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Thursday June 20, 2024

Country’s gas transmission system in danger zone

A senior official said pressure in gas transmission system remained at manageable level of 4.570-4.97bcf between May 5 and May 25

By Khalid Mustafa
May 27, 2024
Representational image of flames and a gas stove. — AFP/File
Representational image of flames and a gas stove. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The country’s gas transmission and distribution system has landed in the danger zone, as the line pack has swelled again to danger mark of 5.13 billion cubic feet (bcf) after May 5.

A senior official told The News the pressure in the gas transmission system remained at manageable level of 4.570-4.97bcf between May 5 and May 25.

“Now, the gas system has come again under duress on May 25-26 mainly because of reduction in the use of RLNG by the power sector,” he said. Over the 5bcf gas pressure mark, the gas transmission system becomes more vulnerable and the pipeline can burst anytime, he said.

“The authorities have started reducing gas flows from local gas fields into the SNGPL system to reduce the line pack pressure,” he said. This reduction in gas flow from local gas fields poses significant risks to maintaining current local gas production level.

The exploration and production companies have time and again cautioned the authorities the practice of decreasing local gas flows to safeguard the gas transmission system was perilous, he said.

Sometimes, wells nearing depletion are compelled to reduce natural gas flows, causing irreparable damage, and they cannot recharge to their original flow levels, he noted. They require capital-intensive investment through artificial lift methods to resume production, he said.

According to the data as of May 26 (Sunday), the line pack pressure stood at 5.13bcf as compared to 5.17 recorded on Saturday. The local Exploration and Production (E&P) companies have reduced gas flows by 176mmcf from 783 to 605mmcf, which is dangerous for operation of gas fields.

The powers sector has reduced the RLNG use to just 475mmcf as fuel for electricity generation owing to which the line pack pressure has increased to 1.530bcf, putting the gas transmission system under duress.

Consumption in the fertilizer sector stands at 52 mmcf as compared to Saturday’s consumption of 40mmcf with low RLNG consumption (24mmcf) by Fatima Fertiliser due to start up of their plant at 1900 hrs on May 24 after completion of their Annual Turn Around (ATA).

The current RLNG consumption rate is 32 mmcfd. The system gas consumption by Engro Fertilizer was suspended at 2200 hrs on April 22 due to start-up of Annual Turn Around of their plant for about 54 days. The data warns extreme high-pressure condition prevails throughout the transmission network due to reduced offtake of RLNG by the power sector.