Country’s gas reservoirs depleting: NA told

Energy minister claims there is no power shortfall now


Our Correspondent August 10, 2021
PHOTO: APP/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar has said the country’s natural gas reservoirs are depleting at a considerable pace and therefore the nation’s reliance on imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) is on the rise.

“The country's gas reservoirs are shrinking by 8% to 10% every year. There is a gas gap which is filled with LNG,” Azhar told the National Assembly on Monday. “Too many gas schemes were announced in the past perhaps for the sake of votes, but gas was not provided to such areas,” he added.

Azhar, however, claimed that there is no power shortfall.

“Areas where electricity is stolen face load shedding. Power outages are also caused by transmission issues. In the last two to three years, the transmission capacity has been increased to 4,000 megawatt (MW). The transmission capacity will be increased to 3,000 MW in the next one year,” he said.

In a written reply, he said at present 78% areas of Karachi are exempt from load shedding.

“Karachi industries are 100% exempted from load shedding. In view of line losses in Karachi, load shedding areas have been divided into three parts. At present, six to seven hours load shedding takes place in Gadap, Malir, Orangi, Lyari, New Karachi and Surjani [areas of the metropolis].”

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Azhar said the federal government has decided to shut down six power plants due to which there would be a reduction in power generation by 1,796 MW. “Lakhra and Kotri power plants are not functional since Nepra [National Electric Power Regulatory Authority] revoked their licenses,” he said.

He said the PTI government has added 3,000MW to the system.

In reply to MNA Agha Rafiullah’s claim that gas projects are launched only in the constituencies of government members, Azhar said after the Supreme Court order, both the gas companies are providing gas connections in a sequence. 

In the past, he said, gas was provided to those with political influence.

Minister for Communications Murad Saeed told the assembly that 18 highways and motorways projects are underway in Punjab and that all projects included in PSDP 2021-22 will be completed on time. He said the PTI government has constructed 1,753 km of roads in the last three years.

Taking the floor, PPP leader and former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said petroleum exploration companies, working in Gujar Khan Tehsil, have polluted the water in the area. “Various diseases are spreading there. These companies must provide clean drinking water to the residents of these areas.”

Azhar said he would look into the matter and address the issue.

Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz said ventilators are being manufactured in Pakistan by both government and private organizations.

“At present, the ventilators of the Atomic Energy Commission have been validated at the official level,” he said.

The NA sitting was later adjourned after an opposition lawmaker pointed out lack of quorum. Earlier, the house also offered prayers for former minister Wasi Zafar and the security officials martyred at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and in Quetta.

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