Mar 31 - Apr 06, 2008

Marketing of oil remains a difficult job in a country with 160 million people who speak different languages, have different cultures and live in different terrains. In the setting of extreme climatic conditions and utmost difficult terrains, Pakistan State Oil (PSO) is delivering oil products to the farthest corners of Pakistan for last 31 years.

To maintain and consolidate leadership role in marketing, PSO management took a number of bold initiatives by introducing innovative and technology driven products and services for its customers. With ever-increasing stiff competition, PSO took the lead not only through its superior fuel products but also by innovative technological advancements, which would not only provide its customers convenience but would also introduce them to a whole new world of automation.

Today, PSO has become a role model of corporate transformation. It is responding to fast changing business environment in Pakistan. New strategies are drawn up and all resources are geared up to offer maximum facilities and comfort to the growing number of consumers. Focus is on increased operating efficiency, high margin products and expansion of new product line and services. Besides innovative marketing strategies, there has been organizational restructuring and the revamping of internal systems that have all led to improved productivity.


At the heart of all these efforts and initiatives is New Vision Retail Development programme that brought manifest itself in elegantly designed outlets at strategic locations through out the country. Equipped with most modern facilities like electronic dispensing units, convenience stores, business centres and customer friendly staff, these outlets have gone a long way in establishing customer confidence on PSO. At present the New Vision has been expanded to more than 1,600 outlets.


To further enhance its presence and image, the company has launched a new concept of "Green Stations" to incorporate state-of-the-art technology in New Vision retail outlet network to offer the customers a world-class user-friendly retail environment while fueling their vehicles.


There are now 39 company owned and company operated sites. These sites were set up to offer services to the best of customers' satisfaction. The idea of setting CoCo sites was to make these stations flagships under the maximum supervision and intense scrutiny to maintain the highest level of efficiency, service and customer care. The first such CoCo site was set up in the year 2000.


In July 2002, a novel concept was introduced to reward customers for their loyalty and patronage towards the company through "PSO Loyalty Card". These cards paved the way for other plastic cards that were to follow. As of today, over 150,000 Loyalty Cards have been issued and customers are enjoying the world of benefits and privileges.

After the successful launch of Loyalty Cards, in February 2003 PSO launched its fuel-based credit cards for the business entities, namely "Fleet Card", which are vehicle-specific and bear the vehicle registration number and Company name and the "Corporate Card" which is an individual-specific card that bears the name of the cardholder and the employer.

These cards are secure and convenient alternatives to cash that are configured according to the customers' requirement. To ensure maximum control over fuelling, various checks are available to restrict the transaction to;

* Daily, weekly, monthly or yearly limits in terms of amount or quantity.

* The system has the capability to restrict the card transaction frequency per day. In addition to that the card can be configured to restrict it to only working days, specific days or weekend only.

In order to secure and make foolproof transactions, PSO has invested heavily in the automation of its retail outlets. Pump-Controller Interface for secure electronic transactions was introduced to eliminate manual intervention through Pump-Attendants and automate cards transactions.

These Credit Cards have received an overwhelming response from the corporate world by providing convenience and security for the fuel-based transactions of more than 5,000 leading national and multinational entities which have reposed their trust and confidence and have successfully curtailed their fuel expenditures through this state-of-the-art fuel management solution.

PSO's Cards facility is available at more than 1,400 outlets and growing across the country for its valued customers.

Third in line to be launched were PSO Prepaid Cards in September 2003 with multiple denominations to match the consumption patterns of the individual consumer.


PSO believes in providing its cards customers with value-added services and in that quest it recently re-launched its Fleet Management Solution (FMS) providing the Fleet/HR Manager or cardholder to have online access via website wherein they can monitor their cards transaction details and generate various reports from their desktops. To further provide convenience to customers PSO has started a pull-base SMS service for its cards customer wherein the cardholder can get their last transaction detail, balance inquiry or card status on their mobile phone by sending SMS to 776.


