KARACHI: The gas crisis at Sindh’s industries and CNG fuel stations came to an end on the seventh day, Saturday, after the federal government addressed the human errors in the supplies system.
“The slowdown in oil productions at refineries due to spillover of furnace oil reservoirs and continued imports of the oil had triggered the gas crisis,” Federal Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan said at a press conference at the Governor House, Sindh, on Saturday.
He said the spillover and low productions at refineries in the country had slowed down production of crude oil and gas at Sindh fields that ultimately impacted end-consumers of the utility in the province.
He said the oil and gas production at Sindh fields and as well as at refineries would normalise in a couple of days after the federal government allowed refineries to export the surplus furnace oil and banned imports. Besides, the state-owned Pakistan State Oil (PSO) and furnace oil-based power producers have also been asked to store excess refineries’ oil at their reservoirs, he said.
The gas crisis emerged following a drop in gas production by 80mmcfd in two fields of the province.
“The production gas had dropped to 1,200mmcfd from 1,280mmcfd earlier,” he said, adding, “Gas productions from the fields would normalise in a couple of days.”
CNG pumps resume operations
He said gas supplies to CNG fuel stations will resume with effect from 8pm on Saturday, while the supplies to the captive power plants at industries would resume from Monday onwards.
CNG fuel stations would be supplied gas three days a week, while, gas volumes for captive power plants would remain low at 50% during three months of winter. “Sunday would remain a gas holiday for captive power plants (in Sindh),” he said.
“We reached the amicable solution through consensus, understanding and deliberations made with the stakeholders (government, SSGC and industrial users) during the last three days,” he added. CNG station owners confirmed resuming operations after the government restored gas supply.
“There are around 650 CNG fuel stations in the province, which consume 67-70mmcfd on the days they are in operations,” a CNG dealer informed.
The minister said they would never restore load-shedding of gas, power and other utilities at the five zero-rated export-based industries as they remain engine of growth in exports.
“The exports have dropped, imports have surged, factories have closed down and the unemployment has gone on high side,” Khan said.
He said the government would never compromise on services being provided to export-based industries as they remain the key towards addressing major issues in the beleaguered economy.
Besides, other industries would also be provided level playing field, he said. He said the government has set priorities of taking highest power production from hydel sources, while production from alternative energy sources (wind, solar and bhagas) has been prioritised on second number in the energy mix.
Taking power production from cheaper and clean energy LNG has been set on third priority, coal on fourth and the power from the most expensive furnace oil has been set on the last priority.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 16th, 2018.