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September 26, 2020

‘17-kilometre pipeline needed to avert gas shortfall in Karachi’

Business

September 26, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Laying of 17-kilometre pipeline from Port Qasim to SMS Pakland is essential to thwart impending gas shortfall in winters in the city, petroleum division said on Friday.

The pipeline is essential to ensure improved supply to Karachi as the commodity demand will further increase in December and January.

Laying of the pipeline is not an issue because of cost, but the Sindh government is not granting right-of-way from where the pipeline has to cross along, the petroleum division of the ministry of energy said.

“Fresh orders have been issued to the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) to engage with the Sindh government for allotment of right-of-way for construction of 17-kilometre pipeline from Port Qasim,” the petroleum division said in a statement.

“More LNG (liquefied natural gas) cannot be moved from Port Qasim to Pakland, from where the distribution network of SSGC draws its gas.”

Energy minister has also criticised the Sindh government for dragging its feet on right-of-way approval to lay a new gas pipeline for re-gasified liquefied natural gas.

“No cooperation of the Sindh government with the centre is causing shortage of gas in Karachi,” he said, while addressing a press conference on Thursday, along with Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Petroleum Nadeem Babar.

The petroleum division said two LNG terminals are running at their full capacity and the government is making efforts to increase the re-gasification capacity to meet energy needs of the country.

The government expects 250-400 mmcfd of gas shortfall in the SSGC system in the coming winters.

The government auctioned 10 blocks and now planned to announce an auction of 20 blocks in the first week of October. Annual depletion of raw gas came down to six percent after induction of new discovery of gas from nine percent.

Twenty six discoveries of gas were made during the last two years to add 250 mmcfd in the system.

The government has taken steps to encourage the private sector for construction of five LNG terminals.

A gas conference was held at the Prime Minister office following recommendation of the Council of Common Interests to build consensus on weighted average gas prices. The price has not been decided, and therefore circular debt in gas sector only has swelled to Rs250 billion.

Sui Northern Gas Pipelines that feed Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Kashmir would also face 300-350 mmcfd in peak winter season and therefore the government couldn’t divert LNG to the SSGCL system.