Thursday December 02, 2021

Gas load management plan: Govt decides to curtail gas supply to RLNG-based power plants

December 07, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to curtail the quota of imported gas to RLNG based power plants from 350 mmcfd to 240 mmcfd to provide the maximum gas supply to domestic consumers during the months of December 2020 and January 2021, top official sources of the Petroleum Division told The News.

However, under the gas load management plan, domestic consumers and export sector will remain the top priority with regard to availability of gas. However, the CNG sector will be the first one to be closed down during the peak times of winter and in case of further extreme weather, the situation somewhere in January, the government will not waste time in even closing down the RLNG supply once a week to the export industry.

However, the APTMA says that the government should not even think of closing the RLNG supply to export industry as the country has attained a momentum in picking up exports for which the industry has worked hard to revive international confidence and reliability in the prevailing pandemic situation, touching the highest-ever $2.15 billion exports in November.

The APTMA says the export-oriented industry should be given priority in the RLNG supply without any curtailment as the recent trend of exports cannot be compromised at any cost. The solution is in economic policy, not forced curtailment, as agreed electricity price should be brought down to 7.5 cents immediately, which can save 100 mmcfd gas, which can be diverted to domestic consumers.

If electricity price is brought down to 6 cents for three months, the government can divert 300 mmcfd gas to domestic consumers. The APTMA also asked that the textile policy approved by the prime minister should be notified for industry to take up investments at an even higher pace.

The top official suggested instead of the RLNG based power plants, imported coal based power plants for electricity generation should be encouraged. This is how the RLNG will be saved to some extent and in return the country will have cheaper electricity.

The cost of electricity generated by power plants based on imported coal stands at Rs6.5 per unit, whereas the cost of electric power by RLNG based power plants stands at Rs7.5 per unit. And in the economic dispatch order, power plants based on imported coal are ranked higher if compared with the RLNG based power plants.

The government will also stop the RLNG supply to the Captive Power Plants (CPPs) installed by general industry but connected with the national electric power grid. In case, it has to cut off the supply to CPPs for export industry, the government will in return has to provide electricity to the export industry at Rs7.5 cents per unit.

However, this will not be applicable for general industry and it has to rely on the industrial electricity package, which has been approved by ECC and NEPRA. Under the industrial package, the power tariff on incremental use of electricity has been set at Rs12.95 per unit and more importantly peak hours’ tariff has also been done away with.

Mentioning about the captive power plants of export industry, the official sources said that in case of closure of CPPs, the government will have to provide 850MW at Rs7.5 cents per unit with an impact of Rs1 billion per month.

“More importantly, the Petroleum Division is also working to ensure additional local gas of 65 mmcfd and to this effect, the gas supply of 50 mmcfd being supplied by Mari Gas Company to Guddu Power Plant will be diverted to the domestic sector in the month of January 2021, and 15 mmcfd will be ensured after maintenance of some gas wells in the jurisdiction for Sui Northern Gas Private Limited (SNGPL). And some 90 mmcfd gas will also be arranged by the end of current December through the maintenance of some wells and new gas fields in the vicinity of Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC),” the sources further said. In addition, the government, has decided to utilize with full capacity in the month of January, both the LNG terminals; the first one owned by Engro and other one by Pakistan Gas Port Company. The first LNG terminal will be operated to regasify LNG of 650 mmcfd and second terminal 690 mmcfd, enabling the country to have the RLNG intake of 1.340 bcfd.