Gas shortage to double next year, CCoE informed

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ISLAMABAD: Amid lack of new explorations, the shortage of gas is likely to be doubled next year, with a projected shortfall of 477mmcfd.

In a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE), which was held on Wednesday with Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in the chair, it was informed the demand of gas has risen by 5pc per annum during the past seven years.

The heavy gas shortfall recorded last month (December 2019) was nearly 270mmcfd.

“One of the major reasons for this upsurge was the consumption of gas in the winter season by the domestic sector, which prefers to use heavily-subsidised gas as compared to other energy sources,” officials of the Ministry of Energy informed the CCoE.

The committee was further told that work on adding 70mmcfd gas in the Sui Southern Gas Company’s system and taking LNG supplies for Sui Northern Gas Pipeline up to 1300mmcfd had already started but its implementation was hampered by issues pertaining to the grant of ‘Right of Ways’ from the Sindh government, which had granted only one RoW so far while two more were still awaited since last summer.

“With these measures, nearly 70mmcfd gas is likely to be added to SSGC by the end of January.”

According to the energy ministry, in view of 2020-21 projections showing a shortfall of 477mmcfd, the government has decided to build additional terminals; five new private terminals were awarded in Nov 2019, while process for a dedicated pipeline of 1.2BCFD+, required to carry imported LNG from these terminals to north, would also begin soon.

The CCoE noted that there was a need to work on contingency plans for 2020-21 to overcome the gas shortage. It stressed using energy produced through gas and electricity as a whole to provide more options to energy consumers and to bring efficiency in the system.

Earlier, the Ministry of Energy briefed the CCoE on the current demand-supply situation of gas/RLNG, natural gas allocation and management, average gas supplies, winter load management, indigenous gas production, supplies and consumption in different regions, and LNG requirement by the SNGPL/SSGC.

The CCoE asked the ministry to brief in the next meeting the current situation in the power sector so that the problems in both gas and power sectors could be properly analyzed and contextualized uniformly and a realistic and more efficient solution to bridge the demand and supply gap could be chalked out.

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