Recognizing the need of the hour, the Federal Government has kickstarted construction work on Pakistan’s first-ever underground gas storage facility.
The gas storage facility, when completed, can store supplies for 11-12 days initially across different points throughout the country.
The move has come in a bid to ensure energy security, one of the biggest challenges facing Pakistan at the moment. The Inter-State Gas System (ISGS) has started work on the giant project to set up gas reserves underground.
A senior official of the Petroleum Division told that the country’s domestic gas production amounted to 3.8-4 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) while its imports constitute 1.1. bcfd in LNG from the total 5.1 bcfd supplied throughout the country. Pakistan currently needs about 6 billion cubic feet per day of gas supplies to fulfill its demands.
By 2020, the Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India Pipeline (TAPI) shall go operational. Once its completed, the country will start receiving gas from Turkmenistan amounting to 1.3 bcfd.
Moreover, LNG becomes cheaper in the open market during summer and goes higher during the winter season.
Keeping in view these statistics, the government has decided to build the gas reserves in order to store gas supplies during summer, when its prices are economical, and then utilize it in winters when its prices soar high in the market.
The stored gas supplies will also be highly useful in case the supply of LNG gets disrupted owing to some uncontrollable factors (e.g due to adverse weather conditions, geopolitical issues, etc). Any such incidence can disturb the country’s industrial activities significantly, and the availability of gas during this time will serve as a huge relief.
The official also stated that the only storage facility for gas currently available in the country is via pipelines. However, these pipelines can also face disruptions from time to time.
Need of the Hour
Just like the oil storage for 20 days were built in Pakistan to ensure the availability of oil in dire situations, the strategic gas reserves are intended to fulfill the same purpose for gas.
The Petroleum Division has also confirmed the news. Sher Afghan, a spokesperson from the Division stated that the Inter-State Gas System is responsible for the construction of strategic gas reserves.
He also stated that many gas fields in Pakistan have undergone depletion. These areas can be used to store the imported gas. He also confirmed that authorities conducted a study few years ago to identify areas suitable for building gas storage units.
Reportedly, the government plans to the utilize Bokhari and Kharewl gas fields as strategic gas storage facilities. The government has even initiated talks with a Russian company named Gazprom in this regard.
The authorities are expecting a delegation of high-ups from Gazprom by the end of this month.