LAHORE: Participants in a public hearing organised by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) on Wednesday demanded that there should be no increase in gas tariff by the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL).

Ogra chairman Masroor Khan said the authority would take any decision in line with the interests of the general public.

“We cannot allow provision of gas to domestic consumers on higher rates. But side by side we cannot address the issues related to gas shortfall (depletion of the indigenous gas reserves) since it is not our subject. So we to date have no plan under consideration for increase in the gas prices,” the Ogra chief said.

Under section 8 (2) of the Ogra Ordinance 2002, the SNGPL had on Oct 15 filed a petition with the authority for review of its estimated revenue requirement / prescribed prices for FY 2021-22. The petitioner projects a shortfall in revenue requirement at Rs92.617 billion including Rs163 million on account of LPG air-mix project for the year and sought an increase in its average prescribed price by Rs269.03 per MMBTU with effect from July 1, 2021.

The petitioner (SNGPL) has also included Rs219.892 million shortfall pertaining to previous years, thus seeking a total increase in average prescribed price by Rs907.75 per MMBTU from July 1, 2021.

“First of all I would like to request you to decide that where we want to take the industry? I am surprised that crude oil prices are lowering worldwide and they (the SNGPL people) want to increase gas tariff. The RLNG prices too have been reduced internationally,” deplored Haji Muhammad Ayub, a former office-bearer of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association.

“You will have to rationalise the gas tariff if you want to keep the industry operational,” he warned.

Mr Ayub criticised the SNGPL for announcing a subsidised tariff for Bhalwal industrial estate which is yet to be made operational. “But on the other hand, the tariff for the existing industry is being worked out to be enhanced,” he wondered and asked the SNGPL to reduce its UFG losses.

Mehboob Elahi, an energy expert and a former Ogra member, was of the view that the officers should come out of their air-conditioned offices and focus on reducing the UFG losses.

A participant told Dawn that people were already in trouble due to high prices of commodities and Ogra must take a pro-people decision.

SNGPL MD Ali J. Hamdani said the depleting reserves of indigenous gas and increasing demand of domestic consumers was the biggest challenge for the company. “So if there is shortage of gas due to delay in procurement of the LNG cargoes or any other reasons on the part of the authorities concerned, the SNGPL having seven million consumers shouldn’t be held responsible.”

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2021

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