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RLNG consumption: dues against IPPs reach Rs 26.5 billion mark

The outstanding dues against Independent Power Plants on account of Regasified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG) consumption have reached Rs 26.5 billion mark since Pakistan started importing the commodity. According to the senior Petroleum Ministry officials, the IPPs using RLNG have so far paid Rs 1.5 billion while Rs 26.5 billion are outstanding against the power producers.

Based on the current international crude oil price of $62 per barrel, the LNG import at Karachi Port is costing Pakistan $8.10 per MMBTU. First cargo of LNG was arrived at Port Qasim on March 26, 2015 transported by the Floating Storage and Re-gasification Unit (FSRU) instead of a normal LNG carrier and since then Pakistan has imported six cargos.

The non-payments by the IPPS caused a two weeks delay in arriving of the sixth shipment which was expected to dock at Port Qasim on June 30 but arrived on July 11. Sources said that at pre4sent LNG was the cheapest liquefied fuel being used by the power houses as it was costing $12.7 per mmbtu against Light Sulpher Oil (LSFO) cost of $13.74 per mmbtu, High Sulpher Oil (HSFO) at $ 14.7 and High Speed Diesel (HSD) at $ 18 per mmbtu.

So far IPPS based on the system of Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) have to pay Rs 14 billion to the utility while another Rs6 billion are outstanding against power houses based on other networks. After the commence of RLNG import the government restore gas supply to the CNG stations of the Punjab as a result the masses in Punjab get a great relief as CNG is still 28 to 30 percent cheaper as compared with petrol.

The CNG sector claims Rs 450 billion investments in the industry including investment in stations / CNG kits and about 450,000 skilled / unskilled workers directly and indirectly. The industry, if fully functional, serves fuel requirement of approximately 3.7 million vehicles. Currently CNG sector stands at least priority i.e. 5th in gas supply order and consequent to this. CNG stations in Punjab remained completely shut since November-14 to June 1015.

In addition there was 3-4 days supply in Sindh, whereas CNG stations in KPK and Balochistan were fully operational round the week. Pakistan is to strike a long term LNG deal with Qatar which has assured Pakistan of supplying sustainable LNG for 15 years.

The FSRU, which has been hired by LNG terminal operator, Engro Elengy Terminal Limited (EPTL), is transporting 3,000 million cubic feet LNG. "We are utilising FSRU because Qatar was not ready to send gas to Pakistan on the plea that channel depth was not according to requirement. As per agreement with Engro Pakistan will have to pay $272,000 per day to the EPTL if it fails in bringing the commodity, so to avert the penalty we used FSRU and saved $25 millions," an official of the Inter State Gas System said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015