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Country is facing 3BCFD gas shortage, admits minister

Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said that the country was facing serious gas shortage, which according to him is around 3 Billion Cubic Feet per Day (BCFD). The CNG sector has remained an important stakeholder in the national development which cannot be ignored under any set of circumstances.

Speaking at a conference titled 'My Fuel CNG 2013' organised by the All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) here on Monday, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said, "I would like not to hide anything from the Pakistani masses and it is a reality that the country was facing worst energy crisis and the only short-term solution is import of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) on fast track". By November 1, 2014, the country will have first LNG import shipment of 400 Million Cubic Feet per Day (MMCFD) and by mid 2015 the country will be importing 2 BCFD.

Abbasi, while rejecting some media reports, stated that Pakistan is committed to the completion of all imported gas projects, including construction of Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline, Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline projects. The minister once again stated that the government would renegotiate gas price with Iran under IP project. "I wanted to make it clear for all those propaganda spreaders who are hatching different conspiracies against IP pipeline project that government of Pakistan is committed with the construction of the project and as per agreement both the countries can renegotiate any clause of the project at any time", the minister maintained.

He said that the country was facing an estimated direct loss of over $2 billion per annum due to gas shortage, which is the result of delaying the construction of IP, TAPI and initiating LNG import.

While lauding the APCNGA's move to import LNG, he said that the government is ready to facilitate CNG body in importing LNG, which will help reduce energy crisis. He said that the government would cooperate in all the possible ways with APCNGA if they are providing a business model based on market prices and urged all the stakeholders of the country to help government in dealing with energy crisis.

The government will leave no stone unturned to promote the Rs 450 billion CNG sector, which is providing jobs to millions, helping reduce oil import bill, keeping environment clean, and contributing billions in taxes while serving the poor, he said. The federal minister said that LNG is the best possible solution to the energy crisis in the short-term while the Iranian gas is the cheapest one.

He said that no country in the world can undermine the importance of the CNG, adding that we are trying to add two billion cubic feet of the gas to the system within two years. Abbasi noted that demand on natural gas has been rising while the production is not enough to satisfy all the sectors consuming gas. In such a difficult situation, the support lent by APCNGA is highly praiseworthy, he observed.

He said that APCNGA is an efficient and effective body, which has transformed Pakistan into world's No 1 CNG consuming country, wherein over 50 percent of the vehicles have been converted on environmentally-friendly and economical fuel. The minister reiterated that government will not discriminate against any sector or allow closure of any venture.

He said that nation has been paying price of the inaction of the former governments which has paved way for the crisis, while different private organisations, NGOs and long-drawn-out legal disputes have also played their role. Those who delayed power projects as well as important decisions have damaged the national economy and they are criminals but there is no law to try them, he lamented.

He said that the incumbent government is transparent, which can commit mistakes, but have no ill-intentions, adding that we don't believe in refusal to face reality and burying head in sand like an ostrich. Earlier, Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha, Chairman Supreme Council APCNGA and others said that CNG industry is the backbone of economy which must be promoted. They said that import of LNG and enabling policies will attract an additional investment of Rs 350 billion in the sector guaranteeing clean environment, millions of jobs and billions in revenue.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013


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Banking Review 2013

Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-2.380 bln
Exports $2.181 bln
Imports $4.561 bln
WeeklyNovember 13, 2014
Reserves $13.268 bln