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Govt fail to ensure 8-hour smooth supply of gas during winter

ISLAMABAD: The federal government cannot ensure smooth supply of eight-hour gas during cooking hours in the coming winters to domestic consumers of both gas companies – Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL) and Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) as $37 per mmbtu subsidy is required.

Captain Muhammad Mahmood (retired), Additional Secretary (Incharge) for the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) apprised a parliamentary panel on Thursday that the government or gas companies had no finance to heavily subsidise the domestic gas consumers. “We can’t supply gas at $3 per mmbtu against a current purchase of $40 per mmbtu,” the secretary said.

Responding to a question, he said the gas loadshedding in Sindh was a result of gas distribution between industry and domestic. Unlike KP, where 80 percent gas was supplied to domestic consumers, he said, in Sindh, 60 percent gas was supplied to industries and the rest to domestic and other sectors.

Earlier, Managing Director (MD) SSGC Imran Maniar apprised the committee that Sindh was producing 740 mmcfd and 110 mmcfd was being supplied from Balochistan.

He said there would be no gas in the coming winter as indigenous gas reserves were depleting at 10 percent each year and in 10 years, reliance on imported gas would be 100 percent.

He said it was expected that in three to four years, the prices of LNG globally would come down and the government would be able to complete the proposed new LNG terminals.

In the oil and gas exploration, new companies were not showing interest due to the high security cost and ongoing unstable political condition in the country. “The investors are waiting as they would not invest when new general election will be held next year,” he said.

He further said that the proposed import of gas from Russia or Iran was not possible due to sanctions.

Responding to a question, the secretary said that storage of gas in the country was expensive and that facility was not available in developed countries, however, Germany and England started working on gas storage facilities under prevailing gas crises.

Director General (DG) PC, Petroleum Division Kashif Ahmed said that draft of new Pakistan Upstream Regulatory Authority was approved in the previous government to separate policy from regulation.

However, provinces did not agree with some of the clauses of the proposed regulatory authority. He said the authority would have one vice chairman and four members from four provinces. “After getting approval from the competent forum, it will take three to four years for the establishment of the regulator for the upstream sector,” he added.