Minister blames Sindh for imminent gas shortfall

September 25, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan on Thursday slammed Sindh government for dragging feet on right-of-way approval to lay a new gas pipeline for re-gasified liquefied natural gas .Khan...

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ISLAMABAD: Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan on Thursday slammed Sindh government for dragging feet on right-of-way approval to lay a new gas pipeline for re-gasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG).

Khan accused Sindh government for an imminent worsening gas crisis in Karachi.

“No cooperation of Sindh government with the centre is causing shortage of gas in Karachi,” he said, while addressing a press conference along with special assistant to Prime Minister on Petroleum Nadeem Babar.

The minister said Sindh government is responsible for gas crisis. A gas conference was held at the Prime Minister office following recommendation of the Council of Common Interests to build consensus on weighted average gas prices. The price has not been decided, and circular debt in gas sector only has swelled to Rs250 billion. Now, the matter has gone beyond article 158 of the constitution that gives right to the gas producing provinces to use its local gas first, he said. The energy minister said member of National Electric Power Regulatory Authority from Sindh played a key role in reducing fine imposed on K-Electric. Babar warned that there would be shortage of 250-400 mmcfd gas on the system of Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) that would affect all sectors, including industrial and domestic consumers.

“There will be no option other than rationing of gas for different sectors in Karachi,” he said. “Domestic sector will be given priority in providing gas during cooking hours three times a day.”

Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL) that feeds Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Kashmir would also face 300-350 mmcfd in peak winter season and therefore there would be no possibility of diverting liquefied natural gas to SSGCL system, he said.

“If Sindh cooperates in giving right of way to build gas pipeline (from Port Qasim), the centre would have completed the pipeline by end of this December,” Babar said.

Two LNG terminals were handling 1.2 billion cubic feet/day (bcfd) LNG that would be enhanced to 1.3 bcfd gas after completion of pipeline. However, Sindh province is not ready to consume LNG. He said weighted average gas price is only option.

PM aide said previous government had not awarded a single block during five years and its impact would continue reflecting during coming three years.

“We conducted auction of ten blocks and now planned to announce auction of 20 blocks in first week of October,” he said. “Annual depletion of raw gas was nine percent and it has come down to six percent after induction of new discovery of gas.”

Babar said 26 discoveries of gas were made during the last 24 months to add 250 mmcfd in the system.

About gas infrastructure development cess (GIDC), Babar said four parties including All Pakistan Textile Mills Association, compressed natural gas stations and fertiliser companies filed a review petition in the Supreme Court. Textile mills obtained stay order from the Lahore High Court on calculation of GIDC. SNGPL and SSGC included amount of GIDC in bills of September for recovery in 24 installments, he said.



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