ISLAMABAD: The Cabi­net Committee on Energy (CCoE) on Thursday asked the Power Division to provide accurate estimates of furnace oil for power generation in winter and actively pursue Sindh government for urgent right of way for a gas pipeline.

The meeting, presided over by Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, reviewed the requirement of furnace oil for winter months during the period of canal closure and diversion of imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) to domestic and commercial sectors.

It was explained that hydropower production would come down to 2000-2500MW from more than 8500MW starting from third week of Dec and Jan when canals are closed for annual maintenance. Almost at the same time, imported LNG has to be diverted to domestic consumers because of increased demand for space and water heating, resulting in non-availability at gas-based power plants, thus requiring furnace oil for power generation.

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The CCoE directed the Ministry of Energy to plan for meeting the industrial and residential demand fully during winter months, without any curtailment of load. It also directed the ministry to ensure that the utilisation of all other fuel sources, including renewable and coal, was maximised before assessment of furnace oil requirement. An evaluation of domestic refining capacity would also be made so that minimum import of furnace oil was arranged.

The Petroleum Division presented the natural gas demand supply situation for winters including LNG import requirements. The meeting directed the division to ensure that no gas load curtailment was done for the industry and all efforts were made to meet the remaining system demand. Gas allocation priority criteria will be adhered to by the ministry during the winter season.

The committee took serious notice of the non-completion of 17km gas pipeline extension at Port Qasim by the Sui Southern Gas Company Ltd, which was a hindrance to utilisation of LNG terminal capacity. It asked the Energy Minister Omar Ayub Khan to personally follow up with Sindh government to ensure that no-objection certificate was issued for the construction of the pipeline and the project is completed by December.

The meeting on full utilisation of excess LNG capacity to make the additional gas available in the system.

Implementation status of the north-south gas pipeline was also presented to the CCoE. The committee directed the ministry to expedite the process of land acquisition for the project and also present to the committee the detailed project implementation schedule along with the transaction structure by February 2021.

Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2020