Govt pondering over steps to overcome future gas shortages

ISLAMABAD: In a bid to overcome the gas shortages across the country, the government is planning various steps like imports, establishing LNG terminals by private sector, reducing gas theft and establishing the North South Gas Pipeline (NSGP).

Top official sources in background discussions told The News that the government has embarked upon a plan to deal with energy shortages and ensuring smooth oil and gas production and supply to commercial, industrial and domestic consumers. Import of LNG from abroad and speed up its supply to consumers and maximum utilization of LNG terminals through the private sector were underway. It is expected that the first cargo imported by the private sector will reach Pakistan next year. Third Party Access Rule (TPA) to give access to the private sector for LNG import at lower cost with maximum utilization of LNG terminals has already been implemented. Similarly, amendments in Rules for Ease of Doing Business (abolishing 10 unnecessary steps out of 24) have been implemented to encourage investment in petroleum sector that will go a long way to ensure creating balance in demand and supply of LNG.

The Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) has already approved three years UFG Reduction Plan and consultations to implement the plan with the World Bank and Asian Development Bank are underway to boost the energy sector in a big way.

Similarly, deliberations and consultations with all stakeholders are in progress to devise a multi-dimensional LNG policy to remove hindrances in import and supplies of LNG. In the oil sector, various initiatives for bringing smoothness in supplies are also underway and as the first step, Platts based fortnightly petrol and diesel pricing formula has been implemented. Besides a new price fixing formula of 15 days import of Euro V fuels has been allowed and the first phase of implementation Euro V petrol is underway while import of Euro V Diesel will begin from January 2021.

Implementation on a plan is also underway for enhanced indigenous oil and gas resources and improving its supply infrastructure. Work on multigrade/dualization of the existing Karachi-Sheikhupura White Oil Pipeline (WOP) is in progress and its first phase after completion is in testing phase that will be fully operational soon. Work on the second phase from Taru Jabba to Macike of WOP is also underway. Similarly, a plan to set up two new modern oil refineries and upgradation plan of existing refineries is also underway to increase refined oil produce supplied from indigenous and imported crude oil. To ensure gas stocks for meeting growing energy demand, it has been decided to develop underground gas storage facilities throughout the country. Feasibility report of the project is expected in May next year while construction work will start in August 2021.

The government is on its way to removing the remaining hurdles on NSGP & TAPI mega gas pipeline projects and import of gas from these projects and it is expected that physical work on NSGP will start during the next year.

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