ISLAMABAD - National Assembly was informed Monday that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was home to illegal gas connections, a network sprawling over an area of 1,600 kilometers, more than the distance between Islamabad and Karachi that is 1460 kilometers.

Replying to a query, Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told in a written reply that the law and order condition of the province was complex that has hampered the gas company’s ability to take effective measures. Out of the 1,600 kilometers long network of illegal connections, the authorities have managed to disconnect only 61 kilometers of gas pipeline, arguing the provincial government led by Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) was not cooperating with federal authorities when it comes to registration of FIR against the culprits.

The house was told that the federal government has requested KP government for registering 727 FIRs or first investigation report, against persons identified by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) or the gas company.

As far illegal domestic gas connections are concerned, Peshawar, the provincial capital, leads in the illegal activity where 17,000 illegal connections have been identified followed by Charsadda (1500) and Mardan (500). Request for registration of 563 FIRs has been made in the territory of Peshawar.

The house was informed that 91.2 per cent losses are in law and order affected areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa having volumetric impact of 9279 mmcf and volume of 4615 mmcf.

However, federal authorities have dislodged a total of 24630 illegal gas connections in the province detected in domestic and commercial sectors sending 35 persons behind the bars for gas theft.

The hint that provincial government is not cooperating in registering FIRs against those involved in the theft, there is no surety whether the government would plug the whopping gas losses caused by the illegal practice.

To another question that petrol is being sold in country at high price compared to other neighbouring countries, the minister clarified that price of petrol per liter in the country is lowest in the region.

He said petrol price was much higher in countries like India (114 per liter), Bangladesh (125 P/L), China (113.4 (P/L), Nepal (106 P/L) and Sri Lanka (97 P/L) compared to Pakistan where the price of the commodity is Rs77.7 per liter.

To another query regarding steps taken by the government to improve the quality of gasoline, the minister said the introduction of Mono Grade 87 Octane Motor Gasoline has eliminated the menace of adulteration of super grade gasoline with regular grade petrol.

He said Pakistan was gradually adopting Euro fuel quality standards. “The current specifications for gasoline in the country stipulate the sulphur content (0.05 max by weight) and benzene content (5 percent maximum by volume) which is consistent with Euro II standards,” the minister said.

The house was informed that since March this year when LNG terminal was commissioned, seven cargoes of the liquefied natural gas has been arrived in the country to meet energy demand.

The minister confessed that there existed a huge gap between demand and supply of natural gas.

“In order to bridge the gap, gas load management is being carried out in power, industrial, fertilizer and CNG sectors”.

The National Assembly was informed that Energy Book for the year 2015 would be published upon receipt/completion of energy data from various sources. The book contains data for fiscal year and as per practice, new edition is published in first quarter of next year.

The minister said the government has taken steps to explore new oil and gas deposits in Balochistan for which 19 new exploration licences have been granted to companies including PPL and OGDCL…ends