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LAHORE: The government has decided to import further 1,200mmcfd of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in future to meet increasing gas demand of all sectors.

The government has also directed top officials of the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited to immediately start designing and planning works in this regard.

Under the plan, another gas pipeline for supplying 1,200mmcfd of LNG to Sindh and Punjab, after re-gasification at the port, will be laid from Karachi to Lahore on the fast track in about one year, it is learnt.

New pipeline to be laid in a year

“Federal Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has informed us to start designing, planning various works required to be accomplished for laying a new pipeline from Karachi to Lahore and importing 1,200mmcfd of LNG to meet the growing demand of domestic, commercial, industrial, power and CNG sectors,” SNGPL managing director Amjad Latif told Dawn on Saturday.

At present, the government is importing over 400mmcfd of LNG from Qatar. And under the existing plan, it is to import 200mmcfd in addition to 400 by this month’s end and 600mmcfd by end of June this year.

The supply of 400mmcfd of LNG after re-gasification is meant for textile, fertilizer, power and CNG sectors in Punjab.

However, the 200mmcfd of LNG, which is exclusively for the power sector, is likely to be received by the 1,200MW Bhikki Power Plant in Sheikhupura on Jan 27.

“It is confirmed that the supply of 200mmcfd to Bhikki Power Plant would start from Jan 27. And the remaining 600mmcfd of the total 1,200mmcfd under the current plan will be imported by end of June this year,” the MD said.

He said both the state-owned gas companies were issued necessary directions by the minister for the import of further 1,200mmcfd of LNG and laying of a new pipeline during a meeting held in Karachi on Jan 20.

The meeting was attended by MDs of SSGC and SNGPL, SSGC’s board of directors’ chairman, ministry’s federal secretary and other senior officials concerned.

The MD said before import of additional LNG a couple of terminals for re-gasification would be built /installed. “Under the decision, the SSGC has been asked to lay a new pipeline from Karachi to Sawan. And the SNGPL will lay the pipeline from Sawan to Lahore,” he said, adding that a major chunk of the 1,200mmcfd would be used in Punjab because of the acute shortage of gas.

At present, the total gas demand in the SNGPL areas (Punjab and KP) is about 2,500mmcfd, whereas the availability in the system ranges from 1,900 to 2,000mmcfd, including 1,400 to 1500mmcfd of indigenous and 400 to 450mmcfd of imported LNG.

Since we have a shortfall of 500mmcfd or so and the gas demand is increasing by the day, the government plans to import further 1,200mmcfd in future to provide relief to all consumers,” the official claimed.

Published in Dawn January 22nd, 2017