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Petroleum Division refutes media reports linking petrol crisis to import ban

ISLAMABAD: The Petroleum Division has refuted the media reports attributing the present petrol crisis to an import ban imposed by the federal government on March 25 during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The spokesperson of the Petroleum Division rejected the reports that are ‘neither factually true nor an accurate representation of the facts’, said a press release.

The division clarified that the decision to ban oil imports had been taken to maintain the supply chain in wake of the drastic drop in demand while preserving local production of oil and gas from fields producing local crude.

During the curtailment period between March 25 and April 24, six ships of motor gasoline and two ships of crude oil had been allowed based on the requirements and demand of various Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) and refineries before the ban on oil imports lifted on April 24.

“The effect of this curtailment, if any, would have shown in the early to mid-May given the sailing time of only 3-4 days from the Gulf region. Thus, this negates the perception of any disruption in the supply chain for the month of June 2020 was created by oil import curtailment in March/April 2020,” read the statement.

In view of the present situation, the enforcement teams of Petroleum Division, Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA), local government and law enforcement authorities were stepping up raids to inspect depots of Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) besides investigating reports of illegal storages by others.

The federal government has made it categorically clear that such action will be dealt with strictly shall neither go unpunished nor shall it be tolerated. As for OMC licensed pumps that were dry, more than half have been restored and balance is expected to be restored by Saturday (tomorrow).

The division reiterated that the concerned authorities were also maintaining constant vigilance over the situation and in touch with the team on the ground and taking decisions accordingly.

The division appealed the public at large and petrol dealers to not engage in panic buying of petrol.

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