ISLAMABAD: The government is in the process of finalising an integrated strategic plan for the security of oil and gas installations across the country to ensure smooth energy supplies at all times.

Aviation and transport fuel stocks for defence requirements are required to be maintained for 25 days through oil marketing companies (OMCs) and another 45 days stocks by civil sector at all seaports and airports.

Informed sources said the defence authorities have expressed concern that while forces were maintaining 20 day cover of general service reserves at their own depots, however, 25-day minimum strategic reserve supposed to be maintained by petroleum division through Pakistan State Oil (PSO) and other OMCs were running a deficit.

They said that 45 day reserve of petroleum products was required to be maintained as minimum war stamina. Under the strategic plan prepared by the ministries of finance, petroleum, defence, industries and commerce and their related agencies, the existing local refineries need to be upgraded and modernised in a gradual manner.

These requirements are in addition to the establishment of two new refineries with the capacity of 250,000 – 300,000 barrels per day; both of which, one by PSO in collaboration with foreign investors and the other initiated by Pak-Arab Refinery Company (Parco) project located in the coastal region, are currently under initial stages of implementation.

On the logistic side, a total of five projects are currently in works to improve energy movement within the country.

Under an agreement with Port Qasim Authority and Fauji Oil Terminal Company, the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) is constructing a new jetty at Port Qasim to handle Mogas imports and a storage capacity to handle more than 325,000 tonnes per day at Karachi, Thallian and Taru Jabba etc.

FWO has also initiated two major projects including a parallel pipeline for multiproduct movement from Memhoodkot via Thallian near Raw­al­pindi to Taru-Jabba near Peshawar and a cross-country pipeline from Gwadar to Kashghar for commercial transportation of crude oil.

Furthermore, another pipeline to be installed by PSO connecting Keamari and Port Qasim is in addition to the white oil pipeline project by Parco and Pak-Arab Pipeline Company Limited to ensure smooth movement of motor gasoline.

Officials said the gas distribution and transmission lines were underground and generally invisible without relevant pipeline sketches but their valve assemblies and some other points which are potentially vulnerable are guarded by outsourced security guards.

An official said that there have been some proposals – though academic in nature – at this stage suggesting an increase in gas storage during summers to meet high demand in winters but the option is practically unfeasible due to the demand-supply shortfall in summer.

Another official said the concerned ministries as part of the strategic plan also discussed potential vulnerabilities in refineries at Karachi and Morgah (Rawalpindi) as continuity of production at these facilities is dependent on crude oil supplies, storages, and the protection they receive against any air or sea attacks.The agencies concerned have also been directed to update fire safety manuals across the country particularly at Karachi.

Published in Dawn, August 14th, 2018

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