LAHORE - Advisor to Prime Minister on Petroleum & Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain has said that severity of gas loadshedding is not as serious in other provinces as it is in Punjab, which is not because of mismanagement but due to political recons.

He was addressing a press conference at the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Punjab office. Central chairman APTMA Ahsan Bashir, Chairman APTMA Punjab Shahzad Ali Khan, group leader APTMA Gohar Ejaz, former Minister for Textile Rana Farooq Saeed and APTMA members were also present on the occasion.

Asim said that textile industry in Punjab would be provided with six hours a day gas supply during peak hours to mitigate the impact of electricity loadshedding throughout the month of January.

Dr Asim said the month of January would be the toughest one so far as gas supply is concerned and some adjustments would be need of the hour. “I have met with all the stakeholders including industry and SNGPL and decided to ensure six hours a day and 36 hours a week gas supply during peak hours to mitigate the impact of electricity loadshedding on the industry.” Also, he said, gas would be supplied to the processing industry. “The industry in Punjab is very close to my heart, which is in a state of crisis due to gas loadshedding. There is an urgent need of equitable distribution of energy in the country. Some bad policy decisions of the past are behind the prevailing discrimination, which required an alternate solution without delay,” he said.

He said, “We are producing 4bcfd gas against a demand of 8bcfd. Bringing in more gas to the system takes time but we have formulated lucrative policies under the Petroleum Policy, Tight Gas Policy, Low BTU Policy, Flat Gas Policy, Shale Gas Policy and Marginal Gas Policy. The possibility of shale gas is high in Pakistan and drilling to this effect is likely to take in near future. It would ease down pressure on supply side and the phase of bad policy making would come to an end.”

He said there is excess use of gas due to high use of CNG, which needs to be corrected forthwith, as there is a need of discouraging heavy vehicles to use it. “Low price of CNG has increased its use countrywide. I have directed the ministry to separate distribution of gas from transmission both on the SNGPL and the SSGC system to check gas theft,” he said. He said laying down of new gas pipelines for domestic consumers has a total impact of 200MMCFD, which would keep on increasing with further addition to the lines. This problem, he said, can only be overcome by importing gas. “Every domestic user is enjoying a subsidy of Rs300 as a rebate on the use of gas up to 300MMCFD therefore it is a wrong impression that there is no gas subsidy in Pakistan,” he said.

“There are a few pipelines redundant on the SNGPL network, bringing a constraint of 1bcf on the system. CNG usage has increased due to low price of gas by the Supreme Court and majority of the owners have got stay against government taxes,” he said.

He said LNG would be imported to meet gas shortage and work on Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline would start during tenure of present regime, as Iran has already committed $500 million to Pakistan for the project. “There is no pressure on Pakistan regarding gas project with Iran,” he said.