No CNG in Sindh, Balochistan from Dec 1 to Feb 15

SSGC says diverting gas to meet residential, commercial demand in winter


Salman Siddiqui November 29, 2021
PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI:

The Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) on Monday announced suspension of gas supply to compressed natural gas (CNG) fuelling stations in Sindh and Balochistan for two-and-half months effective from December 1 to divert the fuel to residential and commercial consumers during the winter season.

The All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) registered a protest over the planned closure of the fuelling stations, saying it would make a number of people jobless.

Earlier, the gas utility firm had switched off gas supply to captive power plants (CPPs) installed at non-export industries in both the provinces.

The drop in temperature increases demand for gas in homes. Gas-based heaters and geysers are used in winter to remain warm. Presently, Balochistan is already experiencing a chilly weather.

"In adherence to the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division), government of Pakistan … it has been decided to suspend gas supply to all CNG stations across Sindh and Balochistan from December 1, 2021 till February 15, 2022," SSGC said in a statement.

The volume of gas curtailed from suspension to CPPs of non-export units and CNG sector would be diverted to domestic customers to enable them in catering to their enhanced gas loads due to the winter season, it added.

In Balochistan, supply of additional gas is a must for the survival of human lives since gas serves as a lifeline to a huge population that has to keep itself warm through water and space-heating gas appliances in extremely low temperatures, according to the SSGC.

Read SSGC stops gas supply to captive plants

The spike in demand for gas in homes at the outset of winter and drop in supplies due to depletion in domestic gas reserves and low availability of expensive imported gas is widening the gap between demand and supply of the fuel.

“This is the third consecutive year in a row that the country is witnessing gas crisis.”

Gas supply to all CPPs of non-export industrial units was discontinued a couple of days ago till further orders due to the winter spike. "However, all general industries, zero-rated export industries including its CPPs and fertilizer sector will continue to get gas," the SSGC said.

The All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA), however, rejected the decision of the SSGC to close CNG stations for a long period of two-and-a-half months.

"Closing CNG stations in Sindh is unjustified cruelty which will not be accepted," APCNGA group leader Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha said in a statement.

He said that the SSGC did not consult stakeholders before deciding to close the CNG stations from December 1 to February 15.

Paracha said that it was very unfair to shut down the CNG sector in Sindh which is paying the highest price for LNG which is $15 per unit.

On the other hand, he said, the sectors which were paying $2 to $6 per unit for LNG were being promoted.

The CNG sector ensures reduction in oil import bill and reduces urban pollution as compared to other fuels.

“This environment-friendly fuel facilitates transportation for the poor, but is subjected to frequent tariff and tax hikes.”

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