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ISLAMABAD: Unlike Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), gas consumers in Sindh and Balochistan are facing immense difficulty due to the shortage of gas, days after the federal government promised it would ensure gas supply three times a day to households for cooking.

On November 12, Minister for Energy Hammad Azar stated at the floor of the National Assembly that the government would ensure gas supply three times a day to households for cooking.

On the other hand, an official of the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL), on the condition of anonymity, said that demand for the utility had suddenly increased due to the operation of thousands of geysers in the franchise areas of Sindh and Balochistan.

Extreme cold in Balochistan had led to the rise in the demand for gas.

Sindh is witnessing a severe gas crisis and it intensified further as the SSGCL suspended gas supply to non-export industries and CNG stations. Export-oriented industries are also facing low or no gas drop problems, a member of the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FPCCI) to Business Recorder.

Due to the crisis, gas supply to private power plants, including non-export industries, and CNG stations has been suspended in Sindh.

Pursuant to decision of the Cabinet on Winter Load Management, gas/RLNG supply of CNG sector on SNGPL’’s network is being suspended with effect from December 6, 2021 till further orders, however, CNG stations in KP will remained suspended in the evening.

Many domestic consumers of the SSGC have been complaining about low gas pressure or not getting any gas at all since the beginning of winter in the city.

Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah in a letter sent to PM Imran Khan had conveyed his deep concern over incessant and prolonged gas outages across Sindh, saying that gas production from Sindh is between 2,700-3,000 mmcfd, while the SSGC was supplying less than 1,200 mmcfd to the province.

A member of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) told Business Recorder on condition of anonymity that the industrial fraternity of Karachi is already suffering because of high cost of doing business, and suspension of gas supply would prove detrimental for the industry and worsen the economic crisis.

Energy Minister Hammad Azar stated in annual event of petroleum engineers that local gas flow has dropped from 2,000 mmcfd to 800 mmcfd and the government is going to legislate on the gas issue.

An official of the SNGPL, on the condition of anonymity told Business Recorder that in Punjab and the KP, there was no gas deficit as temperature yet to severe and only CNG stations were closed. He further said that there was no gas shortage in the system and low or no gas dropped was witness in some parts due to old gas pipelines and use of illegal gas compressors.

The government has approved the gas supply mechanism for winter 2021-22, commenced from December 2021 to January 31, 2022, according to which, industrial sector’s dedicated consumers of power sector would get uninterrupted gas supply.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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