Pakistan may face another petroleum crisis like June last year due to the likely disruption of the energy supply chain at Karachi ports.
The Oil Companies Advisory Company (OCAC), in a letter to Petroleum Division, complained about the unavailability of Oil Pier-1 (OP-1) at Keamari Terminal in the port city, warning of supply disruption due to hiccups at the ports.
According to OCAC, OP-1 is in poor condition where vessels can only unload during the daytime while OP-3 has been inoperative since July 2018.
The OCAC letter comes in response to a demand by the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) wherein it asked the importers and agents to submit an “indemnity bond” prior to berthing of vessels to avoid claims and liabilities that may result from the poor condition of OP-1.
The OCAC said it was the responsibility of KPT to ensure all vessels are unloaded safely in addition to regular maintenance of the oil piers. “[KPT] is shifting the responsibility to importers, agents, ship owners by asking for an indemnity bond for unforeseen events,” OCAC said.
The demand by KPT for indemnity bonds would have adverse impacts on Pakistan’s oil supply, OCAC said, adding that it would lead to limited availability and increased freights when arranging vessels for delivery in Pakistan.
It urged the authorities concerned to do necessary repairs on an urgent basis to avoid queuing up of vessels. It urged the Petroleum Division to take up the matter with the Ministry of Maritime Affair for urgent resolution
In June last year, Pakistan faced shortage of petroleum products across the country after some oil marketing companies failed to import and scaled down the supply of local production from refineries in anticipation of a reduction in prices to prevent inventory losses.
The decision of the oil companies had caused a shortage of petrol in the country and eventually resulted in the removal of Nadeem Babar as the PM’s aide on petroleum.