ISLAMABAD: Faced with a gas shortage crisis as winter sets in across the country, the government has drawn up comprehensive plans to import Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) over land from Turkmenistan via Afghanistan, Pakistan Today learnt on Thursday – plans that could come into play with immediate effect once necessary approvals come through.
The Collector Customs, Quetta, after consulting stakeholders, has forwarded a plan to the Federal Board of Revenue to import the LPG from the Chaman border, said sources privy to the matter. They said the federal government is all set to take a big step of importing the LPG from Turkmenistan, which is not only cost effective but the LPG is also of better quality.
All necessary preparations have been made and customs officials at Chaman border will allow the entry of LPG bowsers to Pakistan after necessary clearance, the sources added.
Documents available with Pakistan Today provide further details on various aspects of the plan, which will begin after necessary approval of the FBR.
In the first phase, Afghan transporters, referred to as the Afghan prime movers, will bring LPG from the border of Turkmenistan, and will hand over the bowsers to the Pakistani prime movers at the Chaman border.
In the second phase, a facility for LPG decanting will be established at Chaman border.
The documents outlined three plans – the immediate plan, short term plan and long term plan – as devised in a consultation session on November 10 between stakeholders to devise a mechanism for the LNG import.
Under the immediate plan, imports will commence immediately, while six to eight months are required for the short-term plan, and one year for the long term plan.
In the immediate plan, LPG being imported in Pakistani bowsers will be cleared using the existing border gate (Friendship, or FS, Gate), facilities and yard.
According to the short term plan, notification of a new gate and yard will take at least six to eight months, as per the district administration, National Logistics Cell (NLC) and the XII (12) Corps. LPG clearance through the new gate and yard at Chaman will be done as per Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) and Balochistan Environment Protection Agency (BEPA) standards.
Under the long term plan, a station will be established to decant the LPG into Pakistan bowsers.
The initial process will involve empty Pakistani bowsers being transported to the Chaman border by Pakistani prime movers, who will then hand over to Afghan prime movers. The Afghans will transport the bowser, through Afghanistan, to the border crossing with Turkmenistan at Torghundi for the LPG to be filled. The bowser will then travel back to Chaman, and will be handed over to Pakistani prime movers who will transport the cargo to necessary destinations in Pakistan.
Pakistan is faced with acute gas shortages, with local reserves depleting fast, and global Liquified Natural Gas supplies in high demand with winter setting in across the word, which has sent market prices out of Pakistan’s reach.