CNG stations across Sindh will close down from midnight on Friday and will re-open at noon on Sunday this weekend but not beyond that.
The Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) and CNG associations decided on Thursday that all CNG stations will halt operations. The meeting held at the SSGC head office was presided over by SSGC deputy managing director Azim Iqbal Siddiqui.
According to the company’s press release, this decision was taken in the larger interest of maintaining an uninterrupted gas supply to houses and industries in Sindh and Balochistan. The supply was affected from April 12 when the Bhit Gas Field Annual Turn-Around started.
It was also decided during the meeting that SSGC’s monitoring teams will be strictly checking all stations during these 36 hours. These teams will cease supplies to any station found supplying gas during these hours. Their supply will not be restored until 24 hours after the ban is lifted and after an NoC from the respective CNG association has been received.
Earlier, customers were asked to voluntarily reduce their gas consumption by 20 per cent so that the company could ensure an uninterrupted supply to all its customers, during the annual turnaround period. The SSGC statement added that the company “regrets this situation for the inconvenience which will be caused to the CNG users during this 36-hour shutdown”.
Why did the shortage occur?
The shortage began on April 12 when the annual maintenance of Bhit Gas Field started. Earlier, in a press conference, Siddiqui said that the supply to industries, the fertiliser sector, CNG stations, and the Karachi Electric Supply Corporation will be decreased from April 11 to May 4. “SSGC has tried its best to maintain the maximum gas supply to its customers during the maintenance period but we are facing the need to share this pain collectively,” he said.
Bhit is among the three major gas fields of the SSGC, as it produces more than 31 per cent of the company’s total gas. Since industries make up the bulk of the SSGC’s customers, this decision was made after consulting their representatives. “We requested the industries and they have agreed to reduce their gas consumption by 20 per cent to save gas during this period,” he said.
The Bhit field, operated by ENI Pakistan, is on the annual turnaround for 22 days.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2011.
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