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Pakistan State Oil 'on its knees', more blackouts threatened

Published on Feb 21, 2013 7:40 PM

ISLAMABAD (REUTERS) - Pakistan State Oil may default on payments due this month unless state-run companies at least partially pay for their oil, a spokeswoman said on Thursday, putting energy supply at risk and threatening increased blackouts ahead of key elections.

The country's largest energy company said last week it would be dramatically cutting back on the amount of oil companies can buy on credit, an action that would worsen already daily power cuts.

The power shortages have sparked violent protests and crippled key industries, costing hundreds of thousands of jobs in a country already beset by high unemployment, poverty and a Taliban insurgency.

Pakistan State Oil is owed US$1.5 billion (S$ 1.8 billion), mostly by the government electricity companies but also by the state airline and railways. It owes suppliers US$1.23 billion.

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