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Pakistan resuming oil imports as demand picks up

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By Syed Raza Hassan

KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistan will allow the resumption of oil imports as it eases some coronavirus lockdown restrictions and as farmers start wheat harvesting, the energy ministry said.

The ministry last month asked fuel retailers and refiners to cancel crude oil and oil product imports from April due to weak demand.

“High consumption of petroleum products have been witnessed since April 1, due to the start of harvesting season across the country. To meet the rising demand refineries may import crude oil as per their requirement,” the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) said in a notification released late Saturday.

Pakistan has announced the reopening of some industries in phases beginning with construction and allied industries while its lockdown is currently set to run until May 9.

Byco Petroleum Pakistan Ltd's 155,000 barrel per day (bpd) refinery and National Refinery Ltd's 64,000 bpd plant stopped operations last month.

The Attock Refinery also partially shut down its main plant but kept two small units operational.

Byco had already resumed operations earlier in the month.

Pakistan, the world’s second most populous Muslim country after Indonesia, has reported more than 12,723 cases of the coronavirus, including 269 deaths. Both the government and experts say the peak for infections is expected to hit in May.

(Reporting by Syed Raza Hassan; editing by Jason Neely)

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