ABDUL RASHEED AZAD
ISLAMABAD: Dr Asim Hussain, Prime Minister’s Special Advisor on Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, on Tuesday claimed that gas shortfall in the country would be eliminated in the next two years as the government was making all possible efforts to overcome the crisis.
Addressing a press conference here, Asim also claimed that by the end of November 2013, the government would enhance gas supply by one Billion Cubic Feet per Day (bcfd) through local resources.
He said the government would not change current mechanism of weekly price fixation of petroleum products, adding that all over the world fuel prices are being fixed on a daily basis.
Criticising the statement of Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, leader of Opposition in the National Assembly, who said that if PML-N came into power, petroleum prices would be reviewed after three months. Asim said Nisar and his party wanted to push Pakistan back into dark ages.
He claimed that gas shortfall would end in next two years as the government was making all possible efforts to end gas crisis.
He said after the approval of Petroleum Policy 2012 gas exploration and production companies have accelerated exploration activities. Recently ENI discovered a gas reservoir. He announced that PSO would establish an oil refinery in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, adding that Attock Oil Refinery was unable to refine all the crude oil of the KP and Potohar region.
He said Pakistan’s daily oil consumption at present is 3,800,000 barrels per day of which over 65,000 barrel is local production, while remaining was being imported. Asim stated that by the end of 2013 local crude oil production would touch 87,000 barrels per day.
He said if talks for LNG import with the US companies conclude successfully, Pakistan would be able to import 2 to 3 billion MF of gas.
The advisor said a summary proposing import of 1 bcfd LNG is being presented to the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Wednesday. Of this, the import of 200 million mf LNG would be for short-term and 800 million mf for long-term use.
The minister announced that the government will convert Oil and Gas Development Company Limited, Petro Research & Training Institute into a degree awarding unit which later would be given the status of university.
He added that oil and gas exploration companies would provide all necessary funds for the planned institute, adding that students would also be provided jobs in the petroleum sector.
He said the ministry has finalized a plan according to which Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations would gradually be phased out, saying that in Pakistan even Parado and other luxury vehicles were using CNG. “If a person can buy Rs 10 million vehicle, he should run it on petrol instead of CNG,” the minister said.
Regarding other imported gas projects including Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI), he said IP has entered an advanced stage while General Sales Purchase Agreement (GSPA) of TAPI has also concluded, but these projects would take time, especially TAPI.
Asim said OGDCL will drill 36 oil/gas fields by the end of next year, adding that since 2008 the government has added some 600 mmcfd gas into the system. He said nearly 10 percent of gas in the existing gas fields is depleting every year.