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February 19, 2020

OMCs temporarily shut down Kaemari storage facilities on gas leak scare

Business

February 19, 2020

KARACHI: Oil marketing companies (OMCs) on Tuesday temporary shutdown fuel storage facilities in Karachi’s Kaemari port after their employees complained of acute respiratory issues due to apparent aeroallergen from soybean dust.

The suspected dust in Keamari area has so far killed at least 14 people while more than 300 have been hospitalised on respiratory issues since Sunday evening.

A spokesperson at Byco Petroleum said the firm had temporarily closed its storage facilities and stopped petroleum products supplies as a precautionary measure. The Pakistan State Oil (PSO) had also temporarily closed its storage terminals in Kaemari, Karachi due to health and safety reasons.

“The operations on this location will resume as soon as the area is deemed safe for the company's staff and contractors to operate,” PSO spokesperson said. The spokesman, however said there will be as such no impact of this temporary closure on supply of petroleum products within Karachi, and in up country locations.

“PSO has sufficient stock available, with back-up supply arrangements already in place to ensure an uninterrupted supply of the petroleum products.” An official at another oil marketing company said that their Kaemari storage terminal was temporarily closed, after the workers complained of similar respiratory issues.

“There will be no supply issues for the next few days. However, if the situation is not controlled for a longer period of time there could be fuel supply shortages in some areas.” Shell Pakistan Limited also stopped operations at Keamari on Tuesday at around 2:00 pm. “This was taken as a precautionary measure for the safety of our staff. We are following the news closely and hope to resume normal operations by Wednesday. This will not impact our customers,” Shell spokesperson said.

Authorities have sought help from the navy´s chemical and biological department as well as a research institute headed by Atta-ur-Rehman, a former minister. Suleman Tareen of Oil Tankers Association said they had picked up the commodity on Tuesday and the oil companies had called them for taking the product delivery on Wednesday. “We have not been apprised of the closure of the terminals. Our vehicles did their business as usual today and they didn’t complain of any health problems.”