Oil import to Pakistan is increasing with rapid pace. In first six months of 2011 Oil Import bill of Pakistan increased with fast speed. Pakistan has estimated the import of oil would increase by up to 28 per cent during next financial year, resulting in total oil import bill of more than $14.06 billion the single largest burden on foreign exchange reserves. Official data suggest that crude oil would have the biggest share in total imports, consuming about $5.55 billion next year as crude quantities are anticipated to rise by 27 per cent to 63 million barrels. During the current fiscal year, crude import bill stood at $5.1 billion although its quantities fell of short of budgeted target by a wide 25 per cent.
Another major chunk of $4.5 billion would be spent on import of furnace oil whose consumptions has been estimated to go up by about 24 per cent next year due to higher reliance on thermal power production to reduce electricity deficit. The furnace oil import for the next year has been estimated at 8.3 million tons against 6.7 million tons imports this year.
In June last year, the gov ernment had estimated furnace oil imports of 9 million tons at a cost of $3.4 billion based on international crude oil price of $80 per barrel and on expected completion of rental power projects during the current year. However, most of the rental power projects did not materialise as planned and Pakistan State Oil reduced furnace oil imports in the wake of ballooning circular debt and rising international prices that touched $120 per barrel. Even then the import cost of furnace oil stood at about $4.1 billion.
The overall import cost of oil products is, on the other hand, anticipated to slightly come down to $8.5 billion next year despite a 13 per cent surge in consumption, on the hope that crude prices would average $88 per barrel. The import of high speed diesel is expected to drop by about 16 per cent to $2.73 billion from $3.2 billion during current year mainly because of an expected drop in international prices.
For the current year, the government had estimated HSD import of 4 million tons at $2.3 billion but its imports were also slowed down by the oil companies because of circular debt and rising international prices. Thus, the HSD import was contained at 3.6 million tons but its import bill surged by a massive 39 per cent to $3.2 billion.
The government has estimated the furnace oil requirement would increase from current 10 million tons to 11.4 million tons next year and reach 12 million tons in 2014-15. The current HSD consumption at 7.2 million tons is also expected to reach 7.4 million tons next year and then cross 8.1 million tons in 2014-15. Likewise, the overall oil consumption that currently stands at 21.3 million tons would increase to 23.14 million tons next and reach 25 million tons in 2014-15. The official said the oil consumption has although declined in the recent years due to poor economic performance, still it accounts for over 31 per cent of the total energy consumption. (Source :www.dawn.com.pk)