Wednesday December 06, 2023

Sui Northern may start gas load management

April 07, 2020

ISLAMABAD: In a rare development, with the advent of the summer season in the country in general and in Punjab and Sindh in particular, for the first time, masses may face gas load management from today (Tuesday) as the country is facing a shortfall of 250 mmcfd (million cubic feet per day) gas because of partial closure of Nashpa and MOL’s associated oil fields. Both the oil fields are functional but at its minimum capacity as refineries are not lifting crude oil from the said oil fields.

With no uplifting of crude oil by the refineries, the supplies of by-products of local gas and LPG have also squeezed by 250 mmcfd as both the fields have the capacity to produce 450 mmcfd. This has forced the Sui Northern to go for load management as directed by the Petroleum Division.

The decision was taken in a meeting held here on Monday in the Petroleum Division on gas shortfall because of partial closure of Nashpa and MOL’s associated oilfields, a senior official who was part of the meeting told The News.

The two refineries are closed down and the Attock Refinery Limited (ARL), the official said, is running at its lowest capacity as it has already closed down its biggest plant and Pak-Arab Refinery Company (PARCO) is also running at its minimum capacity. The massive decline in demand of POL products in the wake of ongoing countrywide lockdown has forced refineries such as Pakistan National Refinery (PNR) and BYCO to close down their operations and more importantly oil marketing companies have not yet started lifting the POL products of local refineries. "Given the situation, refineries are unable to use the local crude oil as OMCs are not lifting their products."

However, the Sui Northern has also been asked, according to the official, to inject the costly imported product of RLNG of 150 mmcfd into the domestic sector. The said gas company has already not recovered the huge amount of Rs73 billion from the domestic sector for the RLNG injected into the winter season 2019-20 and 2019-2020. Now even in the summer season that has set in, the said gas company has been asked to continue to inject 150-200 mmcf gas daily into the domestic sector against the shortfall of 250 mmcfd. The shortfall has exposed the masses to gas load management. This means in some areas there will be gas loadshedding or the pressure of gas will be decreased in some hours of the day and night.

Currently, the power sector is using RLNG of 400 mmcfd and the demand stands at 670 mmcfd per day, but the government is catering to the demands of the domestic sector requirements from RLNG, which is much costly and due to non recovery of RLNG dues, the circular debt has increased to over Rs100 billion in the head of RLNG alone. If the situation continues unabated, then the day is not far when the gas companies will go bankrupt.