Apropos Petroleum Division’s statement issued on July 22, 2020, it is clarified as follows: the letter of Ministry of Energy, Petroleum Division dated March 25, 2020 states “- – all OMCs are requested to cancel their planned imports (April 2020 onwards)- – “. This was a clear directive given in the light of inventory issues which are also stated in said letter. And yet the decision was taken back a fortnight later, i.e. mid April. There was obviously a disruption in the chain due to the facts stated in our Report launched on Tuesday (July 21). (The report can be accessed here).
The increased sales did not take place till the first week of June. The sailing time from the Gulf is not the issue but cancellations/deferments of cargoes which cannot be reversed at the snap of one’s fingers. Stating 3-4 days sailing time has no relevance.
There WAS also a breakdown in supplies due to intercity transport having been impacted due to the lockdown. Petrol is transported only by tankers as the cross-country pipeline is still not on dual fuel. Petrol volumes could not therefore have been made up via pipeline.
The run on the petrol pumps DID take place during the first fortnight of June 2020. The abnormal sales volumes have been recognized in the Petroleum Division’s rejoinder. Therefore, presenting facts in a manner that states ‘nothing went wrong’ is totally incorrect.
IPI stands by its submissions as fully covered in the complete Report.
Dr Ilyas Fazil
Distinguished Fellow IPI