Gas attack: Oil marketing companies close their terminal at Kemari

KARACHI: The fuel storage facilities of various oil marketing companies (OMCs) at Kemari were temporary closed on Tuesday evening after their employees complained of exact symptoms experienced by the affectees of mysterious gas.

Over a dozen persons died while hundreds were hospitalized since Sunday evening after a mysterious gas spread in the area.

The spokesperson at Byco Petroleum said that they also had temporarily closed their storage facilities and stopped supplies as a precautionary measure.

The Pakistan State Oil (PSO) spokesperson said PSO had temporarily closed its storage terminals in the Kaemari, Karachi due to health and safety reasons. “The operations on this location will resume as soon as the area is deemed safe for the company’s staff and contractors to operate.”

“There will be as such no impact of this temporary closure on supply of petroleum products within Karachi, and in up country locations. PSO has sufficient stock available, with back-up supply arrangements already in place to ensure an uninterrupted supply of the petroleum products.”

An official at another oil marketing company said that their Kemari storage terminal was temporarily closed, after the workers complained of acute respiratory issues. “There will be no supply issues for the next few days. However, if the situation is not controlled for a longer period of time there could be fuel supply shortages in some areas.”

Shell Pakistan Limited stopped operations at Keamari on Tuesday at around 2:00 pm.  “This was taken as a precautionary measure for the safety of our staff. We are following the news closely and hope to resume normal operations by Wednesday. This will not impact our customers,” Shell spokesperson said.

The Sindh environment protection agency and Pakistan Navy are investigating the cause of the gas leak, however they have not been able to identify the gas or the source of its leak.
An official said that this gas was heavier than air and it was not dissolving in the air.

Suleman Tareen of Oil Tankers Association said that they had picked up the commodity on Tuesday and the oil companies had called them for taking the product delivery on Wednesday. “We have not been apprised of the closure of the terminals. Our vehicles did their business as usual today and they didn’t complain of any health problems.”

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