Despite gas supply improving, Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) has dropped a hint that it is likely to continue three days a week gas curtailment for CNG stations.
SNGPL General Manager Sales Rehan Nawaz told The Express Tribune that gas shortfall has fallen to around 350 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) from 800 mmcfd due to lower consumption as winter season fades away.
Nawaz said that it may not be possible for SNGPL to reduce gas curtailment in the coming months for CNG sector as the focus is more towards the industrial and fertiliser sector that suffered massively in winter. Sawan gas field will be closed for annual maintenance this month which would add to the shortfall in the coming days, he said. “Annual maintenance of other gas fields are also around the corner, it won’t be easy for us to accommodate all sectors,” he said.
Gas curtailment for the CNG sector was increased surprisingly up to 12 hours in March despite increase in gas reserves. CNG stations observed curtailment of 2.5 days but it has crept up to three days in Punjab.
“We have just resumed supply to three fertiliser plants on Thursday,” he said.
Gas is being diverted to the four fertiliser plants which were initially closed indefinitely on November 15 and then found themselves offline on March 30. Agritech was spared the second outage while Engro’s new plant Enven, Dawood Hercules and Pak-Arab Fertilizer suffered on both occasions.
Similarly the industrial sector, which witnessed shut down for five days a week in winter is now receiving supply for four days a week.
Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited had completely shutdown supply to all industries of Punjab for an indefinite period in December 2011 but pressure from the powerful lobby brought down the outages.
“We are in negotiations with SNGPL over this issue, and will not accept three days curtailment in the summer season,” said All Pakistan CNG Association Chairman Ghyas Abdullah Paracha.
We were expecting a relief but some high-ranked officials are on a policy to neglect the CNG sector, he said. Around 3.5 million people are suffering from the curtailment.
The increase in supply to other sectors means the network has sufficient gas reserves now, he said.
“We will raise our voice at every forum to save the investments of millions made in CNG sector,” Paracha added.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 7th, 2012.