The gas crisis in Punjab has deepened with the announcement of the nine-day gas shutdown for the industrial sector by Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL).
Earlier, SNGPL had issued a notification of seven-day gas shutdown for Punjab’s industrial sector on August 21. However, after three days, SNGPL extended the gas shutdown from seven to nine days.
SNGPL said that the gas shutdown was because of the maintenance and repair work at the Qadirpur gas field.
SNGPL has issued the notification amid industrial and trade bodies’ threats to launch a protest campaign against the gas shortage in the province.
SNGPL sources said that according to another notification, gas supply to the fertiliser sector of Punjab as well as private power-generating units near Lahore would be suspended for 20 days.
The sources said that the company was facing an additional gas shortfall of 400 million cubic feet (MMCF) due to the annual repair of the Qadirpur gas field.
They said that the current gas load management schedule in Punjab was being suspended with immediate effect, as SNGPL would release a new schedule under which all sectors would face three-day gas outage every week.
According to the notification issued for the industrial sector, gas supplies will be suspended to the industries of Lahore, Sheikhupura and Sahiwal for nine days from August 29 to September 6.
It said that gas supplies would remain suspended for the industries in Faisalabad, Multan, Gujranwala and Bahawalpur from September 1 to 9.
In the second phase, Lahore, Sheikhupura and Sahiwal will face gas suspension for four days from September 11 to 13 while the industrial units in Faisalabad, Multan, Gujranwala and Bahawalpur will have a gas shutdown from September 14 to 17.
As per the new schedule, all gas-powered fertiliser units will face gas suspension for 20 days from August 27 to September 16 while private power-generating companies will not get any gas supplies from August 29 to September 17.
Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association (PTPMA) Chairman Sheikh Saeed and Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association (PHMA) Chairman Chaudhary Salamat Ali expressed disappointment over the decision of SNGPL.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2011.