No gas for Punjab in winter from 10pm to 5am

ISLAMABAD: The government on Monday dropped a bombshell on domestic consumers of the Punjab province, announcing that there will be no natural gas supply from midnight to early morning to households of the province.

Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, while talking to media persons here after a meeting of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee of Petroleum and Natural Resources, said that gas supply will remain suspended across the Punjab between 10:00pm and 05:00am during winters.

The minister said that after the 18th Amendment, meeting the gas demand of the province had become very much difficult and now from December to February, gas supply to consumers will remain suspended during these specified hours.

Gas loadshedding has already started in the province and this winter, they will face around 40 percent shortage against the demand. He said that despite the import of LNG, domestic consumers will have to face gas shortfall. Due to increased prices of the LNG, it cannot be supplied to household consumers. It is being supplied only to power, industrial and fertiliser sectors.

This winter the province will have to face shortfall of around 1.5 billion cubic feet of gas, an SNGPL official said.Over the past years, demand-supply position of natural gas on SNGPL’s system has deteriorated since the impact of new domestic connections works out to around 80-100 MMCFD annually during the winter months while the reduction in supplies works out to around 160 MMCFD each year. Thus each year, SNGPL faces an additional shortfall of 250 MMCFD.

Earlier, The Inter-State Gas Company Limited (ISGCL) Managing Director Mobin Saulat, while briefing the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources, informed the committee that Gwadar-Nawabshah Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Terminal and Pipeline Project is going to hit the ground in the next two months, as the government is going to sign the commercial contract agreement with China this month. The project will be completed in two years.

The committee met here with MNA Chaudhry Bilal Ahmed Virk in the chair.The terminal has the capacity to handle the import of 500 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) LNG. The LNG pipeline, which will be of 42-inch diameter, will be laid from Gwadar to Nawabshah. The Chinese government would provide 85 percent funds of the project, while Pakistan would contribute 15 percent of funds.

The project comprises laying 700-km pipeline system from Gwadar under government-to-government agreement.He said that as the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline was stagnant due to the United States and the UN sanctions on Iran, so this project will work as an alternative to the IP gas pipeline project and after the completion of Gwadar-Nawabshah pipeline, only about 70-km of pipeline segment between Gwadar and Iranian border would be left, which could be constructed at the cost of $200 million to connect to the border.

Regarding 1,680-km Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, he said that it will be completed by end 2019 and bring gas from Turkmenistan to other three countries.

Under this project of 56-inch, a total 3.2 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of natural gas will be imported from Turkmenistan, out of which share of India and Pakistan will be 1.32 bcfd each and Afghanistan 500 mmcfg.

Pakistan and Russia last year in October had entered into a government-to-government agreement for development of North-South Gas Pipeline Project having capacity of transporting 1.2 bcfd gas from Karachi to Lahore by laying 1,100 km 42-inch pipeline. Its commissioning will be completed by June 2018, he said.

Earlier, Pakistan State Oil (PSO) Managing Director Sheikh Imran Ul Haq, while briefing the committee, said that the financial health of the PSO is improving and informed that the company’s profit was Rs10.2 billion in 2016. He further said that in 2013, PSO imported petroleum products of Rs567 billion.

MD SNGPL Amjad Latif said that there was Rs10 billion gas theft in the region under the SNGPL. The company received 130,560 gas theft cases. Due to a ban on commercial and industrial gas connections, domestic connections have been used for industrial and commercial purposes, he said.

An official of the Sui Southern Gas Pipeline Limited (SSGCL) said that theft cases of Rs2.5 billion been identified in its region. The committee directed the gas companies to print reading of the meters on the bills of industrial and domestic consumers to eliminate the element of corruption or excessive billing.The committee directed the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) not to allow conversion of defaulter CNG stations to LPG till they cleared the dues of utility companies.

Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, MNA Muhammad Arshad Khan Laghari, Rana Afzal Hussain, Rana Afzaal Hussain, Rana Muhammad Ishaq Khan, Abdul Waseem, Sajid Ahmed, Akram Khan Durrani, Ms. Shahjehan Muneer Mangrio, Muhammad Afzal Khokar, Syed Muhammad Saqlain Bukhari, Pir Bux Junejo, secretary M/o P&NR, representatives from provincial energy departments and senior officers of the concerned departments attended the meeting.


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