KARACHI: Petroleum, oil and lubricants (POL) sales clocked in at 2.43 million tons in May 2017, up by 10 percent on monthly basis. Cumulatively, the sales volume in eleven months of the fiscal year portrayed a growth of 11 percent to 23.38 million tons. Oil marketing companies (OMC) posted sales growth of around 2.0 percent in May 2017, lower than expectations due to fall in diesel sales, an analyst at Topline Securities said. “Since Dec 2016, petrol and diesel prices have surged by around 10 percent that have slowed down sales growth of OMCs. Furthermore, slow down in FO sales is also containing the OMCs sales growth as new power plants are based on coal.” Furnace Oil (FO) displayed the biggest jump of 14 percent to 0.86 million tons in May 2017, among major products. Growth in FO sales can be attributable to seasonal surge due to arrival of summer season. With lower reliance on hydroelectric generation in the beginning of summer season, independent power producers (IPPs) improved their utilization of FO, thereby supporting oil marketing companies offtake. “We do accentuate that PSO supplied majority of the total FO off take in May 2017, most of it to IPPs, resulting in greater exposure to the circular debt,” Waleed Rahmani said in a report issued by Arif Habib Limited. On the other hand, total off-take of instant cash generating products i.e. motor gasoline (Mogas) and high speed diesel (HSD) recorded growth rates of 8.0 percent and 9.0 percent MoM, respectively. With no change in retail prices during May, the upturn in these products is also attributable to commencement of summer season. Hascol Petroleum (HASCOL) reported sales growth of 51 percent in May 2017 supported by expanding branch network and storage capacity. HASCOL’s market share has improved to 10 percent in May 2017 compared with 7.0 percent in the same period last year. Pakistan State Oil (PSO) on the other hand saw decline of 10 percent in its sales growth due to lower HSD and FO sales. This will take PSO’s market share to 54 percent in May 2017 as against 61 percent in May 2016. Government has reduced petrol and diesel prices by around 1.6 percent for the month of June 2017, which could support sales going ahead.