Gas outages in winters: ECC considering severing gas supply to four fertilizer plants

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Islamabad: Consumers this winter could hope for improved natural gas supply this winter season, as the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) mulls at severing gas supplies to four fertilizer plants in Punjab.

The diversion of gas supply from these four fertilizer plants to consumers may bolster the supplies to end consumer, the government hopes. This may help in easing the woes of consumers in Punjab, who have faced the brunt of gas loadshedding in the last few years during winters.

Some officials feel the gas from these fertilizer plants should be diverted to the power sector, which could bring a relief in electricity outages and also reduce the power tariff, due to switching to a cheaper source of power generation.

During the PPP tenure, these four fertilizer plants had been started providing with domestically produced gas. Since these fertilizer plants are said to have switched to imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) for their operations, the government has formulated a plan to withdraw 155 million cubic feet of gas per day (MMCFD) from them.

Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL) are expected to be re-allocated this gas for supplying forth to end consumers.

The four fertilizer plants which are recipients of this locally produced gas are; Dawood Hercules which is receiving 40 MMCFD gas, 58 MMCFD to Pak-Arab Fertilizers, 25 MMCFD to Agritech Limited and 79 MMCFD gas to Engro Fertilizers.

ECC is expected to formally approve the diversion of 130 MMCFD of gas from Kunnar-Pashaki deep field to SNGPL and SSGC. And as per the proposal of petroleum ministry, 25 MMCFD is expected to be re-allocated from Makori East field of MOL to SNGPL.