ISLAMABAD: The country’s oil supplies are facing serious disruption due to pipeline and port congestion, forcing oil companies to go against standard operating procedures amid acute storage constraints.

Consequently, stocks of the two main petroleum products — motor gasoline and high-speed diesel — are short of the mandatory strategic levels, at a time when the country’s borders are in a state of heightened tension, sources told Dawn.

Sources said the Ministry of Defence had repeatedly called on the quarters concerned to increase supplies for strategic reserves. But both the government and the oil industry have repeatedly asked the ministry to speed up clearance of requests for construction of additional storage capacity.

A total of 51 applications from six oil marketing companies (OMCs) who want to build storage depots in various parts of the country have been pending with the ministry. “If all the no-objection certificates (NOCs) are issued today, it will take at least a year to clear the storage capacity backlog. This is a very serious issue in terms of energy security,” a former petroleum secretary told Dawn.

A government official said the petroleum ministry had been asking the defence ministry to formulate a time-bound mechanism for granting the NOCs to marketing companies to build new storage facilities.