Domestic gas allocation

07 Oct 2020

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I HAVE come across a letter by SNGPL to a comparatively new under-expansion residential society around Islamabad, saying that they will get expensive gas as it would be RLNG.

It may be recalled that when the first LNG barge berthed (the one under investigation by NAB for massive corruption including the unheard of non-utilisation charges), there was no off-take arrangement as such and the then set-up ran pillar to post for getting it off-loaded. Those who came forward are still benefiting in all possible ways. It is known to all and sundry that LNG is more about business than provision of energy security at affordable prices.

The SNGPL distribution network nearing the twin cities carries commingled gas, and no molecule can be categorised as RLNG — that too little over two MMSCFD. This is sheer fleecing of people, especially when gas utilities are on a special rate of return arrangement.

RLNG was not meant for the domestic sector, which is the government’s top priority in gas allocation. While there are power and other sectors that made justifications for RLNG import and use, the domestic sector should not be burdened at all.

Diversity in corruption may be one of the reasons why top positions in the oil and gas sector are sponsored by mafias or even sold at unimaginable sums. The oil and gas sector has seen a massive rise in corruption, patronage of criminals, illegal appointments, nepotism, zero accountability and hence the devastating results.

Apparently, it is already way too late to salvage the oil and gas sector. What else can be expected when imported businessmen with tainted background are made responsible?

Naved Zubairi
Islamabad

Published in Dawn, October 7th, 2020