Short of gas

Published: December 19, 2011

Violators of the rationing plan will be prosecuted under the Gas Theft Act 2011.

There is every suggestion that the gas crisis is going to be more acute this year than perhaps ever before. It is true we say the same thing every year, but this winter there appears to be a very real sense of panic.

At a meeting called by the Ministry of Petroleum and presided over by the federal minister, stakeholders including industrialists, CNG station owners, the companies involved in the distribution of gas and Ogra officials, were told that, given the severe shortfall of natural gas, CNG-shedding would continue at Sindh CNG stations for two nights each week. Industries would not receive a supply of gas for one day in the week, though Sunday has been selected as this day. In Punjab, there will be CNG-shedding for three days weekly as is the case now, creating severe problems for all those who run vehicles on the fuel once so actively promoted by the government.

The CNG dealers are naturally outraged. The question for them, of course, is whether given the situation they can stay in business at all. The CNG association has complained that industrialists have been favoured at their own cost. The problem, of course, is that the textile and fertiliser sector is already close to ruin. Anyone involved in this business will testify to that. We simply cannot afford more cuts in gas to factories which would reduce their production. The relief given to Fauji Fertiliser which will not face shedding is also intended to assist the farming sector.

The fact is that the government actually has no choice in this matter. There is simply not enough gas to go around at all. Everyone from CNG stations owners to industrialists and domestic consumers are facing the consequences. The planning required to avoid such a situation arising should have been done long ago. It was not. This is the reason why we find ourselves in the current fix. To make matters worse, no one seems able to come up with any useful suggestions and this only means that we are very far away from a solution to a crisis that has crippled our country and economy.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 19th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (3)

  • Ali Atahir
    Dec 19, 2011 - 3:43AM

    Short of gas – Should I feel sorry now for those freezing Pakistani people ?
    There is plenty of gas just around the corner in Iran, which could flow down the pipeline directly into Pakistani tanks.
    But do we see the Pakistani government doing something which is really reinforcing friendly relations with Iran ? Do we see a Pakistani government strongly condemn US sanctions against Iran ? Not at all – at best we hear a faint whisper, an inarticulate mumble.

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  • Yasser
    Dec 19, 2011 - 7:32PM

    @ Ali
    You are talking about Iran!!! I am amazaed a parallel block (No 2) negibouring Sui field had been explored along with Sui Block which resulted out to have the same potential but it was not developed. Unfortunately due to reasons unknown, the development plans are withdrawl by OGDC few months back.
    This set back has happend just before the expoloration of another new block (No 3) in the same region with almost the same potential of Sui.
    Had we have the will to develop our own fields, we do not need to buy gas from Iran or any other country.
    in addition, there is a huge potential in Makran Offshore regions (equivalant to Oman’s offshore data but with larger area). Hitting oil there could lead Pakistan to be an OPEC (oil producing and exporting countries) member or we may export gas to India and China and turn over all industry to gas if its major extraction turns out to be gas.
    Our wind energy potential is 60000MW per annum where 30000MW can be acheived in a single wind corridor at Gharo (between Karachi and Singh).
    Our Solar power potential is 300000MW p.a. (both electric and thermal).
    Our Hydal power potential is 45000-50000MW p.a. Only Skardu-Katzara Dam has 15000MW potential.
    Thar Coal can annualy produce 30000MW of electricity and 100000 barrel of diesel for around 60-70 years.
    So Ali Brother, Pakistan can become the Power Generator in this region if it had the will just like it did to become a “Nuclear Power”.

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  • hassan akhbar
    Dec 25, 2011 - 3:19AM

    we need army’s help to overcome energy crisis.Recommend

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