LAHORE - With the winter’s start, a serious gas crisis is threatening the country as the shortfall is anticipated to reach the highest-ever 1,400 million cubic feet per day. The authorities say it will force them to restrict supply to domestic consumers to only cooking hours and halt supply to the industrial sector for three months.
Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited MD Arif Hameed, while addressing a function of the APTMA, said that the government is considering supplying gas to domestic consumers only three times a day instead of 24 hours supply as the shortfall might touch 1400 million cubic feet per day in winter.
“The gas supply will be affected from the next month as its shortfall will be 900mcf, 1100mcf and 1400mcf per day during November, December and January respectively, and it would be difficult for the SNGPL to continue supply even to its prime residential consumers.”
He said the gap between supply and demand had already touched 900 million cubic feet per day this month – a level witnessed in the financial year 2010-11 when winter was at its peak. “The shortfall is estimated to go up by about two times to 1400mmcfd during winter peak,” he said.
He said the government was considering two proposals to cope with the shortfall. First, to pass on the entire gas shortfall to the industrial sector in view of the fact that all industries had supply contracts for nine months even though they would use their political influence to avoid such a situation.
The second proposal is to allocate fixed weekly quotas for CNG stations. Under the arrangement, it will be up to the CNG stations to exhaust their quotas in a day or over a period of seven days.
The MD visited the APTMA Punjab along with his team of senior management. APTMA Punjab Chairman SM Tanveer welcomed him. He appreciated the managing director and his team for continuous hourly-based gas supply to the Punjab-based textile mills during the last three months.
Tanveer said the APTMA has a vision of doubling the textile industry exports to $26 billion in the next five years from the existing level of $13 billion. He said that the APTMA is a premier and responsible industry association contributing heavily to the economic uplift of the country. It is providing employment to 10 million people, he said.
He said the most challenging period of winter season is on the anvil, creating apprehensions among the Punjab-based textile industry circles. In the wake of GSP Plus market access, the industry would have an additional opportunity to cater to the export demand, he said, adding that the challenge before the industry would be to make maximum use of this opportunity.
He said poverty and terrorism would be a natural outcome of unemployment.
Speaking on the occasion, APTMA Group Leader Gohar Ejaz said the SNGPL helped ensure $2.5 billion exports by keeping gas supply intact in the last three months under the hourly-based load-management plan. He said this arrangement proved a game changer for the industry. He said availability of 200mmcfd out of a total of 1700mmcfd to the industry under a new business plan will ensure 10 million jobs in the industry.
He feared huge trouble ahead if the industry is put off line for the next three months. He said not a single APTMA member is involved in gas theft, and instead they pay 100 per cent bills.