ISLAMABAD: Cold weather and priority accorded to domestic consumers have forced gas companies to completely stop supply to CNG stations in Punjab during the current month and restrict the same in Sindh to two days a week.
“The gas supply to CNG stations in Punjab is expected to remain suspended during the month of January because of low pressure and high domestic demand,” Amjid Latif, a senior official of the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL), told reporters here on Thursday after a briefing to parliamentarians.
He said gas supply in Punjab had also been suspended to the textile sector and other industries, including fertiliser units, but it was provided to only three power generation companies. “We have curtailed supply to these companies but cannot stop it altogether,” he said.
The representatives of the gas companies were briefing members of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Textile on the availability of gas and its distribution among various sectors at the parliament house.
A senior official of the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC), Sohaib Warsi, repeated the same argument of gas shortages and priority for domestic consumers. He said gas loadshedding to CNG stations might be increased to five days a week in Sindh to ensure uninterrupted supply to domestic users, but the decision would not be announced and it would be done when required as per low gas pressure and high demand. The gas supply to industries in the province is confined only to one day a week.
The SSGC has already raised loadshedding to CNG stations in Sindh from two days to three days, while the SNGPL announced suspension of gas supply for six days a week. The SNGPL is not willing to provide gas even for one day.
The gas demand on the system of SNGPL and SSGC stood at 4.5 billion cubic feet (BCF) against a supply of 2.9 BCF. The shortfall is 1.6 BCF – 0.4 BCF on SSGCL system and 1.2 BCF on SNGPL.
The SNGPL official said that additional 750 mmcfd gas would be produced next year through various initiatives, including drilling of new gas wells. The new petroleum policy offered attractive incentives for investors. “Next winter will be better,” he predicted.
At the same time, he said, the gas reserves had also depleted because of many natural and structural problems. He said 250,000 new gas connections were given every year while gas reserves had been depleting constantly. He suggested stopping development work on gas, including new connections, until supply was improved.
The official said technical work on Iran-Pak gas pipeline had been completed.
The SSGC has allowed use of generators of up to 5 kv on gas. The same was not allowed by the SNGPL but most industrial units and domestic users availed the facility, a representative of the company said.
Akram Ansari, who heads the committee, said the government facilitated big textile industrialists under the umbrella of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma).
He asked the government to stop supply of gas to the textile mills for power generation. Instead, he said, gas should be diverted to sizing and processing units in Punjab which could not be run without gas.
He said car owners who used CNG were forced to shift to petrol and suggested that the same treatment should be given to Aptma which could produce electricity from petrol, instead of using cheaper gas for power generation.
Rizwan Ashraf, a representative of processing units of Faisalabad, said the government had not only stopped gas but also electricity supply to their units. He demanded 25 per cent gas quota for processing and sizing units in Faisalabad.
Textile Minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin told the meeting that the issue would be resolved in 10 to 15 days.
He said there was a shortfall of gas which would be met by curtailing supply to other sectors.