The federal government has hinted that Sindh might face higher gas shortage than Punjab in the coming winter and blamed the Sindh government for impending problem.
Speaking at a joint news conference, Energy Minister Omar Ayub Khan and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Petroleum Nadeem Babar said circular debt in the gas sector had increased to Rs250 billion.
Mr Babar said the gas shortage in the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) network, which serves Sindh and Balochistan, was anticipated to touch 400 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) which could be contained at 250mmcfd if Sindh issued a right of way (ROW) for an additional gas pipeline.
“There will be no option other than rationing of gas for different sectors in Karachi,” he said, adding that representative delegations of businessmen, including the textile sector, had been sensitised to use their influence in securing ROW for the pipeline. He said the textile sector was getting good orders and the federal government would make every effort to provide them gas. However, he said the domestic sector would be given priority in providing gas during three times cooking hours.
Mr Babar said SSGCL required a 17km pipeline to add about 150mmcfd from LNG terminals to Pakland. He said the company had taken control of a 12km pipeline route on private land while the remaining 5km land belonged to the Sindh government which had been holding back ROW for almost one-and-a-half years.
PM’s aide hints at rationing of gas for different sectors in Karachi
The SAPM said the prime minister, Omar Ayub and he himself had taken up the matter with the Sindh government repeatedly between April and Sept 9 this year at different levels. He said the Sindh energy minister had on Sept 9 promised to get approval from the provincial cabinet and issue a no-objection certificate within 10 days to two weeks but it was still awaited.
Mr Babar said the gap between gas supply and demand was expected to be around 350mmcfd in the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) network which serves Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said the two LNG terminals were providing about 1,200mmcfd which could be increased to 1,350mmcfd to meet additional demand.
Omar Ayub blamed the Sindh government for lack of cooperation in extending the right of way to build pipeline from Port Qasim despite raising the issue for the last one-and-a-half years. He said the matter of gas supply had now gone beyond Article 158 of the Constitution that gave right to the gas-producing provinces to use their gas first.