Gas transmission and distribution network to be separated

Updated November 30, 2019

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Major restructuring on the pipelines side by converting them into open access pipes is in the offing. — Reuters/File
Major restructuring on the pipelines side by converting them into open access pipes is in the offing. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to separate gas transmission pipelines from the distribution network under its Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) policy aimed at creating an environment of competition among public and private sector companies.

Major restructuring on the pipelines side by converting them into open access pipes is in the offing and during the next two years, with the government planning to separate transmission from distribution and open up the sector for use through private supplies and open access, a senior official privy to petroleum sector developments told APP.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government was committed to completely overhaul this sector, he said.

According to the official, the government’s footprint in the energy as well as other sectors over the coming years was going to shrink. It is not only the stated policy, but fervent desire and intention, he said, adding that it was not the government’s job to decide who had the muscle, market clout and power to succeed but for the market.

He said the Petroleum Division, as per the vision of prime minister, had devised a prudent strategy, which would eventually attract local and foreign investments. The plan was aimed at encouraging new players in the petroleum sector that would oust inefficient players from the industry. An environment of competition will be ensured, ending the monopoly of individuals.

Answering a question, he said Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd (SNGPL) and Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) had executed as many as 39 pipeline projects during the last six years to reinforce transmission network in their respective operational areas.

SNGPL and SSGC initiated around 16 and 23 infrastructure development projects respectively, of which several have been completed fully and some partially till date, the official said.

During the current fiscal year, the companies under the strategy to reinforce and expand their transmission network would lay additional 13,599 kilometre pipeline, he said. The capacity of SNGPL and SSGC would be enha­nced by laying additional 12,100km and 1,499km pipelines respectively in their areas by June 2020.

The official said the companies would invest Rs7.161bn on transmission projects, Rs48.288bn on distribution and Rs18.556bn on other schemes bringing the total investment of around Rs74bn.

Meanwhile the companies were expecting to provide gas supply to approximately 430,695 new consumers during 2019-20, he said.

According to official data, the companies had laid 69km transmission, 3,232km distribution and 1,366km service lines and connected 165 villages and towns with their network between July 2018 and February this year. Besides, they provided 428,305 additional gas connections, including 425,404 domestic, 2,770 commercial and 131 industrial, across the country.

Similarly they had laid 328km gas transmission network, 8,861km distribution and 1,216km service lines and connected 231 villages and towns to the gas network during the year 2017-18.

Pakistan has an extensive gas network of over 12,971km transmission, 139,827km distribution and 37,058 services gas pipelines to cater the needs of more than 9.6m consumers countrywide.

Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2019