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Gas supply to Punjab industry not resumed yet

Updated February 18, 2019

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Supplies were to be restored on Saturday evening but remained suspended due to technical reasons. — File photo
Supplies were to be restored on Saturday evening but remained suspended due to technical reasons. — File photo

LAHORE: Gas supplies to power plants, general industry and CNG sector could not be restored as per schedule on Saturday night as Engro re-gasification terminal remained shut for technical reasons, it is learnt.

The re-gasification facility was shut for 60 hours at 8am on Thursday for annual repair and maintenance and was to restart operation at 8pm on Saturday.

The Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd (SNGPL) had to stop gas supplies to power plants, CNG sector and general industry to meet domestic needs during the overhauling period.

The supplies were to be restored on Saturday evening on completion of the plant’s overhaul, which has unluckily not been done due to what an SNGPL official says technical reasons and thus the supply restoration plan has been deferred in the wake of lack of a new time frame from the Engro authorities.

“The supplies from Engro terminal have not yet started owing to technical issues at its end despite over 14 hours’ delay. So far no tentative time frame for start-up of re-gasification from Terminal-1 has been communicated by Engro and thus we cannot say when downstream supplies to power plants, CNG and other sectors will be restored,” says an official of the gas utility, requesting not to be named.

As a measure to check gas crisis for domestic and highest priority consumers during the ongoing harsh winter, the second terminal — Pakistan LNG Terminals Limited (PLTL) — had been made to operate at almost double the capacity (580-620mmcfd) instead of its contractual capacity of 230mmcfd on the SNGPL’s request, says the official.

He fears the worsening of the situation if the Engro terminal does not come into operation within hours because the PLTL terminal can continue operating at 600mmcfd for a few more hours.

“But with every passing hour, the re-gasification rate on subsequent hours/days will need to be reduced considerably. Thus, any further delay in commissioning of Engro terminal can limit the ability of the SNGPL to continue supply of RLNG even to the essential highest-priority sectors for no fault of its own while it is fully discharging its role in line with its contracts,” he adds.

The official clarifies that the SNGPL’s role in RLNG supply chain is limited only to the extent of carrying RLNG from its system injection point and selling it to the end consumers on its network.

“The SNGPL is not responsible for the import of RLNG cargoes neither is it involved in operation of any re-gasification terminal under the agreement,” he adds.

Published in Dawn, February 18th, 2019