Unscrupulous traders and black marketers have used these locations to store and hoard petroleum products for the purpose of making inventory gains.
As a result of a correspondence sent to the Chief Secretary of Punjab, OGRA alerted the authorities to the illegal activities taking place in these storage facilities and how these practices are contributing to the current oil shortage in the region. A regulator has requested that immediate action be taken against the individuals involved in this illegal activity.
Furthermore, the OGRA has dispatched its enforcement teams to monitor the storage facilities and ensure that petroleum products are supplied smoothly in the province. The list of the illegal petrol and diesel storages, as identified through market intelligence, has been shared with the Chief Secretary to prevent any deliberate shortage.
According to government officials, the oil crisis was artificially induced by hoarders. The Petroleum Division has reported that the country has a stock of 363,085 metric tons of petrol, enough to meet the country’s 20-day requirements, and 515,687 metric tons to meet its 29-day requirements.
In the past, the country has faced several oil crises, but the Petroleum Division has not been able to resolve them. The product is available this time, but the government and the regulator are unable to control the shortage. In spite of the multimillion rupee fines imposed by the regulator on oil marketing companies, dealers continue to exploit the situation.
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Musadik Malik, has announced that the government is not planning to increase fuel prices and has warned oil companies against stockpiling petrol. If any companies are found to be doing so, their licenses will be revoked.
According to a member of the Oil Companies Advisory Council (OCAC), only a few licensed companies are selling fuel, while others do not because of financial issues or hoarding. He mentioned that the petroleum ministry is assisting with the processing of letters of credit to import fuels, but the country’s low foreign exchange reserves and artificial curbs remain a challenge.
It has been reported that some petrol stations in Punjab have closed or have limited the amount of fuel that can be purchased. It has been stated by Abdul Sami Khan, the chairman of the Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association, that the shortage is not due to the dealers and that oil marketing companies have not provided sufficient supplies.
There is also a shortage of LPG in the country due to hoarding. LPG Distributors Association Chairman Irfan Khokhar has challenged the State Minister for Petroleum to address the shortage of LPG in the country, alleging that a state-owned gas utility is engaged in black marketing.