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October 18, 2018

Govt alarms domestic consumers of gas shortfall in winter


October 18, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The government on Wednesday alarmed the nation that in winter (December), the country could face natural gas shortage and domestic consumers may face gas supply outage owing to growing demand, Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Ghulam Sarwar Khan said.

Nineteen licenses were issued for oil and gas exploration, but no development has been made on it. Current revenue shortfall of gas utilities including SSGCL and SNGPL stands at Rs150 billion.

The minister said this while addressing as chief guest at one-day Energy Forum 2018 which was attended by experts from oil & gas sector and MD/CEOs of Exploration and Production Companies (E&P). Secretary Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) Mian Asad Hayauddin and other senior officers of the ministry also attended the event.

The minister said that previous governments had put more focus on thermal generation and agreements with IPPs had lack of transparency. He said that National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) are investigating LNG deals due to lack of transparency.

Pakistan is facing energy crisis and our import bill of petroleum products including LNG and LPG is all over $12 billion/ annum. We cannot afford to spend this huge amount on its imports. The government would form short, medium and long terms policies for energy projects.

He further said that since 1960s, no new mega dam was built, adding that Kalabagh dam was a practical project but was politicized. Regarding Bhasha dam, he said that it is still in papers.

CEO Shell Pakistan Haroonur Rashid said that as domestic demand and international price of crude oil is increasing, so this year the import bill of the petroleum products could touch $20 billion mark.

He said that the government should also focus on upgradation and development of pipeline infrastructure which could save up to $100 million. It would benefit the consumers for not getting this amount in their bills, currently it is being passed on to consumers.

He also suggested the government for building oil storages for enhancing stocks, as currently Pakistan had average 20 days of stock. He said that import permit should be linked to access tankage capacity.

At the times, when Pakistan is seeking bailout package from the IMF, if the government work for extending the current 30-day credit line of oil import to 90 days, it would give up to $4 billion deferred payment space.

Chairman Oil and Gas Regulator Authority (Ogra) Uzma Adil said that issues could be resolved by bringing transparency in the projects. On the proposal of merging upstream, midstream and downstream industry, she said that all stakeholders should be taken on board to implement the proposal.

Dr. Saeed Jadoon, ED OGDCL while speaking on the occasion, said that we have no discovery of fuel in Punjab but 90 percent in Balochistan and at some points in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as well. He emphasised the need to enhance exploration activities by three folds in Frontier areas and Balochistan.

MD, Pak-Arab Pipeline Company Ltd. (PAPCO), Shujauddin Ahmed said that Pakistan has over 2000 kilometers of cross country pipeline infrastructure. There is potential requirement for further development of pipelines in Pakistan either of crude oil or fuel pipelines, he added.

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