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ISLAMABAD: The Unaccounted for Gas (UfG) of both gas utility companies - Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) is growing alarmingly, despite spending billions to arrest the losses, a parliamentary panel Tuesday observed with serious concern.

A sub-committee of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was informed that the UfG of SNGPL reached around 11.9 percent and 16 percent of SSGC in financial year 2020-21 against the permissible limit of seven percent.

Raja Riaz Ahmad convened the meeting of the committee, which examined the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) Audit Report Receipts and Public Sector Enterprises 2018-2019.

Member Committee Hina Rabbani Khar said the percentage of UfG has been increasing each year dangerously and the consumers have to made payment of insufficiencies of the gas system.

The audit official pointed out the management of the SNGPL failed to control the UfG losses, despite incurring an expenditure of Rs1 billion as shown in the Final Revenue Requirements for financial year 2016-17.

UfG losses at overall company level increased from 7.85 percent in 2016-17 to 10.38 percent in 2017-18.

The management spent an amount of Rs6.8 billion on two UfG reduction plants but UfG losses remained 11 percent to 13 percent from the financial year 2010-11 to 2016-17, resulted in huge loss of Rs105 billion due to excessive UfG losses.

Managing Director SNGPL Aamir Tufail informed the committee that the UfG losses in term of percentage increased to 11.9 percent over previous years; however, he said these are distribution losses, while transmission gas losses are still low.

He blamed gas theft in Karak (Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa) for the losses.

"Out of the total losses of the SNGPL system, 8.2 percent is of various regions and rest is of Karak," he said.

He said the SNGPL and the provincial government decided to invest Rs9 billion in development, and provision of gas in Karak, in phases, to bring down the UfG percentage there.

"The SNGPL already spent Rs1.9 billion in Karak and rest will be spent in other phase," he assured the committee.

The UfG of the SSGC system also reached 16 percent, which stood at 13.29 percent in financial year 2016-17, 13.23 in financial year 2017-18, and 13.98 percent in 2018-19, despite spending Rs6 billion on reduction plan of UfG.

The official of the SSGCL had a different version.

He said that the UfG could not control and had no exact figure of losses as both the registered and the unregistered consumers were committing theft because of slab system.

"Around 98 percent gas meters in Balochistan and other regions of the SSGC are tempered to maintain the gas consumption at lower slab," he added.

In Balochistan, he said 30 percent UfG was recorded out of total losses, which were around Rs32 billion.

One more reason, he said that the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) had abolished relief in percentage of UfG against terrorism and law and order situation, which also contributed an increase in UfG.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020