THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE, ISLAMABAD, 26th SEPTEMBER 2013:
As winter is approaching when demand for gas rises significantly, the government is studying a plan to slash gas supply to compressed natural gas (CNG) filling stations, industrial units, fertiliser and power plants in an attempt to ensure uninterrupted supply to residential consumers.
This gas management plan was discussed in a high-level meeting at the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources here on Tuesday, attended by heads of gas distributors – Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC), to give finishing touches to it, say sources.
The plan will be discussed with Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi after his return from the United States and will be sent to the prime minister and the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) for approval.
According to the proposals the meeting weighed up, CNG stations in Punjab will have no gas for four days a week and industrial units will experience disruption for three days. Gas supply to fertiliser manufacturers will also be curtailed and only those power plants, which have entered into agreements with SNGPL, will receive gas.
Independent power plants such as Orient and Saif will get no gas as their agreements with the gas distributor have expired.
Some officials of the petroleum ministry were of the view that the government would have to completely stop providing gas to CNG stations, fertiliser plants and industrial units for two months keeping in view the high shortfall projected for upcoming months in the SNGPL system which covers Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
According to the plan, SSGC, which caters to the needs of consumers in Sindh and Balochistan, will stop gas supply to CNG stations for three days a week and the industry for two days. There will be no gas for fertiliser plants for two months from January to February 2014.
According to SNGPL estimates, total demand for gas in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa will be 2.1 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) in October, 2.21 bcfd in November, 2.46 bcfd in December, 2.7 bcfd in January, 2.55 bcfd in February and 2.29 bcfd in March.
Against this backdrop, SNGPL will be able to provide 1.23 to 1.24 bcfd in these months. Gas theft in the SNGPL network has been projected at 205 to 207 mmcfd during this period.
In Punjab, demand for gas will be in the range of 1.85 to 1.978 bcfd during these months whereas in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa the demand will be 260 to 315 mmcfd.
In Punjab, the domestic sector consumes 288 to 409 mmcfd, commercial sector 77 mmcfd, strategic defence industry 70 mmcfd, general industry 358 mmcfd, CNG stations 300 mmcfd, fertiliser plants 240 mmcfd, power plants (with supply agreements) 110 mmcfd and plants (with no agreements) 207 mmcfd.
On the SSGC network, total gas available is estimated at 1.009 bcfd in October to 999 mmcfd in March 2014. Total demand in Sindh and Balochistan will range from 1.28 to 1.361 bcfd and the shortfall has been projected at 276 to 362 mmcfd.
In Sindh, the demand will be 1.22 to 1.279 bcfd and in Balochistan it will be 59 to 93 mmcfd from October to March.
Domestic consumers in Sindh use 224 to 277 mmcfd, commercial sector 27 mmcfd, general industry 268 mmcfd, captive power plants 204 mmcfd, CNG stations 100 mmcfd, fertiliser plants 85 mmcfd and power plants 318 mmcfd.