Gas pipelines

August 26, 2019


TWO large corporations — Pakistan State Oil and Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited — have been asking the government to resolve a strange problem. The issue is there is too much gas in the pipelines.

The SNGPL booked more regasified liquified natural gas for the summer months for use in the power sector. However, hydel power generation increases in summer. This lowers the need for thermal power production. This year the above average water led to more hydel power generation and less use of gas.

This has led to a gas pressure increase in pipelines, which can result in failure. At the same time a delay in pumping new RLNG lots will increase demurrage costs for SNGPL and PSO. Therefore both organisations are asking the energy ministry to increase thermal power production, which is not possible.

Meanwhile the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority has issued directives which are not in its purview like banning the use of CNG in public transport in the province of Punjab. This move by Ogra will prove counter-productive and even dangerous for the country if the SNGPL pipelines fail to bear the pressure from the increased gas transmission.

The prime minister should intervene and revoke the ban on the use of CNG in public transport. At the same time the government should give subsidy on CNG to reduce its price and increase its usage to help utilise some of the gas in the pipelines.

At the same time the fertiliser and cement industries can be asked to increase production and use more of this gas as feedstock. These measures would prove to be far more cheaper and advantageous than demurrage and pipeline failure costs.

Shahryar Khan Baseer

Published in Dawn, August 26th, 2019