All provinces except Punjab self-sufficient in gas

All provinces except Punjab are self-sufficient in terms of gas production with Sindh producing the greatest quantity of natural gas, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) officials told the Senate Functional Committee on Problems of Less Developed Areas on Friday.

According to Ogra, Punjab, the most populous province, produces 92 million cubic feet (MMCF) of gas but it consumes 950 MMCF. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa produces 366 MMCF while it consumes 317 MMCF.

Sindh produces 2,225 MMCF and consumes 1,562 MMCF while Balochistan produces 651 MMCF against its consumption of 405 MMCF as per production and consumption records of June 2020.

Speaking at the meeting, committee chairman Senator Usman Khan Kakar said temperature in several districts of Balochistan drops to minus 17 degree Celsius in the winter season, beginning from the month of October.

“Gas from the province is supplied to all parts of the country for cooking purposes but in Balochistan, the natural gas is a life-saver as it protects against severe cold. However, natural gas is not supplied to many such areas of the province,” he said.

Except Quetta, the entire province is classified under the less developed areas, the chairman said, lamenting that the poor of the province are not given any relief while billionaires are given subsidies.

Ogra officials told the committee that as per prevalent practice, the authority decides the price of gas and then the government formulates a policy in that regard within forty days.

Gas price policies for summer and winter are different and charges are higher during summers. As per practice, Ogra sends the summary for gas prices to the Economic Coordination Council (ECC) of the Cabinet for final review. A summary proposing changes in gas charges would be sent later this month.

To a question of the committee chairman, Ogra officials said domestic consumers are charged according to certain slabs. Consumers using 01 to 50 units are charged Rs121; those using 51 to 100 units pay Rs300, those using 101 to 200 units pay Rs537 and consumers using more than 400 units pay Rs1460.

Nearly 95% of the gas consumers fall in the first three slabs. There are seven million customers of the Sui Northern Gas Pipeline (SNGL) and 70% of them pay a bill of less than Rs1,000.

The chairman proposed that there should be two slabs for the coldest areas of Pakistan; the first for the usage between 01 to 500 units and the other from 501 to 1,000 units. The gas supply companies must also ensure that gas pressure in such areas is stabilized, he added.

The committee also held detailed discussion on the proposal to give permanent job status to 15 engineers from Balochistan. The committee was informed that an advertisement has been issued for the recruitment and five applications have been received so far.

Related posts