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Fuel crisis: gas-pipeline projects

January 29, 2013

THE government has failed to control the ever-rising prices of fuel. There are certain factors which contribute towards such a situation which has slipped out of the government’s hands.

One of the main reasons of the shortage of natural gas is the loss of this precious resource in the areas from where it is extracted, Sui, in Balochistan where due to insurgency and weak writ of the government non-state actors find it easy to destabilise Pakistan by targeting the pipelines of natural gas. Some deadbeat organs of the state machinery also hinder the smooth running of the Sui gas department.

Almost some 13 years ago, when this environment-friendly fuel was discovered by the Hydrocarbon Institute of Pakistan, investors exploited this resource and a mushroom growth of CNG stations was observed.

The Ogra issued licences to everyone who asked for it, without bringing into account the feasibility of the demand notice. As a result, almost all highways boasted at least two CNG stations in a mile, hammering in the last nail in the coffin.

Wastage of electricity also worsens the situation as constantly increasing amount of natural gas is required to powerhouses to meet the upper level of electricity demand.

Another reason because of which the consumers have been deprived of the cheaper fuel for their vehicles is the hegemony and monopoly of CNG station owners as they their claws are penetrated deep into parliament and they are not willing to lessen the spectrum of their profit margin.

All these factors have contributed to the plight of consumers of domestic and compressed natural gas and also the industrial sector of Pakistan, especially in Punjab.

This crisis can well be tackled if the government speeds up the pace of projects like Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline and Turkemanistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline.

Moreover, speeding up work at the Thar coal reserve for energy requirements will alleviate the present odd energy mix of Pakistan where a large sum of national exchequer is spent on importing furnace oil to produce expensive electricity.

The amount saved so can be utilised in subsidising gas products and accommodating the citizenry.