LAHORE: The Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) decided on Monday to partially restore gas supply to around 1,000 CNG stations in Punjab from Tuesday (today).

However, the company will make a decision on continuing supplies to the compressed natural gas sector next week keeping in view the adequate availability of gas - both from the indigenous and imported LNG resources.

“The company took the decision keeping in view the problems faced by a number of people using LNG and those directly or indirectly associated with the CNG stations’ business,” a senior official source in the petroleum division told Dawn.

“At the moment, the gas supply would be restored only for two days this week - Tuesday (today) and Friday from 8am to 8pm. The decision about supplies in next week will be taken at a later stage,” the official added while requesting anonymity.

The company, at present, is facing up to 100MMCFD of gas shortfall in the system that is leading to low pressure in the tail-end areas in Lahore, Multan, Khanewal, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Gujranwala, Sargodha, DG Khan, Bahawalpur and other cities.

Another reason behind low pressure or absence of gas in the affected areas is also the use of compressors by the consumers to extract gas from the domestic pipelines. As per data made available to Dawn, the company’s total demand has reached to 2,200MMCFD whereas the available supply is over 2,070MMCFD.

“Since 2,070 MMCFD includes 970MMCFD and 1,100MMCFD being received from the indigenous gas and imported LNG resources, our shortfall almost remains at 100MMCFD on average. Therefore, by supply gas to the CNG sector, there would almost be no issue,” he maintained. Besides this, another 170MMCFD of LNG is also being supplied to the fertiliser sector exclusively.

On Dec 19, the SNGPL had halted gas supply to general industry (manufacturing and CNG sectors) to meet energy needs of around six million domestic consumers in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Later it curtailed gas supply to power sector (plants) on Dec 24. However, the company heaved a sigh of relief after the Mol gasfield (Karak, KP) resumed its operation at the optimum level of 325MMCFD on Dec 27.

The gas production from the field had earlier squeezed to 125MMCFD after the locals forcibly curtailed it in protest against the government for not fulfilling the commitments it made with them for certain development works in the area. The situation enabled the company to restore gas supplies to general industry and power sectors from Dec 31. And finally, it announced partially restoring supplies to CNG sector for two days (Tuesday and Friday).

Published in Dawn, January 7th, 2020