EIA hearing ‘Pakistan’s firstvirtual LNG pipeline project to fully comply with local, internationalenvironmental laws’

Karachi The participants of apublic hearing on Tuesday were given firm assurance that the operations ofPakistan’s first virtual LNG pipeline would fully comply with the local andinternational environmental safety standards. The SindhEnvironmental Protection Agency (SEPA) organised the public hearing at a hotelto invite comments from the concerned stakeholders on the Environmental ImpactAssessment Report of the proposed small scale LNG distribution network througha virtual pipeline. The LNG Easy (Pvt) Ltd is the proponent of the project thathas been undertaking similar operations in many regional countries includingexport of LNG from Singapore to Malaysia. The audience of thepublic hearing were informed that the proposed LNG receiving and offloading operationsfor the virtual pipeline will be carried out at Karachi Port. A mobile fillingplatform (MFP) will be used for the purpose as the virtual pipeline willcomprise of ISO containers/cryogenic bowsers whose movement will take placethrough a trucking operation. Initially small-scale LNG vessels of 10,000 to30,000 cubic meter size will be used for the project which will discharge LNGinto ISO Containers/Cryogenic Bowsers at the allocated berths of Karachi Portthrough the MFP. The entire operation will not require construction of anypermanent/fixed structure, re-gasification or storage facilities at the port.Three berths no 18, 19, 23 of the KPT are proposed to be used for the proposed. Saquib Ejaz Hussain,the environmental consultant of the project, informed the audience that theoperations of Pakistan’s first virtual pipeline would fully comply with theInternational Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from ships and similarother global conventions aimed at safeguarding the environment. He said the smallscale LNG distribution network would also fully comply with all the relevantregulatory regimes in the country as for the purpose all the necessary licensesand permissions had been obtained from the relevant authorities including theNational Highway Authority, Ministry of Energy, and Oil and Gas RegulatoryAuthority etc. LNG Easy Pakistan CEO,Yasir Hamid, informed the audience that the LNG is considered to be thecleanest fuel in the world in terms of protection of the environment. He said thatoffloading of a LNG vessel at the Karachi Port would take a maximum of three tofour days. He said that after offloading of the vessel, the KPT’s berths wouldbe available for any other regular port shipping operation. He said the virtualLNG pipeline would bring around 50 MMCFD gas to the country. He said the LNG to beimported through the proposed project would be immensely beneficial for powergeneration plants, new housing projects, industries, and off-grid areas wherenatural gas supply through the pipelined network was not possible. He said the virtualLNG pipeline would provide the most environment friendly domestic fuel optionfor many households in far-flung areas in the north of the country thatotherwise had to use firewood for cooking needs. Mr. Hamid said that noincident whatsoever had ever been reported anywhere in the world during supplyof LNG through the virtual pipeline. He said that in Chinaalone 30 million tonnes of LNG was supplied through the road transportationnetwork. He said the virtualpipeline would likely come into operation in the first quarter of 2022 andwould go a long way in overcoming acute shortage of natural gas in the countryduring winters. Syed Shaukat Abbas,who represented the National Logistics Cell (NLC) at the hearing, informed theaudience the NLC had been given the contract of trucking operation forPakistan’s LNG virtual pipeline as special trailers would be used for thepurpose as their drivers would also be given training for the new logisticsoperation. He said the NLC hadalready been involved in transportation of up to 55 per cent of domestic crudeoil produced in Pakistan. SEPA’s Deputy Director(Technical), Muhmmad Imran Sabir, who presided over the hearing, wished best ofluck to the upcoming virtual pipeline project while noting that all the LNGprojects so far undertaken in Pakistan had proven to be environment friendly. The meeting wasattended by Sheikh Imran Ul Haq, Engr. Meraj Khawaja, Engr. Muhammad Salmanfrom Ogra, Advocate Azra Iqbal, Naeem Qureshi, Engr. Nadeem Ashraf fromNational Forum for Environment, Brig (retd) Omer Ejaz, Masood Bhatty, FahadHameed, Naseem Bukhari, representatives from media, NGOs and Civil Society.

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