Senate body recommends lifting ban on local natural gas connections  

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ISLAMABAD: The Senate’s Standing Committee on Petroleum has recommended an end to the ban on new connections of local natural gas for the industry.

The Senate panel on Monday recommended the supply of local natural gas to the provinces in accordance with their constitutional shares so that no province remained neglected and the industrial sector of the country remained facilitated.

Officials of the petroleum ministry informed the Senate panel that Punjab was producing 119 million cubic feet per day (MMCFD) while it was receiving 1,000MMCFD. Meanwhile, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was producing 411MMCFD while it was receiving 296MMCFD. Likewise, Balochistan was producing 467MMCFD and getting 292MMCFD. Moreover, Sindh was producing 2,320MCFD while only 1,696MMCFD was being supplied to the province to meet the demand for gas.

The officials told the Senate panel that the supply of local natural gas to provinces was low during the ongoing year as compared to the gas supply to the provinces last year.

The officials informed that consumption of gas in KP during winters remained between 250MMCFD to 350MMCFD, as 40MMCFD of gas was being supplied to the strategic industry. The total production of gas in the province stood at 4,170MMCFD while the demand was 5,395MCFD, they added.

The officials further informed that following the imposition of ban on new connections in 2011, Regasified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG) was being supplied to the local industry to meet the demands.

Speaking on the occasion, Senate Committee Chairman Senator Mohsin Aziz said the Constitution of Pakistan clearly described that demands of a gas-producing province should be met first before supplying same to other provinces. He also advised supplying the already agreed 100MMCFD gas to KP, which was committed by the centre for provincial power projects. He called for an immediate supply of natural gas to KP since the new power projects of the province were still not materialised.

The Senate panel on Monday discussed issues pertaining to new gas connections from the gas system as well as its supply to the commercial and industrial sector, low gas pressure in an industrial state of Peshawar, suspension of gas supply to the industrial areas of Jamshoro, policies of Oil and Regulatory Authority (OGRA) and Sui Northern Gas Pipleline Limited (SNGPL) regarding installation of additional gas metres for domestic use, and supply of gas to Lower and Upper Dir.

Senator Jamal Dini on the occasion stated that gas was being supplied to Balochistan through air mix plants only for two hours.

A representative of Peshawar Chamber of Commerce said that gas was being sold to KP at the rate of RLNG, adding that provincial minister Taimur Jhagra has informed him that a new pipeline would be laid for the industrial zone of Peshawar, and for this a no objection certificate has already been issued.

Briefing the Senate panel, the officials of petroleum ministry informed that measures were underway to improve the low gas pressure, while upgradation of the gas network was being made.

“An almost 32-kilometre long new gas transmission line has been laid would commence operations in December 2018,” they added.

The panel was also informed that so far 2.4 million applications for new gas connections have been collected by the gas utilities. During the previous year, they added, 0.6 million new gas connections were granted by the former government, while another 0.6 million new gas connections will be allotted during the ongoing year.

Senators Sardar Muhammad Azam, Mir Kabeer Ahmed, Muhammad Shahi, Salim Zia, Shamim Afridi, Attaur Rehman, Dr Jahanzaib Jamal Dini and Beharman Tangi attended the meeting.

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