LAHORE: As the shortages loom large, panic buying of petrol started in various cities across the country on Monday as long queues emerged at most of the pumping stations and the situation got frightening by evening when 12 hours of national breakdown send half of the fuel stations offline.
The petroleum dealers in Lahore explained the enervating condition saying that the national power breakdown only exposed dangers, which had been lurking just under the surface for the last more than three weeks.
“The smaller oil marketing companies (OMCs) had stopped importing crude oil as the paucity of dollars delayed opening of letters of credit (LCs) and slowly squeezed the process completely,” narrates Kh. Atif Ahmad, Secretary Information of the Petroleum Dealers Association. It shifted the entire load to Pakistan State Oil (PSO), which was slowly sinking into its financial woes.
Of late, smaller OMCs came under official scrutiny for their behaviour and completely stopped imports. Right now, the market is short half of supplies for the last two weeks. But, the situation was kept under control by the companies as they diverted supplies to the main cities, letting the rural side bear the brunt.
Monday madness was the result of a few factors, says Ch. Muhammad Saddiq, a petroleum dealer. They included a national power breakdown causing the shutdown of the majority of pumps and long queues on the rest of them.
Over 12 hours breakdown multiplying demand for diesel for the day, and drying up many stations. Finally, exposing the underlying shortages that had gripped the stations for the last two weeks. All of them contributed to Monday’s mayhem, Mr Saddiq told Dawn.
Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2023