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October 21, 2020

Sindh grants ROW for Karachi-Lahore gas pipeline


October 21, 2020

KARACHI: Sindh government has approved the right-of-way for Islamabad to build the mega gas pipeline spanning from Karachi to Lahore, a minister said on Tuesday, after the province was blamed for energy shortfall in the Punjab.

“We have already issued a right-of-way in writing on October 8 to SSGC (Sui Southern Gas Pipeline) for the pipeline,” Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh, the provincial energy minister said.

Shaikh told media that the permission was granted immediately after the federal government approached the province.

However, the minister lamented over compulsion for liquefied natural gas (LNG) import.

“Sindh produces gas more than its need. Instead of giving us the constitutional right to use our resources, we are forced to procure costly RLNG,” he said. “It’s sheer injustice with the province.”

Last month, Islamabad snubbed Sindh for dragging feet on right-of-way approval to lay over 1,100 kilometres new gas pipeline from southern to northern regions of the country to supply re-gasified liquefied natural gas. The project is estimated to cost $1 to 2 billion.

Acquisition of the provincial land admeasuring four kilometre pipeline of SSGC in village Ghazhar and 600 meters in village Pipri is a longstanding issue.

Now, the provincial government directed Malir district “to allow SSGC to carry out physical laying of the pipeline and ensure that SSGC team and contractor are not stopped or hindered in any manner from carrying out this construction,” said an official letter seen by The News.

The revenue department team completed the site’s survey last month. Previously, it was decided that SSGC would furnish an undertaking for payment of all costs determined by the government of Sindh and subject to that the provincial energy department will direct the relevant commissioner of the district to allow / not hamper ground work of laying the pipeline since the work is in public interest, said the letter.

“The acquisition process and compensation will be completed by the Board of Revenue,” it said.

In January 2015, the then government approved the north-south gas pipeline project to improve capacity of the existing gas infrastructure to transport an additional large volume of gas supplies.

The government is expected to start the project after the apex court directed businesses in August to pay off outstanding gas infrastructure development cess (GIDC) that is over Rs400 billion.

GIDC was levied in 2011 by the then federal government. Its objective was to collect funds for different energy projects, including Iran-Pakistan and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipelines, liquefied natural gas import and liquefied petroleum gas supply enhancement projects.

Sui Northern Gas Pipelines that feeds Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Kashmir is expected to face 300-350 million cubic feet / day (mmcfd) in peak winter season. SSGC will also face 250-400 mmcfd of gas shortage.