KARACHI: The Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) has decided to suspend gas supply to all non-export general industries from Dec 11 (Saturday) till further orders in adherence to the energy ministry’s gas load management plan.

The decision has been taken to make gas available to the domestic and commercial sectors during the current winter season that has seen a major demand-supply gap due to an extraordinary spike in fulfilling water and space heating needs in upper Sindh and Balochistan that is already experiencing chilly weather.

Gas supply to the CNG sector and all Captive Power Plants (CPPs) of non-export industrial units has already been suspended till Feb 15 next year and further orders, respectively, due to the winter spike.

However, the zero-rated export industry, including CPPs and the fertiliser sector, would continue to get the supply of gas, the SSGCL said in a statement.

Industry leader terms decision unjustified

The supply of additional gas is necessary in Balochistan for the survival of humans since gas serves as a lifeline to a huge population that keeps itself warm through water and space heating gas appliances in extremely low temperatures, it said.

Chairman of the Businessmen Group Zubair Motiwala termed the SSGCL’s decision unjustified.

He said in a statement that on one hand the government promotes industrialisation but on the other hand it suspends gas supply to the general industries.

Mr Motiwala said he has failed to understand where the gas was going as the supply of this commodity had been suspended to CNG stations, all CPPs of non-export industries and non-export general industries.

He pointed out that in the past a total of 211 mmcfd gas, which has now depleted to 180 mmcfd, was erroneously given to the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited from Sindh’s gas resources and said it was high time that this gas must be returned to Sindh which despite producing 76pc of country’s overall gas remains deprived.

“I fear that gas is now going to northern parts also from Sindh,” he added.

Motiwala said he had talked to Energy Minister Hammad Azhar about deepening gas crisis in Sindh and urged him to introduce staggering holidays for gas load-shedding in various industrial sectors which would not hit production activities and save 13pc gas.

He urged Prime Minister Imran Khan to take notice of the gas crisis in the country, especially in Sindh.

Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2021

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