The Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) says that the only way the company can clear its backlog of millions of applications for new connections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the next three years is to increase its annual quota to 1.2 million domestic connections.
“The company has applied to the regulator — the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) — to increase its quota to 1.2 million connections per annum, as the existing up to 500,000 connections is insufficient to clear the backlog of 3.2 million applications,” an official source in the petroleum division (ministry of energy) told Dawn. “To clear this huge backlog within three years or so, we need to be allowed to provide 1.2 million connections annually.”
In a recent meeting held in Islamabad, the source said, several schemes related to new gas connections in the constituencies of parliamentarians were discussed. The SNGPL representatives were asked to complete these schemes at the earliest, while they told the participants about the number of schemes, pending applications, urgent cases, available capacity, quota etc.
“The participants were told that the backlog is increasing fast with an addition of 800,000 applications a year that the company is unable to clear due to various reasons, including the allocated quota of up to half a million connections annually,” the official said.
He further said the meeting was told that Ogra had been requested to approve the company’s application seeking an increase in the quota to 1.2 million.
SNGPL Managing Director Ali Javaid Hamdani said the over three million pending applications for new connections shows the massively increasing demand for gas in the country. “Like water, gas has now become an essential commodity for everyone in Pakistan,” he added.
Calling gas “white gold” (like oil is generally called black gold in the Arab world), Mr Hamdani said along with clearing the huge backlog, the company will also have to enhance its capacity simultaneously.