ISLAMABAD: It seems the recent meeting between President Asif Ali Zardari and Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei has done much to oil the cogs on the multi-billion dollar gas pipeline between the two neighbouring countries as the Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain revealed a timeline for the construction work on the project.
Dr Hussain, in a written reply to Shiekh Salahuddin, wrote that surveys for the project are due to be completed before October 2012 and construction can start as early as December 2012. The pipeline will start supplying 750 million cubic feet of gas per day (MMCFD) starting from December 2014, he added.
Replying to a question, he said that the project is continuing as per schedule and the work on detailed route survey and the final front end engineering design is scheduled to be completed in September 2012. Adding that pre-award procurement activities of long head items such as pipelines, and compressors have already been started.
Pakistan has been pursuing the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project and the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project to overcome the energy crisis in the country. However, pressure from the US on dealings with Iran have put projects with Pakistan’s western neighbour under a cloud.
Pakistan’s Minister for State Shahnaz Sheikh said that a cess has been imposed on petroleum product prices to collect additional revenues for the IP project. The Minister further said that TAPI would be completed by 2017. Pakistan had signed a bilateral gas sales and purchase agreement on March 23, 2012 along with the heads of the respective commercial entities for the project which would provide 3.2 Mcfd natural gas from the Yoloten/Osman and 1325 MMcfd from India.
Replying to another question, Dr Asim said that the government, after getting an approval from the Economic Coordination Council (ECC) had imposed a complete ban on company fitted CNG kits on locally manufactured vehicles. However, he added that the government had not put a ban on installing CNG kits on small vehicles.
In his reply, Dr Hussain said that the government had not yet received any proposal to lift the ban on company fitted kits for heavy vehicles, as he declared that 470,599 MT of LPG has been consumed annually for the last two years. He further informed that the annual consumption of natural gas stood around 1270200 MMCFT (340 MMCFD) and that LNG had never been imported in Pakistan.
He further wrote that the depletion of natural gas is a natural phenomenon in Pakistan that has small reserves which are not capable of producing large amounts of natural gas.
Demand for natural gas has outstripped supply in recent years, putting existing reserves under immense pressure.
The total consumption of natural gas in the country stands at 3480 MMCFD million cubic feet per day of which the power sector consumes 959 mmcfd, with 747 mmcdf being consumed in the domestic sector. Meanwhile 578 mmcfd of gas is consumed by the fertiliser industry, four mmcfd by the cement industry. while 107 mmcfd is consumed commercially. 327 mmcfd is consumed by CNG cylinders which are widely installed in locally manufactured vehicles in Pakistan.