The circular debt has ballooned to Rs. 250 billion in the gas sector alone. The Petroleum Minister, Omar Ayub, said this in a joint conference along with Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Petroleum Nadeem Babar.
The minister said that circular debt in the gas sector reached Rs. 250 billion due to the absence of a weighted average price, adding that a gas conference was held in the PM’s office following the recommendation of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) to build consensus on weighted average gas prices.
Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan said that the Federal Government wanted the Right of Way (ROW) for laying a 17-kilometer pipeline at the earliest to meet the gas shortage being faced in the capital of Sindh – Karachi.
Addressing a news conference along with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Petroleum Nadeem Babar, he said that the Federal Government had been requesting the Sindh Government for the last one-and-a-half years to give the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) the ROW for a 30-inch dia pipeline to supply 150 MMCFD Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from Port Qasim to Pakland distribution network, which was still awaited.
We need the ROW at the earliest to ensure an improved supply of gas to Karachi in winter.
Unfortunately, the minister said, there was no significant discovery of gas during the last several years due to failed policies of the previous governments. He said that gas consumption had significantly increased in the country, while the existing gas reservoirs were depleting at a ratio of 7.5 percent annually.
In the given scenario, he said, the government was importing LNG to bridge the gap between demand and supply of the commodity.
Currently, he said, the Sindh province was facing a shortage of 250 Million Cubic Feet per Day (MMCFD), which would be met through the increased import and supply of LNG.
The minister said that the government had always given top priority to the domestic consumers in supplying the gas even during the peak winter season with readjustment in supplies of other sectors. SAPM Nadeem Babar said that last year around 1120-1150 MMCFD gas was being supplied to Sindh during those days, which had declined to 960-70 MMCFD gas.
Since last June, he said, around 100 MMCFD LNG was being supplied to K-Electric and the Federal Government could also provide more LNG to the province for which the 17-km pipeline was needed.
At present, the SAPM said two existing LNG terminals were regasifying around 1200 MMCFD gas that could be taken to 1300-1350 MMCFD to meet the increased commodity demand in winter to some extent.
He said there was no gas shortage in the network of Sui Southern Gas Pipelines Limited as consumer’s requirement was being met through LNG on regular basis, but the consumers in Sindh wanted natural gas.
Nadeem Babar said that the Federal Government is making all-out efforts to increase exploration and production activities in the country, for which a tender for the award of around 20 new oil and gas exploration blocks would be floated in next month.