LAHORE: Gas crisis worsened in Punjab on Sunday after the shortfall surged to 400MMCFD, forcing the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL) to divert to the domestic sector a supply of about 275MMCFD, out of over 400MMCFD liquefied natural gas (LNG) meant for the industrial, power and CNG sectors.
Although the situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is not as dire as in Punjab, consumers have started complaining about low gas pressure there as well.
The SNGPL claimed to have launched a campaign against those using compressors to extract gas in parts of Punjab and KP, causing low gas pressure.
At present, the company supplies around 1,400 to 1,500MMCFD to the domestic sector, which needs supplies ranging between 1,800 and 1,900MMCFD to meet the demand of about five million consumers in Punjab and KP.
LNG supply to industrial, power and CNG sectors cut to meet domestic demand
“Following severe cold, the situation appears to be tough these days. The shortfall has surged to 400MMCFD amid a demand of 1,800-1,900MMCFD, even though we have curtailed LNG supply to two major fertiliser plants, as many power plants and the CNG sector, and diverted it to the domestic sector,” SNGPL managing director Amjad Latif told Dawn.
The fertiliser plants — Fatima Fertiliser (Pvt) in Sheikhupura and Pak Arab Fertilisers (Pvt) in Multan — consume 90 to 100MMCFD of gas.
Likewise, gas supply to the Rousch Power Plant, the Abdul Hakim Power Plant (in Kabirwala and Khanewal respectively) and the Liberty Power Plant, in Mirpur Mathelo, has been suspended for an indefinite period.
“The Rousch Power Plant was being supplied 90 to 95MMCFD while Liberty consumes 40 to 45MMCFD… However, the supply to Liberty Power Plant has been curtailed on account of non-payment of bills… and not for overcoming the gas crisis,” the MD said.
He said the supply to other industries, including textiles, continued. The textile sector and other industries that have switched over to LNG are being supplied 100 to 150MMCFD.
But the supply to different industrial units in Punjab, which have not shifted to LNG despite repeated requests, was curtailed last month.
“The situation is really problematic these days and we are trying hard to ensure gas supply to at least domestic consumers during winter,” Mr Latif said.
To a question, he said the use of compressor by some consumers to extract gas was a headache for the company as it made it difficult to keep pressure. During the last 30 days or so, over 3,000 consumers in Punjab and KP have been caught red-handed for using compressors.
The SNGPL has cut connection of such consumers for three months.
“Keeping in view the situation, we have asked the federal government to amend the laws and provide judicial powers to the SNGPL to enable it to take stern legal action against those using compressors to extract gas,” the MD said.
After curtailment of gas supply, power generation of over 600MW by the plants (400 by Rousch and 235 by Liberty) has been stopped, leading to an increase in the electricity shortfall and enhancing loadshedding hours in parts of the country.