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The CNG problem

December 06, 2012

DR Asim Hussain, minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, has, in a recent interview, said the natural gas crisis has cropped up as a result of its use as CNG fuel. The CNG sector consumes nine per cent of the total gas available for distribution.

According to his own admission in the interview, the gas shortage is more than 40 per cent of the supply. Even if all the CNG is shut down, we still have a shortage of over 30 per cent, according to the admission made by our knowledgeable adviser. How can a responsible functionary of the government give such a rash statement in the same breath?

It is well-known that the country is about to experience the worst - ever natural gas crisis this winter. That is exactly what we are seeing. CNG has been very skillfully put out of action to manage the enhanced winter load from the domestic sector.

While this is the case in Punjab, the case in Sindh is a little different. Here the CNG sector has been agonised because of the compulsion of diverting the gas to nonpaying, noncompliant KESC in the garb of saving Karachi from darkness, though the KESC can use furnace oil as an alternative fuel. But why should they when they are getting five times cheaper fuel and that too free! As they owe the SSGC Rs44bn.

For some strange reason the adviser is satisfied with this arrangement.

Although CNG station owners have been pushed to the corner, if they decide to operate their stations, they will soon find out that there is no gas available for them anyway. What do you say to that, Mr Adviser?