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Monday August 08, 2022

Energy crisis feared in July as gas supplier defaults again

Dr Mudsadik Masood Malik said that ENI with which PLL has a 15-year agreement is now defaulting on alternate months "warranting required action

June 25, 2022
Representational image. Photo: The News/File
Representational image. Photo: The News/File

ISLAMABAD: After getting a muted response from bidders to purchase spot LNG in three attempts except for one bid at $39.8 per MMBTU for July, Pakistan LNG Limited (PLL) has received another blow as Italy-based LNG trading company ENI once again backed out of its term cargo, scheduled for delivery on July 8, 2021.

"The ENI also defaulted in May 2022 and has done that again for July's supply at a time when Pakistan LNG Limited (PLL) has failed to acquire four cargoes from the spot international market,” senior officials of the Energy Ministry told The News.

On the other hand, the ENI spokesperson also confirmed this development to The News. “All the disruptions in LNG delivery suffered by ENI have been caused by the LNG supplier who didn’t fulfil the agreed obligations. ENI did not take advantage or benefit in any way from these defaults and applied all contractual provisions to manage such disruptions.”

Federal State Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Mudsadik Masood Malik said that ENI with which PLL has a 15-year agreement is now defaulting on alternate months "warranting required action." He said across the world, LNG is not available through spot procurement as every LNG molecule has been committed to Europe.

When asked if the government was going to purchase one spot cargo for which the PLL had received a bid at $39.8 per MMBTU, the minister said it was too expensive and was no longer feasible. He further responded that the government was now left with the only option to import coal and furnace oil for power generation in July.

According to top sources, the backing out by the ENI has left the authorities at the Energy Ministry in the lurch, wondering on how to cope with the ongoing electricity crisis, which will now aggravate in July owing to the non-availability of RLNG of 400 mmcfd in the system.

Managing Director Pakistan State Oil, however, told The News PSO has managed five furnace oil and two LSFO (Low Sulfur Fuel Oil ) cargoes and there was no need to worry about the power generation in July. He said that PSO will import five LNG cargoes from Qatar at 13.375 per cent of the Brent under the 15-year GtG agreement and three cargoes at 10.2 per cent of the Brent under the 10-year GtG deal with Qatar.

The Pakistan LNG Limited (PLL) has already moved the London Court of International Arbitration against Singapore-based LNG trading company Gunvor for defaulting seven times in providing term LNG cargoes. Similarly, top officials say that ENI has also emerged as a chronic defaulter. The ENI has committed defaults five and a half times since January 2021, whereas the Singapore-based Gunvor has defaulted 7 times. Under agreements, they said, Pakistan can penalize 30 per cent of the term cargo’s cost at the maximum in case of default.

The PLL is working for a long time without a regular MD. According to sources, the acting MD Masood Nabi is mostly travelling abroad after his name was removed from the ECL (Exit Control List) instead of serving at the PLL. Nabi was put on the ECL when he was a senior official in OGDCL in 2019 by NAB along with the-then OGDCL chairman Zahid Muzaffar and ex-MD of the entity Muhammad Rafi for alleged involvement in illegal appointments at the executive level. They were also accused of allegedly misappropriating Rs410.514 million. The reporter sent him questions on his WhatsApp account, but he refused to comment.

According to sources, the PLL is not allocating its under-utilized capacity to the private sector and importing the LNG to cater to the needs of the private sector. Likewise, it also does not allow the LNG terminal-2's operator to utilize the excess capacity of the terminal to import 150 mmcfd more gas.

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