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February 12, 2019

Gas crisis set to aggravate

Top Story

February 12, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The ongoing gas crisis in the country is set to further aggravate from tomorrow as Al-Karna vessel carrying LNG of 140,000 cubic meters has failed to get berthed at the Engro LNG terminal on account of heavy winds and less visibility. The LNG ship is in the deep sea for the last two days as it was supposed to get berthed on Sunday, but the captain has refused to enter the Port Qasim arguing the weather is not appropriate for smooth sailing of the ship.

It is pertinent to mention that on January 17, 18, the low tides at Port Qasim barred the Al-Ghashamiya, the LNG carrier from entering into the port. The captain of the ship had refused to enter the port saying tides were very low. Now the situation is otherwise. Spokesman of Petroleum DivisionAdditional Secretary Sher Afgan said that situation is grave and no one is responsible for the bad weather in the open season.

However, the Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Ghulan Sawrar Khan has been sensitized over the impending surge in gas crisis, he said. The delay in arriving of the ship has compelled the Sui Northern to halt supply of RLNG to LNG-based gas power plants at (Bulloki, Haveli Bahadur Shah and Bhikki), fertilizer, CNG sector and non-zero rated industry, Sui Northern spokesman confirmed.

CEO of Engro LNG terminal, when contacted, also confirmed the development saying LNG ship could not get berthed in the wake of high wind condition in the open sea and it will cause reduction in RLNG flow into the system of the country.

Pakistan State Oil’s top official while confirming the development said that LNG cargo under its umbrella was supposed to get docked at Engro LNG terminal by Sunday, but the winds are too much heavier and bigger not allowing the ship to enter Port Qasim.

He also said that weather is likely to further severe tomorrow and if it is the case then the gas crisis in the country will further worsen. Petroleum Division official also confirmed the development saying: “Yes the situation is serious.’’ The Gas Control Cell of Sui Southern said rate of re-gasification has come down from 660mmcfd to 220 mmcfd from 2 pm today (Monday). “This means will be getting around 600 mmcfd from two terminals (Engro terminal and PGPL terminal)”.

At PGPL terminal also located at Port Qasim, the official said an LNG vessel is due today (Tuesday) and if Pakistan LNG Limited fails to bring the vessel and get berthed at PGPL terminal, then the gas crisis will hit the country most as the re-gasification rate will further tumble to 210 mmcfd from today (Tuesday) onwards.

The official feared saying: “We could end up having re-gasification rates of below today (Tuesday) if both cargoes are not berthed and depending upon how longer unfavourable weather last.

Talking to The News, owner of PGPL terminal, Iqbal Z Ahmad said that a cargo carrying LNG is scheduled to get berthed with the terminal saying let’s see if weather allows the ship to enter the Port Qasim or not.

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