ISLAMABAD: The government has formally lifted a ban on import of furnace oil to meet peak electricity demand in the country, including Karachi, and asked at least seven oil companies to make arrangements for its import.
The decision was reportedly taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) headed by Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar early this week. The committee had imposed the ban on import of furnace oil in January last year to facilitate local refineries to exhaust their stocks. It was later given a one-time extension in April.
According to a notification issued by the petroleum division on Wednesday, the CCoE had allowed the state-run Pakistan State Oil (PSO) to import around 195,000 tonnes of furnace oil. The import was allowed on a summary moved by the petroleum division on the demand of the power division. A petroleum division official told Dawn that about 260,000 tonnes of furnace oil was already available in the country as of July 1, 2020.
The petroleum division said that under the CCoE decision, the PSO had been allowed import of two firm cargoes and one optional cargo of furnace oil (HSFO) with deficit quantity of up to 65,000 tonnes each on a C&F (cost-and-freight) basis through a gallop tender. It said the committee had also allowed private IPPs (independent power producers) to import furnace oil through the PSO or other OMCs (oil marketing companies) after getting a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the power division, which shall consult with the petroleum division to ensure all local RFO (residual fuel oil) is consumed first keeping in view the demand and supply situation.