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December 30, 2018

Industries to remain shut today to overcome gas shortage

Business

December 30, 2018

KARACHI: Industrialists and Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGC) reached an agreement on Saturday to keep industrial units closed today (Sunday) in order to help the utility cope up with the gas shortfall.

Former president Site Association of Industry and Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry Zubair Motiwala told media that business community understands the gas shortfall’s issues explained by the SSGC management.

“We have assured them (SSGC management) of compliance with industrial closure this Sunday so that the supply situation or linepack can further be improved,” Motiwala said after a meeting with SSGC Acting Managing Director Amin Rajput and other officials at the utility’s head office.

The industry veteran was leading a delegation comprising Chairman Pakistan Apparel Forum Jawed Bilwani and other representatives of Sindh Industrial Trading Estate (Site) Association of Industry to discuss the issue of curtailed gas supplies to the industrial units.

The association the other day threatened to observe go-slow on Monday and stage protest at the Governor House on Tuesday against gas shortage at the Site, which is the largest industrial area in the city, accounting for 52 percent of the country’s exports and generating 64 percent of the total tax revenue.

Factories at the industrial area are facing 150 million metric cubic feet/day (mmcfd) of gas shortage. Exporters are losing orders and unable to fulfill their yearend export commitments, which will further weigh down the country’s export. Exports remained flat at $9.119 billion during the July-November period of the current fiscal year of 2018/19 despite rupee devaluation and incentives announced by the government.

Out of the last 45 days, there was extreme low pressure during 33 days and total gas load shedding in 12 days at the Site area. Site industries are losing about Rs2.5 billion each day due to the production slowdown.

The SSGC management told the meeting participants that if the industries ensure 100 percent closure of their units, including a 50 percent curtailment in captive power generation on Sunday, “the line pack situation for the next six days will substantially be improved since the closure will help in saving gas of 50 mmcfd”.

The SSGC management further said the present crisis is temporary and hoped that distribution issues to the industries would soon be resolved provided the industrial units and their associations support the gas company.

The management said load has been enhanced due to increase in domestic demand and massive requirements in Balochistan and other areas due to winter.

“By late next week, industrial customers will be undergoing an annual turnaround that would help in improving supply situation to the industrial units,” a SSGC’s spokesperson said.

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