ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Federal Cabinet on Tuesday approved the natural gas load management plan, which will govern priorities for delivery of natural gas to different sectors.
The ECC meeting was chaired by Federal Minister for Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh. The Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Resources submitted the natural gas load management principle, which was approved by the committee.
According to the approved plan, it was decided that first priority order will be given to the domestic and commercial sectors while power and general industries sectors will be accorded second and third priority respectively.
The Ministry of Water & Power had requested for enhanced gas supply to power plants on SNGPL system in the backdrop of load shedding in the power sector.
Meanwhile, the cement sector will be on fourth priority. The CNG sector will be on the fifth and last priority – a move rejected by the CNG association.
The ECC also accorded its approval to marginal/standard gas fields pricing criteria and guidelines, submitted by the Petroleum Ministry.
The guidelines provide for pricing structure applicable to the oil or gas reservoirs that cannot be exploited economically under the existing E&P Policies, pricing structure and available technologies.
The ECC approved the proposal of the Ministry to set the Marginal Fields gas prices in accordance with Petroleum Exploration & Production Policy 2012 with an additional premium of US$ 0.25 per MMBTU.
It was also decided that the government shall have the first right to purchase pipelines specification gas from the Marginal Gas Fields at a price to be determined in accordance with the above mentioned pricing formula.
CNG association rejects gas load management plan
The All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) rejected the gas load management plan approved by the ECC, terming it a short-sighted decision which will inflict miseries on the masses and threaten investments in the CNG sector at the benefit of the influential petroleum and liquid gas sectors.
Chairman CNG Association Ghayas Abdullah Paracha said in a press release that the decision to keep the CNG sector at the bottom of the priority list for provision of the natural gas is unacceptable and will be resisted and challenged at all forums.
The press release said the plan has been designed keeping the interests of influential sectors in mind, and that giving the least priority to the CNG sector means that general public will continue to wait for hours in long queues to get CNG.
Paracha said that the controversial decision has threatened investments to the tune of Rs 400 billion in the CNG sector and that it will devastate owners of 3.5 million people who are running their vehicles on the fuel.
Demanding an inquiry into the “conspiracies hatched by the petroleum ministry against CNG sector”, Paracha alleged that the ECC decision was based on another summary moved by the ministry which amounts to paving way for corruption to the tune of billions.
The CNG association chairman called upon the masses to take part in protests by CNG operators to “foil the designs of politicians against general public and country”.