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March 27, 2020

Govt bans oil import

Business

March 27, 2020

KARACHI: Government on Thursday advised oil marketing companies and refineries to cancel their planned imports as domestic oil inventory is piling up on muted demand and urged the provincial administrations to ease lockdown restrictions on petroleum transportation.

Ministry of energy said consumption of motor gasoline has dropped significantly due to enforcement of lockdowns by the provincial administrations to control spread of coronavirus. “As OMCs (oil marketing companies) have sufficient inventory of the product, all OMCs are requested to cancel their planned imports (April, 2020 onwards) and increase their offtake from refineries so that the operations of refineries are maintained at an adequate level,” the ministry said in a letter to Oil Companies Advisory Council.

“Further, all OMCs are advised to finalise/update their commercial agreements with the local refineries for required product sourcing.”

The energy ministry further said supply of petroleum products and related operations are essential services to meet energy requirements of the country. Movement of subcontractors, personnel, equipment and vehicles are essential to keep the operation of refineries and OMCs up and running.

“It is, therefore, requested in the best national interest to allow unhindered movement of refineries / oil marketing companies… including their subcontractors, personnel and vehicles, so that uninterrupted supply chain of petroleum products in the country may be maintained during crisis situation as a result of COVID-19 outbreak,” the ministry said in a separate letter.

The industry lauds the ministry of energy’s steps to direct law enforcement agencies to facilitate the unhindered movement of refineries and OMC’s, including their employees, subcontractors/vendors, and vehicles. “The domestic refining industry stands tall with Pakistan in showing resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and will emerge stronger as Pakistan eventually recovers from this crisis,” Byco said in a statement.

Byco is Pakistan's largest oil refiner by design capacity, and is the nation’s only firm having a dedicated single point mooring (SPM). Byco's SPM is the only floating liquid port in the country, and the company employs a round-the-clock crew dedicated for the safety and security of the buoy and vessels in and around the SPM's anchorage area.