FAISALABAD: Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) has proposed a cut in gas supply to industries in Punjab in the winter season to ensure smooth supply to residential consumers as gas outages become necessary in the face of expected shortages, it is learnt.
SNGPL sources told The Express Tribune that industries would be asked to switch to alternative fuels for three months - November to January, adding the increasing gap between demand and supply forced the company to take this extreme step.
Company officials said under the three days a week gas outage plan, the company was saving 170 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd). They said the company could only ensure uninterrupted supply to residential consumers in winter if it resorted to gas load-shedding for industries.
In the peak winter season, gas shortage would increase to 600mmcfd in Punjab.
According to company officials, in winter 95 per cent of domestic consumers meet energy requirements through gas and only five per cent fulfilled their needs from electricity and other sources, shifting almost the entire burden to gas.
The Chairman of Energy Standing Committee of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association, Umer Nazar Shah, opposed the proposed supply cut to the industries and said the association would hold a meeting with the federal government on October 28 to persuade it to reverse the plan.
“The move is not acceptable to the industries of Punjab,” which will put at stake jobs of 15 million people, he said.
Shah feared that the textile industry would miss the annual export target as a result of the gas curtailment, adding textile mills were already facing a severe crisis due to power outages.
At present, industries and compressed natural gas (CNG) stations in Punjab are being supplied gas for only four days in a week.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 26th, 2011.
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