LNG terminal to suspend gas supply

Pakistan’s industrial, commercial and household customers were set to face partial suspension of gas supplies from Saturday in the wake of emergency shutdown of Pakistan GasPort LNG import terminal for repair and maintenance.

“GasPort’s LNG terminal, located at Port Qasim, is scheduled for emergency shutdown to undergo repair and maintenance from 12 noon on Saturday,” Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC), which facilitates the transportation of LNG from the port to upcountry areas, said in a statement on Friday.

Pakistan has only two re-gasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG) terminals at present. Suspension of gas supplies from one of them will cause shortage of fuel for a number of end-consumers including power producers, fertiliser manufacturers, CNG fuel stations and residential areas.

The two terminals facilitate the import of an average 1,200 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) of gas. The shutdown of the terminal for about two days will slash supplies of imported gas to half.

It will be for the third time in four months that a terminal will suspend gas supplies for repair and maintenance purposes. Earlier, the Engro LNG import terminal was closed in June and September for overhaul, it was learnt.

“GasPort would repair its 30-inch diametre pipeline during the shutdown,” SSGC added.

“Supplies from the terminal during the shutdown will fall to zero,” it said. “Accordingly, the supply of RLNG to SSGC (for its consumers in Sindh and Balochistan) will halve to 75 mmcfd from regular supply of 150 mmcfd.”

Pakistan GasPort and Engro LNG dispatch over 85% of the imported gas to Punjab using SSGC and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) networks.

SSGC would make sure that gas supply to its priority customers, including residential and commercial consumers, continue uninterrupted despite the cut in RLNG supplies.

However, gas supply to Karachi-based power utility K-Electric (KE) would fall by 20 mmcfd to 150 mmcfd from 11pm on Friday (September 24) to 11pm on Sunday. The power company is usually supplied 170 mmcfd.

“K-Electric has been informed in this regard (so that it could arrange alternative fuels for power generation),” it said.

Sindh Nooriabad Power Company (SNPC) and Fauji Fertiliser Bin Qasim Limited (FFBL) would face partial suspension of gas supply from Friday to Sunday, the gas utility firm said.

The gas supplies to CNG filling stations on SSGC’s network would remain suspended from late hours on Friday to 8am on Monday – for 9 hours longer than other consumers.

Uninterrupted supply to export industries will be ensured on Saturday and Sunday. However, supplies to non-export oriented industrial sector would be slashed only if the gas load shedding worsens, according to SSGC.

The share of RLNG stands at around 26% (or 1,200 mmcfd) in total gas supplies of 4,600 mmcfd. Domestic oil and gas exploration firms produce additional 3,400 mmcfd from local fields

SSGC supplies gas to consumers in Sindh and Balochistan while Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) transmits gas to consumers in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Pakistan’s reliance on imported RLNG has been on the rise following depletion in local reserves and no major discovery of gas deposits in the past two decades in Pakistan. The country is likely to add a third LNG import terminal in 12 to 18 months, it was learnt.

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