KARACHI – Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources has said that the government would resolve the issue of energy crisis till upcoming winter season.

While addressing the leadership and members of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry here on Saturday, he said that 1 billion cubic feet (bcf) of natural gas per day from different fields will be added to the system by next winter (2013).

“The good news is that gas supply will be improved in the country in next one year. These fields included Sui, Sawan and Sujawal. OGDC will enhance its production from 900 mmcg to 1.4 bcf from Sui field, making a room for 500 mmcf of gas by mid June 2013, he added. He said that increase in gas from Sawan and Latif gas fields will be ready in next 6 to 8 months.

Dr Asim said that the industry will face gas shortage this winter, but things will be better in next winter. Similarly, he said, crude oil production will be increased from 60,000 barrel per day to 100,000 barrel per day next year. The domestic consumption is 380,000 barrel per day, he noted.

“We need to set up new refineries very soon to process our own crude to reduce dependency on imported petroleum products”, he added. Responding to a demand, he said that work was in process on low BTU value gas, tight gas and stranded gas fields in Sindh. These gas fields will be on line before winter, he observed.

He said the government will implement 18th Amendment regarding exploration of oil and gas fields in letter and spirit. He said that title of field and lease will belong to provinces while profit will be with exploration and production companies.

He pointed out that power of allocation of gas was still with the federal government. He observed that natural resources should be equitably distributed in the country. Dr Asim said that the present government has introduced moratorium on new connections for industrial units and new housing schemes and CNG sector. He was of the opinion that return should be calculated on gas sale prices.

Referring to gas infrastructure development cess (GIDC), he said that the money received under this head is not coming to the government. It is going to specific account for the upcoming projects. Responding to the demand for relief to industrial units, the Advisor said that a relief of Rs 34 has been provided to the industry. I will try my best to provide whatever cut is possible for the industry, he noted.

Online adds: Dr Asim Hussain has said that only parliament could decide about providing subsidy on the prices of petroleum products.

“The government is already facing the deficit of Rs 30 billion to 40 billion because of providing subsidy on electricity bill,” the advisor said. He said that that earning from tax collection was not sufficient for the government to provide any relief to the masses on the petroleum products. He added that OGRA not the government determined the prices of petroleum products. “Now only parliament can take any decision about providing subsidy on petroleum products,” the advisor maintained.