ISLAMABAD: As the peak winter seems to have subsided and the mercury level gradually rising, the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL) on Saturday decided to resume gas supply to filling stations in Punjab and Islamabad from Sunday (today).
“The CNG stations are allowed to resume business from 6am tomorrow (Sunday),” the SNGPL said in a statement.
However, the gas utility company did not mention the schedule for the CNG stations to operate in the future.
“The gas supply to the CNG stations was subjected to surplus in other sectors mainly the domestic consumers,” added an official of the SNGPL.
The gas supply to CNG stations in Punjab and Potohar remained suspended for the last 37 days due to shortage amid high heating requirements in the wake of the severe cold weather. The average maximum temperature in Islamabad has increased to around 18 degrees Celsius against the mercury level between 10-13 degrees in the start of the month.
The CNG sector was the last category in the priority list set by the government for the supply of gas. The top priority was domestic consumers, including tandoors and bakeries, followed by power sector, industries and the cement sector.
Supply to Punjab, Potohar had remained suspended for 37 days
Currently, there are around 1,095 CNG stations in Punjab and the Islamabad capital territory and all are based on imported re-gasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG) because the natural gas production in Punjab is almost negligible compared to other three provinces.
At present, the total RLNG consumption by the CNG sector in Punjab and Islamabad is around 50mmcfd down from around 65mmcfd before the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The stations in other provinces convert to CNG using local natural gas as the first right is available to them after the 18th constitutional amendment because they are gas producing provinces,” said the SNGPL official.
Since LNG is only imported in the public sector, the government priority list is applicable on all consumers, including the CNG dealers.
However, the CNG industry has called upon the government to allow them to import LNG for consumption in Punjab and other low gas pressure areas in the country.
“We hope that in the next winter the CNG sector will be importing its private LNG which will keep the CNG business operational all the year round,” said All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) central chairman Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha.
He welcomed the reopening the CNG stations in the province, adding that the availability of the cheaper fuel would benefit the vehicle owners too.
Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2021