Third LNG terminal to end Karachi industry’s gas woes: SSGC

Published September 17, 2021
The logo of Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGC) is seen on its customer service office in Karachi. — Reuters
The logo of Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGC) is seen on its customer service office in Karachi. — Reuters

KARACHI: Gas shortages for industries, especially in winters, will end after installation of third liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at the Port Qasim in a year or two, said Sui Southern Gas Company Ltd (SSGCL) managing director Imran Maniar.

Speaking with businessmen at the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Thursday,

Mr Maniar admitted that there were difficulties and challenges but the picture is rosy as the activation of the third LNG terminal will certainly help in resolving gas shortage issue being suffered by all types of consumers in Karachi.

Explaining overall gas demand and supply situation, he said a total of 4,000 mmcfd gas including indigenous gas and regasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG) is being used all over the country of which around 950 mmcfd is being provided to SSGCL from indigenous resources in Sindh and Balochistan, while 150 mmcfd of RLNG is also being given to them and the rest of gas is being used by the SNGPL.

According to a KCCI press release, Mr Maniar said SSGCL takes 110 mmcfd from natural resources in Balochistan while the rest of 75 per cent gas comes into the system from resources in Sindh, but these gas reserves are depleting fast at a rate of 10pc per annum, he warned.

The SSGCL takes around 150-180 mmcfd of RLNG from two terminals at Port Qasim, but the supply reduces to 70-80 mmcfd in winters while the demand for gas in Balochistan rises to 120 mmcfd, thus creating an overall shortage of around 195 mmcfd, he said.

To deal with shortages, the government has designed a mechanism in which all the consumers from domestic to industrial have been ranked from top to bottom in which domestic consumers were at the top of the list, followed by export-oriented industry, while CNG stations were at the bottom of the list and non-export industry was above CNG stations, he elaborated.

Mr Maniar said SSGCL carries out load management during winter season exactly as per the government list whereas RLNG supplies to KE are completely cut to zero that helps in covering the gas shortage by 75-80 mmcfd whereas suspension of gas to CNG stations further saves 20 mmcfd that leads to reducing the gas shortfall by 95 mmcfd, out of a total shortfall of 195 mmcfd, he added.

Businessman Group chairman Zubair Motiwala pointed out that the first and foremost problems being faced by gas consumers were the low gas pressure in the industrial zones of Karachi, thus affecting local production and exports.

The data of last one decade indicates that 1,200 mmcfd of gas was available from indigenous resources 10 years ago when the industries were utilising around 385 mmcfd gas and then around seven years ago, a decline to 335 mmcfd was witnessed in the industrial consumption which later on picked up but to date, the maximum industrial consumption was not more than 400 mmcfd, he said.

He was of the view that demand from industries during winter remains intact yet the industries suffer the most which was not a correct approach. The demand for gas rises in Balochistan to 200 mmcfd from around 40 to 50 mmcfd and it also increases in Sindh during winter season. Hence, the gas shortage was not because of rise in demand by the industry but purely due to enhanced consumption by domestic users.

Meanwhile, SSGCL in a press release announced resumption of RLNG supplies from Engro’s LNG terminal.

SSGCL has gradually started supplying gas to K-Electric, FFBQL and Sindh Nooriabad Power Company, in accordance to their respective pre dry docking intakes. The overall gas pressure in Karachi has also improved remarkably, the company said.

Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2021

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