ISLAMABAD: Clarifying some “misconceptions” regarding the availability and consumption of furnace oil (FO) in the country, Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar said on Sunday that Pakistan was “well-stocked” to meet winter energy needs. In a tweet, the minister said that “in summers Pakistan faced a moderate shortage of furnace oil as the FO [based] power plants ran more than last year [as per merit order] due to low water levels in dams”. He said that FO consumption was 116 percent higher. “Now the FO plants are running because of lowering flows from dams (canals closure) and in a couple of days will be consuming 13,000 tonnes/day of FO,” he said, adding that the country was well-stocked on FO in case of further LNG defaults. The minister informed the public that “a new refinery policy is being finalised to shift refineries away from [the] production of FO.” It is worth mentioning here that on Friday, Hammad stated that the gas reserves in Pakistan were declining, but the government was making efforts to meet the shortfall of gas. “We can supply only as much as coming out of the ground,” he said, adding that Pakistan’s gas reserves were declining by 9 percent on an annual basis. Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the energy minister also said that the demand for gas from domestic consumers increases in the winter and the government stops its supply to the industrial sector to meet this domestic demand. “We cannot provide cheaper gas beyond a certain limit,” he added. Gas crisis Industrialists have voiced fear that the ongoing gas crisis will deal a lethal blow to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth, bring down export orders and increase the cost of production for the business community. In a statement on Thursday, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) President Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo stated that the failure of the government to provide gas to the industry would result in mammoth losses to the country as well as the business community.