ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Petroleum was informed on Monday that domestic gas needs in Sindh would be met in near future as the Petroleum Division was working in coordination with gas distribution companies.
The committee, chaired by Senator Mohsin Aziz, was informed that the recent gas shortage in the province was due to short supply from some gas fields.
The matter was raised by Senators Imam Din Shouqeen, Sherry Rehman and Sassui Palijo, regarding suspension of gas supplies to various parts of Sindh.
Managing Director Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) Muhammad Amin informed the committee that the utility was facing a shortfall of 115 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) in the transmission network due to depletion of natural gas reserves and curtailment in production fields.
He said a shortfall of 80mmcfd was due to the natural depletion of indigenous gas reserves, in addition to reduction in gas supplies from Kunner and Gambat.
To ensure supply to domestic consumers in prevailing gas shortfall, he said, the company has issued notices to captive power plants in October, intimating that it would not be able to provide gas from December to February.
He added that under the current agreements, the CPPs will make alternative fuel arrangements for themselves under such conditions.
He said that no substantial gas discovery had been made in recent past while existing reserves were depleting constantly, hence there was no significant addition in net production of natural gas.
Commenting on increased volume of unaccounted for gas (UFG) losses in Balochistan, MD SSGCL said the utility company was working on a plan to introduce fixed tariff in the province for consumers throughout the year to minimise losses.
However, the senators expressed serious concerns over low gas pressure and load-shedding in different parts of Sindh. The opined that depriving the province — which produces around 70 per cent of the country’s total natural gas — from its due share was not justified.
Regarding gas supply in Kalat, Mastung and Ziarat, the committee was informed that measures were being taken to ensure no shortage was experienced in those areas.
A briefing on line losses of gas companies was also given during the meeting. The SSGC told the senate body that volumetric losses for 2015-16 were 46,652mmcfd; for 2016-17, 39,547mmcfd, and for 2017-18 39,268mmcfd.
However, for Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited, the line losses in Punjab have been curtailed to minimum. However, the utility provider was facing difficulties in Karak district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and was working with the provincial government to lay distribution network to prevent gas thefts.
A Petroleum Division official said that there is around 10pc constant depletion in natural gas reserves in the country and it was imperative to expedite oil and gas exploration activities in potential areas on a war-footing basis.
Regarding the matter of sale of shares by the Premier Oil Company without taking permission from the provinces, the committee was informed by the officials that the provision of taking provinces on board does not apply to the agreements signed before the 18th Amendment.
Published in Dawn, December 25th, 2018