PESHAWAR: Long queues of automobiles and motorcycles were witnessed at filling stations in most parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including the capital city, on Monday following a reduction in supplies by oil marketing companies.
Petrol dealers insisted that the companies had cut down supplies of petroleum products to the province over long delays in the issuance of letters of credit by private banks for imports.
The drivers told Dawn in Peshawar that the city’s most petrol pumps were closed, while the filling stations owned by the Pakistan State Oil and Shell continued sales,attracting large crowds of motorists and motorcyclists.
Motorcyclist Sharif Khan reported the closure of most filling stations on GT Road, Dalazak Road and Charsadda Road.
“I had to wait for around half an hour to fuel up at a GT Road petrol pump,” he said, adding that at least 20 more lined up there.
Dealers claim oil companies have reduced supplies over delay in import LCs
The motorcyclist said the wait at a filling station in the Faqirabad area lasted around 50 minutes.
Mansehra district had reported a large-scale closure of petrol pumpsdue to petrol shortage on Sunday.
On Dec 31, the district administration closed all CNG stations in the provincial capital for a month to ensure the supply of natural gas to domestic consumers.
The decision was made on the recommendation of the home and tribal affairs department and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited, according to the deputy commissioner.
When contacted, Sarhad Petroleum and Cartage Dealers Association chairmanAbdul Majidclaimed that the one-month closure of CNG stations increased the petrol demand by the vehicles, which previously used compressed gas.
He also said oil companies had reduced supplies to the province causing the closure of several filling stations and shortages of petroleum products.
“Many companies are struggling to importpetroleum products due to LC delays by banks,” he said.
Mr Majid said at leasttwo companieshad suspended the supply of petroleum products to the province, while the others were operating at the reduced capacity. He said oil supplies to the province had been reduced for a week.
Meanwhile, provincial president of the Oil Tankers Owners Association Haji Mohammad Ayub told Dawn that the Pakistan State Oil was supplying petrol to the province as usual.
“Currently, 98 oil tankers from Karachi and 32 from Multan are waiting for their turn to decant at the province’s largest oil depot in Taru Jabba area of Nowshera district,” he said.
Mr Ayub, however, said the PSO supplied over 1.3 million liters of petrol from the Taru Jabba depot daily and that there were no supply issues at the end of the state-owned energy company.
He said the PSO had stopped its dealers from sharing their oil quotas with other private companies around a week ago and that could be one of the reasons for reduced supply.
However, a manager of the filling station in Peshawar told Dawn that the sales had been suspended over heist fears.
“There is no electric supply due to a major power breakdown, so we cannot take the risk of being robbed in the darkness by continuing selling oil,” he said.
The manager, however, confirmed reduced supplies by oil companies to the province.
Kohat district also reported an acute oil shortage to the inconvenience of residents.
Only petrol pump was open. Long queues of vehicles and motorcyclists were witnessed there. The police’s petrol pump sold oil to people. However, the supply to heavy vehicles was temporarily suspended to serve vans, cars and motorcycles.
Most filling stations were closed in Charsadda district, too, due to petrol shortage to the misery of road users. Drivers and motorcyclists were seen stand in long queues for petrol. Owners of petrol pumps claimed that they couldn’t serve visitors after exhausting oil stocks.
Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2023