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Nation should give up use of CNG in vehicles: Asim

Published Dec 05, 2012 12:15am

Pakistanis queue with their vehicles as they wait to buy compressed natural gas (CNG) from a government-run CNG station in Islamabad. – AFP

ISLAMABAD, Dec 4: Adviser to prime minister on petroleum, Dr Asim Hussain said on Tuesday that long queues outside CNG stations show that consumption of CNG has increased out of proportions and it is in the interest of the country to do away with CNG as it was wastage of resources.

“Gas shall be used in value-addition and not as a primary source of fuel as burning in cars or by domestic consumers,” he said while speaking at the annual technical conference of oil and gas exploration and production sector.

Later talking to newsmen, the advisor said that the government was providing subsidised gas to domestic sector and would continue to do so as it was the top priority, followed by fertiliser and industries.

“While we do not have gas in the country, luxury car owners continue to enjoy cheap fuel,” he added and said that the CNG rates would be further enhanced to take away subsidy being provided to it, but he agreed that gas infrastructure development cess (GIDC) and even gas tariff was the highest on CNG sector, while it was very low on textile industry.

“We had raised the cess for textile, but they got it reduced to mere Rs50 per mmbtu,” Dr Asim Hussain said.

“This is unfair of them but what can we do if Indian textile industry can grow on imported LNG which is too costly why can’t our industry do it.”

Responding to the queries, he had no answer to disparity in gas rates for various sectors, and reiterated that the CNG was eating up too much gas in the country.

He said that the CNG sector was still very profitable and long queues that we see was not because some stations are closed, but it was because of the fact that the number of vehicles had increased.

The advisor even ridiculed the NA sub-committee on petroleum which had demanded a solution to ongoing CNG crisis and asked the petroleum ministry to consider recommendations of Ogra over the matter.

“The sub-committee is more interested in their personal agenda and they have no consideration for national interest,” the advisor said.

He said that the country was facing severe gas shortage and highlighted some incentives provided in the new exploration and production policy which would attract investment, both from existing and prospective companies in the sector.

He said the government was also working on shale gas policy framework which is in an advanced stage of finalisation, along with preparation of marginal and stranded gas and low pressure gas policies as well as guidelines for flared gases to tap available resources for the benefit of the country.

Shale gas has been the game changer in North America and the same could be replicated in Pakistan if plans were executed in an optimum way.

LPG Policy 2012 was also under preparation, he added.

The government is also working on bringing in gas through the Iran-Pakistan (IP) and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) Gas pipeline projects to meet growing energy demand in the country.

“The Iranians have agreed to sell us 500 mmcfd gas instead of 250 mmcfd through the IP pipeline and another round of negotiations is expected in coming days,” he added and highlighted that there is no US sanction on gas sector and the project would continue to move ahead.

Regarding import of LNG, he said that the project would materialise by the end of 2013, whereas around 750 mmcfd gas is likely to be added to the system by June 2013, resulting in an increase of 20 per cent in existing flow.

Earlier, Moin Raza Khan, Chairman of the conference said that annual technical conference is a regular activity in which petroleum sector experts and managers from abroad and Pakistan participate and share experiences in the form of technical sessions and panel discussions.

The technical experts also informed that small pockets of gas is available in the north of country and in KPK which could be harnessed at domestic level through simple technologies for domestic usage.

The theme of this year’s two-day conference is E&P technologies, innovation and new frontiers.