ISLAMABAD: The Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) has asked the government to restrict the role of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and other similar agencies from its regulatory and quasi-judicial jurisdiction over the country’s oil and gas sectors.

Demanding this in its State of the Industry Report 2020-21, the regulator has reported that gas utilities added almost 500,000 new gas connections during 2020-21 despite about an 11pc increase in gas shortage due to a 6pc decline in production and a 5pc increase in consumption.

The report also noted that Sindh’s share in the country’s total gas supplies declined by 11pc in a year while more than 700 CNG stations in the country were closed down due to shortages.

“The role of NAB, FIA and other agencies with regard to Ogra needs to be re-visited,” said the regulator at the outset perhaps because of a number of cases being investigated by the agencies concerned, affecting the normal functioning of the regulator because of arrests and interrogations.

500,000 new connections given despite 11pc drop in gas production during FY21

“Ogra being an autonomous body and quasi-judicial in nature has to pass (orders and) decide matters pertaining to the determination of revenue requirements in terms of previous and future perspectives to safeguard the interest of all stakeholders”, it said.

The Ogra noted a significant rise in demand for gas by residential consumers owing to price differential with other competing fuels, LPG, firewood, and coal. The growth in sectors, such as power, commercial and fertilisers resulted in natural gas availability constraints and because of the high cost of electricity produced on furnace oil, the government also switched power plants to gas.

The indigenous gas production declined by over 6pc during the year to 2,006 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) from 2,138 mmcfd a year earlier while gas consumption increased by over 5pc to 3,884 mmcfd from 3,683 mmcfd. The deficit between production and consumption was partially met through RLNG imports, whose share in natural gas supplies has increased from 29 to 33pc during 2020-21.

The country has a huge network of 13,768 km of transmission and 191,478 km of distribution gas pipelines as SNGPL and SSGCL extended their transmission network by 37 km and 17 km, respectively, during 2020-21.

Similarly, SNGPL extended its distribution network by 7,141 km and SSGCL by 929 km. “SNGPL has connected 371,618 new consumers during FY21 reaching 7.41 million total on its network whereas, SSGCL has added 95,436 new connections making a total of 3.21 million consumers on its network,” the Orga report said, reporting the total number of gas consumers at 10.62 million by the end of FY21.

Power sector was the top consumer of natural gas with 30pc share, followed by domestic sector with 20pc, fertilizer 19pc, General Industry 8pc and captive power 5pc of the total gas consumed during FY 2020-21.

In province-wise gas consumption, Punjab’s share was 52pc followed by Sindh’s 39pc, KP 7pc and Balochistan 2pc of total gas consumption.

Sindh’s share in total gas supply declined during the year by 11pc to 1,192mmcfd, Punjab’s by 9pc to 83mmcfd and Balochistan’s by 1pc to 333mmcfd. On the other hand, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s share in the overall gas supply increased by 8pc to 398mmcfd.

The share of RLNG has increased by 13pc to 969mmcfd during the year.

In overall gas supplies, the share of Sindh has declined from 45 to 40pc, KP from 13 to 12pc, whereas the share of Balochistan and Punjab remained steady at 11 and 3pc, respectively. The share of RLNG increased from 29 to 33pc.

OIL: The import of crude oil increased by 27.82pc during FY21 to 8.66 million tonnes while import of finished petroleum products increased by 23.70pc to 10.02 million tonne. Product-wise import indicates that import of HSD increased by 30pcto 3.26 million tonnes, petrol by 10pc to 5.97 million tonnes and Furnace Oil by 100pc to 0.74 million tonnes during FY21. Import of aviation fuel declined by 72pc 0.05 million tonnes.

Refineries total production increased by 14.48pc to 10.66 million tonnes during FY2020-21.

PARCO increased its production by 55pc to 4.42 million tonnes, Attock Refinery by 18pc to 1.84 million tons. On the other hand, production of Byco Petroleum declined by around 20pc to 1.70 million tonnes and that of National Refinery by 7pc to 1.45 million tonnes.

PARCO strengthened its dominant position by almost 10pc and increased its market share to 41pc followed by ARL with 17pc and Byco, NRL and PRL with 16, 14 and 12pc respectively. Refineries production of main POL products petrol, HSD and furnace oil increased by 27.48pc (0.54m tonnes), 22.09pc (0.83m tonnes) and 17.68pc (0.38m tonnes) respectively.

The production of LPG has also increased 25.32 pc (0.04m tonnes) during the same period. The consumption of petroleum products increased by 12.95pc, reaching 19.92 million tonnes.

Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2022

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