Today, 'PSO' symbolizes more than just fuel that remains its core business. Its corporate vision extends to well beyond the realm of fuel. Company's 'Non Fuel Retail'(NFR) initiatives which include customer-focused developments like 'auto car wash' project namely 'Wash Express', ATMs and 'self service banking centres' as well as the 'quick service restaurants' in addition to its convenience stores called the 'Shop Stop', offer the state-of-the-art NFR facilities in terms of flexibility and convenience to the customers when they visit PSO's forecourt. Additionally, to ensure that the customer continues to perceive 'PSO' as the 'brand of preference', one is not only able to access the 'internet facility' at retail outlets, but can also avail the virtual 24x7 'utility bills payment's 'Sui Southern Gas Company' with which PSO recently entered into a strategic alliance. Under this arrangement, the gas bills are being accepted at designated PSO stations; a unique service wherein PSO ranks as the first non-banking institution to offer such facility to its customers of paying up the gas bills in a hassle-free manner, without having to que up inordinately.

One of PSO's latest strategic alliances aimed at providing an additional dimension of convenience to its customers involves the leading global food-chain, namely Pizza Hut in the quick service restaurants category, the first outlet of which was recently inaugurated in Lahore. Earlier, a number of ATMs and 'self service banking centers' were established at selected PSO Stations, a unique collaboration that was the result of two value-added initiatives featuring PSO's partnership with the leading international banks, namely the 'Standard Chartered Bank' and the 'Saudi Pak Bank' in the 'business center' segment, followed by the most recent joint venture involving one of the leading 'courier service' providers, 'FedEx Express'.


The first half FY 08 results recently announced by PSO showed ever-improving financial fundamentals and unprecedented corporate performance. Overall PSO market share of 70 percent during the first half FY08 is the highest-ever for seven years. PSO sales revenue increased to Rs 248 billion versus Rs 198 billion during the same period last year. After tax earnings for the 1HFY08 were Rs 5.5 billion versus Rs 1.1 billion in the comparative period. In black oil and white oil, PSO half yearly market share stood at 82% and 61% percent respectively. Analysts attribute the strong positive bottom-line of the company primarily on account of higher fuel oil intakes and ever-increasing market participation in key white oil products through innovative and customer-focused approach along with inventory gains.


With retail coverage of over 3,600 outlets, PSO is engaged in import, storage, distribution and marketing of various POL products, including Motor Gasoline, HSD, Fuel Oil, Jet Fuel, Kerosene, LPG, CNG and petrochemicals. The company serves 4.8 million customers on daily basis.

PSO is also leading in providing CNG fuel facilities at its extensive retail network. Earnings from this fuel category are increasing and the future trend seems promising.

Supported by well-established infrastructure built at par with international standards, comprising around 1,000,000 MT storage facilities (representing almost 81% of total storage in the country), PSO retains an edge over its competitors in terms of economies of scale and cost-effective operations.

The company, during the past several years, has also augmented its storage facilities through additional tankage at Zulfiqarabad Oil Terminal, Karachi for Bosicor Refinery. The company also started Terminating Business and entered into hospitality arrangements with Pak-Arab Refinery (PARCO), Attock Refinery and the Water & Power Development Authority (WAPDA).

The company acquired 12% equity investment in Pak Arab Pipeline Company (PAPCO) which constructed 817 kms white oil pipeline from Karachi to Mahmood Kot and is working closely with Attock Refinery to explore possibilities of developing a joint venture white oil pipeline project to complete the missing link of cross-country pipeline network of around 470 km starting from Machike (Lahore) to Tarujabba (Peshawar).

The company's LPG business unit delivers cheap and environment-friendly fuel to low-income households and rural areas. The Agency Trade Network delivers Kerosene, Light Diesel Oil and lubricants to end-users via well established distributors appointed all over Pakistan. Along side its retail business, PSO also caters to the fuel demand of industrial consumers that include power generation, railways, sugar, textile, steel mills, etc. The company has also been meeting the fuel needs for the defence of the nation and maintains prompt supplies to armed forces throughout the length and the breadth of the country."


CSR in the wide sense of the concept is of real importance to PSO. The company has contributed considerably in the fields of education, health, sports, and social sectors and many clinics and schools have been setup in various parts of the country. In the earthquake of 2005, PSO played a major role by moving one of its refueling tankers to Muzaffarabad in Kashmir. This way the relief flights did not have to come to Islamabad for refueling. Besides that the company provided free fuel to EDHI service. In total PSO had over 3,000 flights refueled from the moment the first one landed till the last one.

As we celebrate 60 glorious years of nationhood, PSO will continue to play its role in contributing towards the nation's economic progress and prosperity. As an enabler, PSO will continuously touch as many lives as possible, not only improving the lives of individuals but the progress of the nation.