PM reviews Pakistan's 'gas situation', asks officials to fast-track licences for domestic exploration

Published December 29, 2021
Prime Minister Imran Khan chairs a meeting on Wednesday to review the gas situation in the country. — DawnNewsTV
Prime Minister Imran Khan chairs a meeting on Wednesday to review the gas situation in the country. — DawnNewsTV

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday chaired a high-level meeting to review the country's "gas situation" and directed officials to fast-track licences for domestic exploration, calling it the "cheapest source of natural gas".

According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), the meeting was attended by Finance and Revenue Minister Shaukat Tarin, Energy Minister Hammad Azhar, Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar, Shipping and Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Haider Zaidi, SAPM Mahmood Maulvi and officials of the departments concerned.

"The meeting was briefed about the demand [and] supply from domestic reserves, shortfall and import of liquefied natural gas (LNG)," the PMO statement said.

During the meeting, the premier also directed the departments concerned to remove hurdles in the process of installing new LNG terminals and virtual pipeline projects by investors.

"In this regard, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, the Ministry of Petroleum and the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority were directed to coordinate and also take all other stakeholders on board," the PMO statement said.

Emphasising the importance of the North-South Gas Pipeline, PM Imran directed officials to ensures its execution without further delay within the agreed timeline.

The participants of the meeting were told that the current constrained demand of gas is 4,700 million cubic feet per day (mmfcd) which increases to 6,000-6,500 mmfcd during winter.

"The current domestic supply amounts to 3,300 mmfcd which is decreasing every year. The resulting shortfall has to be managed by importing LNG. With the current infrastructure, a shortfall of nearly 1,000 mmfcd in winter arises for which multiple options are being adopted," the PMO statement said.

For short-term, the existing capacity of domestic terminals is being optimised and the process of issuing virtual pipeline licences is being expedited. In addition, the installation of two new LNG terminals is underway with all bottlenecks being removed on a priority basis, the statement said.

Since the onset of winter, the country has been facing a shortage of gas with domestic and industrial consumers facing problems.

Last week, the energy minister said that domestic consumers’ gas needs in winter are met by curtailing supply to non-export general industries and captive power plants, but this year the Sindh High Court had issued a stay order on the curtailment.

The minister said since the next hearing regarding the stay order was scheduled for Dec 30, he had directed the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) to request the court for an early hearing and plead against the stay order so that needs of the domestic consumers could be met in an efficient manner.

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