Govt mulls shutting all but two oil refineries

By Adnan Rafique

ISLAMABAD: Following a reduction in production by oil and gas exploration companies, the government is mulling over a plan to operate only two refineries ‘“ Attock Refinery Limited (ARL) and Pak-Arab Refinery Limited (Parco) ‘“ while shutting down the other three refineries for a couple of months. The move is being considered following a slump in demand for petroleum products in the wake of coronavirus-induced lockdown in most parts of the country.
Parco uses imported and locally produced crude oil whereas ARL mainly operates with local crude oil. The demand slump has already led to the closure of National Refinery Limited (NRL) and Byco Petroleum. ARL has also shut down its main unit, which has resulted in a sharp decline in crude oil, gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) production by exploration companies.
Sources stated that the Petroleum Division had prepared a summary to seek approval of the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCOE) in an upcoming meeting, likely to be held on Thursday. Under the proposed plan, ARL and Parco would continue their operations whereas the other three refineries ‘“ Byco, Pakistan Refinery Limited (PRL) and NRL ‘“ would be shut down for two to three months. In this regard, a summary has been prepared for the approval of CCOE.