ISLAMABAD  - Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources is all set to get the margin of oil marketing companies (OMCs) and petroleum dealers deregulated resultantly per liter price of petrol would be different on different filling stations even within a city of the country.

Interestingly, brining stability in the prices of petroleum products (POL) was the part of a laid down policy of ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz). Even, when the PML-N was on opposition benches during outgoing PPP regime then it floated a proposal to bring stability in the oil prices like of neighbouring country (India). However, the ruling party is now making all out efforts to end the mechanism of uniform prices of POL across the country by deregulating the margin of companies and dealers over the sale of petrol in the country.

Well-informed sources aware of the matter informed The Nation that petroleum ministry in line with developed world was all out to get the margin of oil marketing companies (OMCs) and petroleum dealers deregulated over the sale of petrol. And, concerned authorities were drafting the summary after the instruction issued by Minister for Petroleum & Natural Resources Shahid Khaqqan Abbasi in this regard.

Under the current mechanism, government in its bid to save the consumer’s skin from additional price has fixed the OMCs margin on petrol at Rs1.98/liter and the dealer’s margin at Rs2.37/liter.

The sources also told that the OMCs and petroleum dealers have issued strong worded warning to the petroleum ministry and asked to fix the margin at Rs4/liter. If the government fails to increase the margin then OMCs and dealers would go on strike for unlimited period in protest.

Officials at petroleum ministry on the condition of anonymity said that margin of OMCs and dealers would be deregulated after getting the approval of federal cabinet’s economic coordination committee (ECC). They also said that concerned OMCs and dealers would collect the margin over the sale of per liter of petrol on the basis of competition and their presence in the area according to proposed deregulation of margin of OMCs and petroleum dealers.

“If demand of oil of an oil marketing company or dealer goes up then there would be more profit for that company or dealer while in case of low demand, collection of margin from the consumers would be less so that consumers should buy petrol from its filling,” a senior official at petroleum ministry said on the condition not to be named. He also said that the OMCs and dealers under the proposed deregulated margin would be able to change the volume of profit at their sweet will. 

When contacted with energy experts, they said if the ECC gives its approval to the proposed deregulation of margin on petrol then the companies and dealers would be free to collect additional price at their will and petrol consumers would bear the brunt.