SSGC, CNG associations could not reach consensus


Farhan Zaheer April 27, 2010

KARACHI: A meeting held between the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) and representatives of trade bodies and the compressed natural gas industry ended without any conclusion on Tuesday.

They discussed closure of CNG stations for one day in a week but could not reach a consensus. They proposed two days - Sunday and Friday – for the weekly closure. Another meeting will be held on Wednesday morning. Representatives of the leading trade bodies of Sindh and Balochistan including the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), the Sindh Industrial and Trading Estate (SITE), the Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI), the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) and major CNG associations were present in the meeting.

CNG Station Owners Association Chairman Malik Khuda Bakhsh said that the CNG sector had already committed to the prime minister in Islamabad for one-day off in a week. “Our demand is simple. We will decide the off day, but we want required gas pressure in the remaining six days of the week,” he said. He said the one-day closure will continue until July 1. If electricity production improves, it will come to an end, he added. CNG Dealers Association Chairman Abdul Sami Khan said: “We oppose the weekly one-day closure. There is no gas shortage in Sindh and Balochistan, then why should the CNG industry support this decision.”

Despite all the reservations, the government has decided to implement the one-day closure decision. “Now the committee only needs to decide the day for closing CNG stations,” he said. All the gas saved by the SSGC will be diverted to the power sector in Sindh including the KESC, Jamshoro power plant and Kotri power station, to improve power supply to Karachi and interior Sindh. Besides, gas supply to the fertiliser sector has already been reduced by 20 per cent, an SSGC press release said. Zubair Motiwala, Adviser to the Sindh Chief Minister on Investment, requested the trade bodies present in the meeting to cooperate with the SSGC and the government in saving 10 million cubic feet of gas per day by closing CNG stations and 40 mmcfd by closing industries for a day on rotating basis.

Razzak Hashim Paracha, Chairman Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI) who was also present in the meeting, said that the industry in Karachi was getting enough power from the KESC and power outages were not a problem. The gas saved from the industries will be 50 mmcfd, which will be used for generating electricity and domestic consumers of Sindh and Balochistan will be the beneficiaries. A committee was constituted comprising DMD SSGC and chairmen of CNG associations to decide on the exact day of the shutdown.

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