco) is the largest refinery in the country and supplies more than 2000 MT per day to industry. The reduce availability from Parco was also a contributing factor which contributed to shortages of PMG in certain areas of the country.

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