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July 12, 2020

CNG outlets to reopen today as govt arranges fuel oil for power utility

Business

July 12, 2020

KARACHI: The government has allowed compressed natural gas (CNG) stations to resume operation from Sunday (today) following its alternative arrangement of furnace oil to feed the power sector, Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha, central chairman of All Pakistan CNG Association said.

Paracha told The News on Saturday the government previously announced to shut down all CNG stations in Sindh and Punjab for an indefinite period.

“We raised our voice across the power corridor and by the evening secretary petroleum as well as Special Assistant to Prime Minister Nadeem Babar confirmed government’s decision to open fueling stations from Sunday,” he said. “Government has arranged furnace oil to feed the power generators.”

Paracha said the sector was already closed in Sindh for the last two days as the gas was being diverted to K-Electric.

In a letter addressing petroleum pump owners, Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) earlier said CNG stations would be closed from Friday to Sunday (closure of 48 hours) to divert gas to K-Electric. K-Electric is unable to meet city’s demand due to unavailability of sufficient amount of furnace oil for its power plants. Last month, SSGC directed additional 50 million metric cubic feet per day (mmcfd) of gas to K-Electric.

Moreover, gas supply to captive power plants was also announced to remain close for three days, from Friday to Sunday.

A SSGC official said the system was facing a shortfall of 300mmcfd.

Paracha said government ignored reforms in the inefficient power sector and resultantly the circular debt increased to unmanageable levels.

Paracha said the association’s members completed all legal formalities, but still they are unable to import gas for their own use.

“We signed a gas supply agreement with ExxonMobil and Trafigura on September 18, 2019 in the presence of Nadeem Babar and other government functionaries, who assured us that we could bring the first load on December 25, 2019.

It’s been over six months, we are running from pillar to post, but we can’t get a slot at the floating storage re-gasification units (FSRU),” he said.

Paracha said there is a fixed re-gasification capacity and authorities are not allowing private importers to utilise government’s idle capacity, or even the private capacity. “We can’t bring the commodity unless and until a slot is guaranteed at the FSRU.”

Paracha said government should put its house in order before helping private power companies like K-Electric on the cost of other sectors.