Minister says uninterrupted gas supply not possible due to low gas reserves

KARACHI    -     Minister of State for Petroleum Mu­sadik Malik said Wednesday that the masses could not get gas 24 hours a day due to drop in commodity's reserves.

Country is highly reliant on nat­ural gas for energy, and with ris­ing demand and insufficient supply, loadshedding has become a daily oc­currence in many areas of the nation.

This scenario worsens during Ra­mazan when Pakistanis use more gas for cooking and other reasons, espe­cially during Sehr and Iftar timings.

But the minister, in conversa­tion with journalists in Kara­chi, without giving an exact time, said the gas loadshed­ding would end during Seh­ri and Iftar. “We cannot pro­vide gas 24 hours as our reserves have dropped.” The issue of gas starvation in Ka­rachi caught Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s attention recently, and he directed rel­evant officials to ensure an uninterrupted supply of the commodity. He said the pro­cess of supply of gas should be supervised and no neg­ligence should be tolerated. Owing to the widening gap between gas supply and de­mand, the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) last week announced its decision to suspend supplies to cap­tive power plants and indus­tries. The gas utility said that the decision had been taken considering the low supply of gas. It stated that due to a reduction in supply, the vol­ume of gas in pipelines had decreased. In response, the Karachi Chamber of Com­merce and Industry (KCCI) called for immediate govern­ment action over the short­age of gas supply to Karachi industries, saying the indus­tries could not function with­out gas and would be forced to halt production. “It’s high­ly unfair to have such an at­titude towards Karachi’s business community which, despite facing so many odds and challenges, contributes around 54% in terms of ex­ports and more than 68% in terms of revenue,” KCCI pres­ident Muhammad Tariq You­suf said. Malik, while talking to journalists, said his vis­it to Karachi was based on resolving the gas supply is­sues that the people are fac­ing and urged them to en­sure payment of their utility bills. “The gas bill of the rich and poor has been separat­ed; rich people will have to pay more now,” the minister of state for petroleum said.

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