Gas shortage turns acute
Low gas pressure has irked consumers who are unable to even cook food as the gas shortage crossed 1.6 billion Cubic Feet (BCF) per day, Saturday. In the absence of natural gas people are using Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) as an alternative but the LPG marketing companies have taken the commodity price to Rs 220 per kg in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2013
According to a Petroleum Ministry official, at present the country's gas consumers are confronted with a serious energy crisis as all the sectors of national economy are facing gas suspension or load-shedding. To provide uninterrupted gas supply to domestic consumers the government has suspended gas supply to CNG and industrial sectors in Punjab, while in Sindh there is two-day a week gas load-shedding of CNG.
Total gas production of Pakistan at present stands at 4.3 BCF against total managed demand of 6 BCF. According to the official, the consumers on the system of Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL), especially in Punjab are facing 1.25 BCF shortage of gas as a result the management has been forced to completely suspend gas supply to the industrial sector, besides a six-day gas suspension to the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations and no gas supply to fertiliser industry.
Natural gas plays a dominant role in the country's energy mix as from power houses to household each sector largely depends on the supply of gas. Gas supply to industrial sector in Islamabad and Punjab including Faisalabad, Bahawalpur, Sargodha, Multan, Gujranwala, Gujrat and Rawalpindi has been suspended since December 22, 2012.
The LPG marketing companies are selling a domestic gas cylinder of 15-kg at Rs 2,500, which the distributors are selling at Rs 2,800 or at Rs 220 per kg. The country's local LPG production is around 1,200 tons per day against total demand of 2,000 tons per day. The gap between the demand and supply is met through import but most of the time LPG marketing companies import LPG and sell local produce on high prices.
Oil and gas production has registered a steady increase over the last few years on the back of successful exploratory efforts of the companies. The production of oil during 2011-12 stood at 67,140 barrels per day, while gas production reached a record level of 4.259 billion cubic feet per day.