Home Global Village Jet fuel is running out fast: Pakistan facing another crisis

Jet fuel is running out fast: Pakistan facing another crisis

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News Analysis |

The oil sector is facing a newfound problem that traces back to lack of planning and mismanagement. The previously clandestine and apparently smooth functioning refineries and oil stockpiles are about to publicly cause havoc with jet fuel shortage.

A reputed publication reported that the oil industry was struggling to meet the demands of the aviation and defence aircrafts. They reported that the defence authorities had corresponded multiple times with letters to the concerned and relevant authorities to keep a close scrutiny on fuel supplies required for the Air Force.

As recently as yesterday, the government started issuing orders to the refineries and marketing companies at product review meetings to ensure supplies they had committed last month.

On a different note, the state-owned Pakistan State Oil (PSO) has issued a warning of fuel constraints at upcountry airports. “Since November 22nd, we have written more than five warnings to the petroleum ministry about imminent dry-outs at airports that could force the Civil Aviation Authority to declare NOTAM – a situation where a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) is issued to alert aircraft pilots of potential hazards along a flight route or at a location that could affect the safety of the flight.”

NOTAMs are unclassified notices or advisories distributed by means of telecommunication that contain information concerning the establishment, conditions or change in any aeronautical facility, service, procedure or hazard, the timely knowledge of which is essential to personnel and systems concerned with flight operations.

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In a recent correspondence, PSO informed the petroleum ministry that refineries were supplying lower than committed aviation fuels. Pakistani aircrafts used JP-1 and JP-8.  JP-1 is used by airlines while JP-8 is mostly utilized by defense aircrafts.

“Parco has indicated that it will supply 16,000 metric tonnes (MT) jet fuel to PSO whereas Attock Refinery Limited 2,000 MT against our demand of 37,000 for the month of December 2017, which is less than 50 per cent,” a letter said, which was received at the Petroleum Division.

Shell is well aware that all refineries have reduced their throughput due to prevailing furnace oil issue in the country resulting in reduced allocation of products including JP-1, among the OMCs,” the order said.

“In this scenario up-country airports i.e. Lahore, Sialkot, Multan, Faisalabad, Islamabad and Peshawar cannot be supplied with the required jet fuel quantities and a dry out is expected at Lahore airport by Dec 8/9, 2017 followed by Islamabad airport by Dec 11/12, 2017,” it said adding that even if PSO planned the import of cargo it will not be available during the month in view of tendering and import cycle.

If the requirements are not met by Parco and ARL, then PSO will be coerced to expand rationing to all the airports in the central and northern region. “CAA will issue NOTAM in this regard, which will be detrimental for [the] country’s image and aviation industry,” PSO said.

The state-run company asked the highest office to instruct Parco to support PSO by allocating 34,000 MT jet fuel to dilute this situation. Additionally, ARL should also be advised to supply 3,000 MT during the running month. The PSO demanded that if refineries are not able to cater to the required quantities, PSO should be told beforehand and in clarity so that alternate arrangements of jet fuel availability through imports” could be made.

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Sources in the PSO told that PSO had also asked the federal government to intervene and ensure to enhance allocation of jet fuel to PSO in aforementioned requisitions to avoid closure of airports due to non-availability of product, which could prove to be a fiasco and an embarrassment to the state.

They reported that the defence authorities had corresponded multiple times with letters to the concerned and relevant authorities to keep a close scrutiny on fuel supplies required for the Air Force.

As recently as yesterday, the government started issuing orders to the refineries and marketing companies at product review meetings to ensure supplies they had committed last month.

“OMCs are responsible to make necessary arrangements to cater their demand either from local availability or through imports. Shell is well aware that all refineries have reduced their throughput due to prevailing furnace oil issue in the country resulting in reduced allocation of products including JP-1, among the OMCs,” the order said.

Accordingly, in order to avoid any untoward situation at Islamabad airport, Shell Pakistan has been asked to take rapid actions for meeting the demands of the airport at the failure of which, the company would be held responsible.

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