Gas shortage begins ahead of winter

SNGPL, SSGCL face shortages due to delay in arrival of LNG cargo

ISLAMABAD: The Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) are facing gas shortages and have announced a gas load management plan to deal with the crisis at the beginning of winter.

According to sources, shortages on the systems of both state-owned sui companies have been increasing as both SNGPL and SSGCL face a deficit of 275 Million Cubic Feet per Day (MMCFD).

They said that the ongoing gas shortage is because of a delay in the arrival of a ship carrying liquefied natural gas (LNG) for the country whereas due to an expected limited import of the natural gas, it is estimated that CNG and general industries will face a severe shortage of gas during the next month.

Usually, 12 LNG cargoes are imported on a monthly basis to meet demands. However, this time, a total of 10 LNG cargoes will be imported during November wherein Pakistan State Oil (PSO) will import six cargoes and Pakistan LNG Limited (PLL) will import only four cargoes.

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“There will be no shortage for domestic gas consumers and they will be supplied the gas uninterruptedly,” sources said.

It is relevant to note that the SSGCL and SNGPL on Friday had announced suspension of gas supplies to all the CNG stations, cement, and non-export general industries, along with captive power across their franchised areas including, Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

The SSGCL suspended supplies for 72 hours and SNGPL halted supply for 48 hours.

“We wish to inform that re-gasification rates from PGPC (Terminal-2) have been reduced due to delay in arrival of PLL’s October 8 cargo. Owing to decrease in re-gas rates, system pack is depleting rapidly,” SNGPL said in a letter dated October 7, 2021.

An official of petroleum division on condition of anonymity informed Profit that at present, SNGPL faces a shortage of 270 MMCFD as it has been receiving only 780 MMCFD against a total demand of 1050 MMCFD.

Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha, a senior leader of the All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA), informed that the sector has been facing a shortage of around 125 MMCFD as no gas is being supplied to the stations from either entity.

He said that although the government had allowed the private sector to import gas, some government officials had created hurdles in this regard and as a result of which so far, no LNG has been brought in to the country to meet energy requirements.

Paracha said that the APCNGA has developed a company named UGC for importing gas to meet the CNG sector’s needs, adding that UGC has the first right to obtain gas for the sector and it will be illegal if any other sector is supplied gas before a sector that helps the masses.

“Government institutions should immediately implement the decision regarding import of LNG by the private sector so that the shortage can be overcome and prices are reduced,” Ghiyas Paracha concluded.

Meanwhile, local media reports on Sunday stated that Pakistan is all set to install two more LNG import terminals over the next 12-15 months to deal with the ballooning gas crisis after the government approved connection of the terminals with transmission and distribution network from Karachi to upcountry areas.

The commercial launch of the two terminals, being built by Tabeer and Energas, will double gas storage capacity of the country to 10 days compared to the existing capacity of five days.

The terminals are being set up by the private sector, meaning that the government will not be liable to pay capacity charges if it does not utilise the facilities.

Moreover, the new terminals will directly sell imported gas to industries and commercial and domestic consumers at competitive prices instead of selling through the government. However, the state will always have the option of gas import through the new terminals.

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Ahmad Ahmadani
The author is a an investigative journalist at Profit. He can be reached at [email protected]

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