ISLAMABAD-The Liquefied Petroleum Gas Distributors Association (LPGDA) has projected that the country was in need of importing 400,000 metric ton (MT) LPG during four months of the current winter season to meet gas requirements of the consumers.

“Around 100,000 MT LPG is required each in November, December, January and February, as this year the commodity demand has significantly increased due to constant depletion of existing natural gas reserves in the country,” LPGDA chairman LPGDA Chairman Irfan Khokhar told APP.

He was of the view that the LPG sector had witnessed substantial improvement due to business friendly polices introduced by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government after coming into power.

He said it was the result of the government policies that LPG remained available at controlled price across the country despite surge in the dollar rate against Pakistani rupees during the last two years. Khokhar said the government had reduced tax on the LPG import from 18 per cent to 10 percent, and hoped that the LPG would soon become a zero-rated tax industry.

With zero-rated tax, he claimed that the LPG would be available at the lowest price in open market and give a tough time to the companies providing natural gas to consumers due to its availability and affordable rate. He said the promotion and strengthening of LPG industry would not only ensure provision of inexpensive fuel to consumers especially in the far-flung and hilly areas where the piped gas was not available, but also prevent cutting of trees.

According to an official document available with APP, the government has set the target of producing 753,051 tons LPG through indigenous means and importing 317,263 tons during the current fiscal year. In the year 2019-20, the commodity’s production stood at 784,200 tons against the target of 820,000 tons and the import remained 272,018 tons against the target of 300,000 tons, posting 95.63 percent and 90.67 percent achievement respectively.

The current size of LPG market is around 1,061,447 metric ton (MT) per annum, while the commodity supply during the nine-month period of the last year stood at 739,785 MT. Around 76 percent of the LPG consumed is met through local production, whereas the rest is imported.

The LPG sector has attracted approximately Rs3.72 billion investment in supply and distribution infrastructure during first nine months (July-March) of the last fiscal year, which showed investors’ confidence in business friendly policies introduced by the government.

During the period, Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) has issued around 63 licences of different nature for promotion of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) industry in the country, including one operational licence of LPG storage terminal, three for setting up LPG air-mix plants, 35 for construction of LPG storage & filling plants and 18 for operation of LPG storage & filling plants.

Besides, it granted three licences for construction of LPG auto refueling stations and three operational permits for LPG auto refueling stations.

Currently, as many as 11 LPG producers and 200 LPG marketing companies are operating in the country, with more than 7,000 authorized LPG distributors.