Addressing a press conference at the SNGPL head office on Monday, Dr Asim said the country was facing 50 per cent gas deficiency and two more years were required to fill the gap, adding that the demand was standing around four billion cubic feet per day (BCFD) against the generation of two billion BCFD.
“We are providing gas to industry, CNG and domestic sectors and they are the people who have to decide for which sector they don’t need gas,” he said while responding to a question why the power sector is not being allocated gas to eradicate current spell of unbearable loadshedding in the holy month of Ramazan.
Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on July 4 had amended the 2005 Natural Gas Allocation and Management Policy to make available maximum gas supply to the power sector for enhancing generation to minimise power cuts. In the given circumstances, it is believed that no other option is left but to curtail the gas supply to fertiliser sector, diverting the same to power units.
However, sources added, Dr Asim feels that every sector, except CNG, has vital importance and until domestic gas production is enhanced through new discoveries or supplemented through imports, allocating gas to power sector to with a curtailed supply to others is not a viable option.
It is a common perception among the officials of the country’s energy sector that Dr Asim is a great advocate of gas supply to fertilizer and industry, instead of power and CNG, and he spoke his mind at the Monday’s press conference as well. Speaking along with SNGPL MD Arif Hameed and APTMA ex-chairman and industries’ representative, Dr Asim was of the view that the CNG sector was a burden on the country’s economy. He said the government had decided to phase out the use of CNG in private vehicles gradually. However, he added that use of CNG in public transport was being encouraged.
Punjab’s CNG stations consume 320 MMCFD, while the figure for Sindh is 140 MMCFD, despite the fact that no new CNG stations had been established in past two years.
To a question, he replied that the progress on Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline was expected in two weeks as the government had arranged funding for the project and Iran had also offered $250 million investment in this regard.
Dr Asim said no powerful would be spared if involved in gas theft, adding that the gas management and flow had been improved this year.
He informed media persons that the government was negotiating with Qatar and Algeria on LNG import, while it was also planning to adjust petroleum prices on weekly basis.
Dr Asim said a short-term and another long-term policy on LNG import would be discussed for implementation in the ECC meeting on Tuesday (today).