LAHORE: Following a major technical fault of leakage during the newly-constructed LNG terminal’s commissioning phase at Port Qasim, the shortage in the province started worsening on Thursday, forcing the SNGPL to withdraw the indigenous gas from the industry and divert it to the domestic sector that has been facing extremely low pressure for the last many days.
The supply to some power plants in Punjab has also been curtailed to facilitate the domestic sector, according to official sources.
“Since the domestic sector demand is gradually growing due to winter and there is also no supply of the additional RLNG (600MMCFD), we finally withdrew the system gas [local gas] from the industry. But we will keep supplying Regasified Liquefied Natural Gas to the industry that is already using it,” SNGPL Managing Director Amjad Lateef told Dawn.
SNGPL suspends supply to industry, diverts gas to domestic sector
“We have also curtailed over 150MMCFD of RLNG supply to three major power plants in Punjab - Kapco, Rousch and Nandipur. We will not be able to give them gas till receipt of additional 600MMCFD of RLNG from the new terminal, which has developed a fault and that may take eight to 10 days for rectification,” he said.
The situation won’t improve until the company receives the 600MMCFD [of RLNG], he said.
According to Pakistan Gas Port Consortium Limited (PGPC), which built the new LNG terminal, the situation would improve soon, as supplies to the national system would recommence by Friday (Dec 8).
“Operations at the recently inaugurated terminal had been suspended for a few days after a leakage developed in an insulation joint connecting the PGPC system to the connecting pipeline infrastructure. The leak was promptly stopped, the joint replaced, and the system is being repressurised. There are no faults with the jetty and marine works or the Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) or the sub-sea section of the pipeline and there has been no blast,” reads a statement issued by a spokesperson for the Lahore-based PGPC head office.
“The terminal represents an investment of about half a billion dollars by PGPC in the jetty and marine works, Norway’s BW Group in the brand new and state-of-the-art FSRU, and Fauji Oil Terminal & Distribution Company Limited (FOTCO) in the pipeline infrastructure from the jetty to the national gas grid. The terminal was inaugurated on Nov 20 and received its first LNG cargo on Nov 24,” he said.
On the other hand, Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) has expressed concern over the suspension of system gas under quota regime and supply of [high-priced] RLNG to the export-oriented sector in Punjab. This would further add to the [high] cost of doing business and would hamper the export pace. “We express serious concern at switching of system gas to RLNG supply for textile industry in Punjab on a [lame] excuse of drop in mercury,” said PTEA Chairman PTEA Shaiq Jawed in a statement.
He condemned the government’s indifferent attitude towards the Punjab-based textile industry as “it is already facing a serious blow due to high cost of doing business.”
Meanwhile, many parts of Punjab, especially Lahore and adjoining districts, have been facing either low pressure or no gas for the last many days. In several [tail-end] localities, women and children continued holding protests in streets.
“Since the start of winter, we have almost no gas. We are using LPG cylinders to keep our kitchen and geysers operative. But we are worried as to why the bill is going up while there is no gas,” Shahzad, a resident of A-1 sector (Township, Lahore), told this reporter.
Talking to Dawn, SNGPL Lahore regional chief Mr Qaisar Masood said the department was promptly responding to complaints related to low gas pressure.
“But the shortage of gas is not the problem alone but also the compressors being used by the consumers. That is why we have launched a crackdown on consumers. And within last three days or so, we have captured 170 consumers [allegedly] involved in using compressors,” he said.
Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2017