KARACHI: Oil industry group on Tuesday warned of a possible petroleum products shortages in Punjab and adjoining areas following blockades of roads and highways to stop PTI supporters entering capital Islamabad for sit-in protest.
“The road blockades have cut links of major cities with adjoining regions, thereby severely impacting fuel supplies within the province,” Oil Companies Advisory Council (OCAC) said in a letter to provincial authorities in Punjab.
The government banned a planned protest march by ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is demanding fresh elections, and had started putting up blockades at roads and highways leading to Islamabad.
It said the prevalent road blockades in Punjab have impacted the entry and exit routes of major cities.
“At the onset, we would like to mention that ample fuel stocks are available at various locations in Punjab and many oil marketing companies dispatched morning loads to the retail outlets, but the same have not reached the destinations due to road blocks,” the OCAC said.
“Moreover, escalating rumors regarding product shortages may result in panic buying.”
OCAC said movement of tank lorries is severely affected and the oil industry fears that the prevalent situation may result in delayed deliveries and product dry outs across the region/province due to closure of highways and motorways and non-availability of safe alternate routes.
“Due to impacted fuel deliveries to petrol pumps in Lahore and adjoining areas which are fed from Machike, OCAC sought the support to engage the local administration and issue necessary instructions for providing security and safe movement of tank lorries to the respective destinations across Punjab till the situation normalises.”
In a separate statement the OCAC expressed its concern regarding the prevalent situation of road blockades and the alleged speculation of low stocks circulating on the various forums. It requested the public to avoid panic buying.
“There are ample stocks of MOGAS and HSD in the Punjab region and OMCs are making their best efforts to top-up the retails outlets timely, despite the road blockages,” the statement said.
The statement said sufficient stocks of fuel products are available in the country, including the depots in Punjab region.
“OMCs are making fuel deliveries to the retail outlets, however the deliveries are being hampered due to road blockades in the major cities of Punjab and may result in delayed deliveries to petrol pumps.”