Wednesday December 01, 2021

Natural gas short supplies multiply energy crisis

July 19, 2021

LAHORE: Much to the dismay of users, the natural gas short supplies has started to intensify energy crisis, triggering low generation of electricity as well as short supply of furnace oil & Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) in the country.

The abrupt stoppage of natural gas supply to industry resulted in heavy losses to processing industry, said representatives of local chamber here Sunday. The major glass manufacturing units and one of the largest dairy processing factories of the country have been hit hard by sudden chocking of energy supplies, inflicting losses of millions of rupees. Whenever gas and other energy sources are cut hastily, manufacturers have to face huge loss of raw material and unfinished products that have been stuck in the pipeline. He lamented that gas utility failed to intimate industry in advance which resulted in leaving the manufacturers high and dry. Two large glass-makers and a dairy giant have been forced to shutdown their operations for want of vital energy supplies. Scores of other factories were also closed as gas supply has been shut by the gas utility with a view to diverting whatever meagre gas is available to run thermal power plants.

Not only this, furnace oil has also become scarce in the market due to high demand in the absence of adequate natural gas and electricity supplies, said a representative of Sheikhupura Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The consequent failure to process fresh milk could result in the loss of millions of litres per day, which may result in adversely affecting milk supply chain too.

A representative of industry said Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd (SNGPL) turned off the gas connection of all the industries without giving them any notice. These days, industry is already braving a shortage of furnace oil. For example, companies like multinational dairy company are suffering a lot as their milk will go stale if the factory is not functional. Also, the two largest glass industries cannot function without electricity and other energy supplies. The second largest cable factory also had to close because of squeezed energy supplies. On the other hand, LPG price also increased which resulted in its short supply also as consumers have to rely more on this fuel in the absence of natural gas. Besides short supplies of gaseous and liquid fuels, gap in demand and supply of electricity has also resulted in longer outages in the country.

Federal Energy Minister Hammad Azhar Sunday only admitted that natural gas supplies are being diverted to power sector for increasing generation. He said some local gas, about 3.75% of the total, is being diverted to the power sector to meet its peak demands. This is a temporary arrangement for a few days.

It may be noted that energy crisis already wreaked havoc on the economy about a couple of weeks ago when gas and power blackouts brought business, commercial, and manufacturing activities to a halt. The totally messed-up energy crisis means severe energy cuts for productive sectors of the economy like industry and transport.