Diesel shortage is leading towards delay in harvesting

A shortage of high-speed diesel has forced the farmers to run from pillar to post to get fuel supply for crop harvesting as its unavailability may lead to delay in harvesting. They say retail outlets are selling petrol but they are not offering diesel.

While on the one hand, the COVID-19-fuelled lockdown has turned out to be a blessing in disguise for oil traders who have pocketed billions of rupees, farmers have been hit hard due to huge diesel shortage.

A couple of days ago, Pakistan State Oil (PSO) also warned of diesel shortage due to the manipulation of oil imports by some OMCs. Now, OMCs are tying up diesel supply with petrol in Punjab, which means they are forcing retail outlets to take supplies of petrol and other products if they want high-speed diesel.

Oil industry officials say if the government further relaxes the lockdown after May 9 by allowing public transport, the demand for high-speed diesel will swell further.

However, the Petroleum Division in an earlier statement said there was ample stock of petrol and diesel in the market. There were 285,000 tons of petrol and 350,000 tons of diesel, which were sufficient to meet the domestic requirement for the next 15 days, it said.

Moreover, according to the spokesperson, PSO has instructions from the Ministry of Energy to lift maximum products from the refineries and keep imports at minimum levels.

“However, as per refinery availability and demand pattern, PSO could not have survived the first fortnight of June 2020 without awarding cargoes as it is expected that after Eid holidays, the lockdown is expected to ease and consumption is expected to increase,” he said.

Hence, the spokesperson said, comparing the two tenders of entirely different delivery periods did not have any rationale.

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