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January 2, 2019

ECC approves 25mmcfd gas supply to SNGPL

Business

January 2, 2019

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: The Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet (ECC) on Tuesday approved an additional 25 million metric cubic feet/day (mmcfd) for Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) to keep feedstock supply to fertiliser plants intact.

The ECC took the decision during a meeting presided over by Finance Minister Asad Umar, according to an official statement.

The meeting approved a proposal of ministry of energy (petroleum division) for supply of up to 25mmcfd additional gas from Adhi gas field in the Pothwar region to SNGPL to meet the existing gas demand on the system.

The ECC reviewed the demand and supply situation of urea in the country. The committee directed the ministry of industries and production to chalk out a plan for continuous and smooth operation of urea plants in the country throughout the year.

“The exercise would help ensure availability of sufficient stocks of the fertiliser to meet demand of the farmers’ community,” the statement added.

Sources told this scribe that the committee took serious notice of abrupt suspension of gas supply to urea plants amid peak fertiliser demand.

The meeting observed that the plan was approved in October to run urea manufacturing plants on 100 percent re-gasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG) during December and January. The officials were asked why LNG was not imported as per the supply and demand situation. Minister Umar asked the officials to take care of needs of farmers’ community.

“The government would not leave anyone to exploit farmers,” a source, privy to the meeting, quoted the minister as saying.

The finance minister also asked provincial chief secretaries and provincial agriculture departments to take ‘strict’ actions against urea hoarders and take measures to ensure urea availability at set price.

The ministry of petroleum proposed the other day to divert gas from fertiliser plants to other sectors. SNGPL issued notices to urea factories about gas supply’s suspension.

ECC also discussed a proposal of ministry of energy (petroleum division) for fuel supply agreement between Pakistan State Oil and State Oil Company of Azerbaijan.

The committee advised the ministry of energy to carry out further consultations with stakeholders, including ministry of commerce and Public Procurement Regulatory Authority before a final decision. The Ministry of National Food Security and Research submitted an update to the committee on export of public sector’s surplus wheat/wheat products.

The ECC, while considering the proposal regarding provision of funds for personnel related dues in the Pakistan Machine Tool Factory (PMTF), directed the ministry of industries and production to share with the committee a strategy to revitalise the company.

“The institution (PMTF) has done great service for the engineering sector and has the potential to effectively carry on this role, for which it needs to be strengthened,” the statement added.

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