Minister of State for Petroleum Musadiq Malik said the shortage of natural gas would persist this winter like last year. Demand for gas in the domestic sector is increasing while supply is decreasing.
Government Blamed Imran Khan’s administration for failing to contract the cheapest LNG available at the time and for no improvement in domestic gas and oil production.
However, he said effective management of the gas load is being finalized to ensure that LPG cylinders are available as an alternative fuel.
Speaking at a press conference after attending a meeting chaired by Finance Minister Ishak Dar, Mr. Malik said that all public sector entities in the oil and gas sector were asked to arrange LPG supplies.
Federal Meeting on Gas Shortage
The meeting was attended by Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Adviser to the Prime Minister and Head of the Energy Team, Minister of State for Finance Dr. Aisha Ghos Pasha and the Undersecretaries of Finance and Petroleum.
Informed sources said that Mr. Abbasi and Mr. Malik sought the support of the Finance Minister to facilitate foreign exchange requirements for LPG imports.
The sources said the gas reduction in the residential, energy and industrial sectors will be higher than last winter, as two to three shipments of LNG were not available last year through spot bids this year.
Therefore, gas companies will be left with only eight to nine shipments per month in peak winter months under long-term contracts.
During the meeting, Mr. Dar was briefed on the situation of supply and demand for gas in the winter season.
A statement said that ways to provide adequate supplies of gas for domestic and industrial consumption and reduce shortages in the winter season have been discussed.
Government initiatives for gas import
Malik told reporters that the government has been bidding to import LNG, but the commodity is not available even at $40 per million British thermal units (mmBtu).
However, it was claimed that the amount of gas arranged last year has been arranged for the upcoming winter season.
The Secretary of State hopes to give more comfort to domestic consumers in the winter than last year, and to ensure the gas supply to consumers in homes three times – breakfast, lunch and dinner.
However, sources in the petroleum division said that it is easier said than done as it requires a lot of technical and material capacity to build enough pressure on pipelines to burn stoves in all areas of the urban centers three times a day.
Malek said efforts are being made to ensure gas supplies to power plants, industry and local consumers during cooking times.
He said the total gas availability with Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL) was 680 million cubic feet per day (MCFD), while domestic consumer demand in winter exceeded 900 Mcf/d.
Gas demand in Pakistan
To fill the supply and demand gap, the government is working to import additional LPG this winter and directed public sector companies to import 20,000 tons more than last year.
He said that a comprehensive plan will be announced soon to make the country self-sufficient in the field of energy in the next three to four years, and innovative steps will be taken to reduce gas and electricity prices.
He said that the former PML-N government promised in 2013 to end the blackout by 2018 and installed 12,000 megawatts of power stations, which he said met the country’s electricity demand, and established two LNG plants with a capacity of more than 1,200 million cubic feet.
“We will make the country self-sufficient in three or four years if we have the opportunity to deliver,” he said, adding that the PTI government could not even secure LNG when it was being offered by international companies at $4 per MMBT.