Industry reacts strongly to gas crisis in Sindh

Published June 24, 2021
The SSGCL senior management on Wednesday informed a delegation of seven industrial associations that it was facing a shortfall of 170 mmcfd in its system. — APP/File
The SSGCL senior management on Wednesday informed a delegation of seven industrial associations that it was facing a shortfall of 170 mmcfd in its system. — APP/File

KARACHI: Industrialists on Wednesday reacted strongly to complete suspension of gas supply by the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) to non-export industries in the city followed by a 50 per cent cut to captive power units.

The SSGCL senior management on Wednesday informed a delegation of seven industrial associations that it was facing a shortfall of 170 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) in its system due to the annual turnaround of the Kunnar Pasakhi Deep (KPD) gas field. The SSGCL added that it would face a shortfall of 70mmcfd even after June 29 as the KPD gas field turnaround is expected to end right through July 9. In such a situation till the end of June, the company would not be able to provide gas equitably to all the sectors.

SSGCL faces 170mmcfd shortfall amid KPG gas field turnaround, shifting of KE operations to furnace oil urged

SSGCL informed industrialists that it is implementing the government’s gas load management programme of 2018 under which domestic and commercial customers were given top priority.

Slamming the development, industry leaders said that if SSGCL, as per its claim, was facing gas shortfall of 200-250mmcfd from KPD gas field and Engro Terminal, then this could have been overcome through the regasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG) temporarily.

President of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry M Shariq Vohra and Chairman of Businessmen Group Zubair Motiwala urged Prime Minister Imran Khan to direct SSGCL to refrain from suspending gas supply to industries in Karachi. “We cannot afford any kind of interruption in production activities due to suspension of gas supply,” the industry leaders said in a statement.

“The business community has been kept in the dark about RLNG supply which was highly unfair. Businessmen need to know about the quantum of RLNG retained as well as sold to consumers by the SSGCL in Sindh and Balochistan,” they said, adding that around 150-200mmcfd RLNG was being supplied to industries. The SSGCL had been restrained from retaining RLNG and there are orders that the entire volume of RLNG of 1,200 mmcfd should be given to the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited, the business leaders added.

“The turnaround of KPD gas field and Engro Terminal could have been delayed and done one by one. K-Electric (KE) has the capacity to use furnace oil (FO) for power generation. The gas supply being given to KE should be curtailed and transferred to industries. KE may use FO until the crises are over,” they suggested.

Meanwhile, in a statement, Pakistan Peoples Party Parlia­mentarians Central Information Secretary and Member National Assembly Shazia Atta Marri noted that the gas crisis has intensified in Sindh. It is a regrettable act of the federal government, given the province produces 60-70pc of natural gas in the country, she said.

According to Article 158 of the Constitution of Pakistan, the province in which a well-head of natural gas is situated shall have precedence over other parts of Pakistan, the statement read.

“The federal government is not supplying due share of gas to Sindh as per its requirement. There is an intense shortage of natural gas in the cities of Sindh including Karachi and domestic consumers are also facing difficulties,” the statement read.

Ms Marri condemned SSGCL’s decision of cutting gas supply to the industries in Sindh and said that this injustice with the province on gas supply at the part of federal government would weaken the federation itself.

Published in Dawn, June 24th, 2021

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