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Domestic Consumers to Suffer Gas Loadshedding in Winter

by Newsweek Pakistan

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Gas will be provided for cooking ‘only’, while power plant needs would be covered with the use of furnace oil

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government has decided to restrict gas supplies to domestic consumers this winter to cope with a looming shortfall, while deciding to maintain supply for the power and fertilizer sectors.

According to a Gas Load Management Plan submitted to the Cabinet Committee on Energy on Thursday, domestic consumers would only be provided gas supplies thrice daily “for cooking only.” It said that a “bare minimum” supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) would be made available to domestic consumers “keeping in view the operational stability of the system.”

Meanwhile, power plants on the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) system would be provided LNG in line with their consumption of last year and an additional 5 percent supply. Any deficit, it said, would be covered through the use of furnace oil. Gas supply for “dedicated” consumers that are not operated through SNGPL, it said, were expected to remain stable with supply and demand to range between 1,061 and 1,200 million cubic feet.

Fertilizer plants on both Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) and SNGPL systems, the meeting was informed, were expected to operate uninterrupted. Authorities said that any local gas or imported LNG diverted from captive power plants of the exports sector—after they had switched to the power grid—would also be supplied to the export industry. According to the briefing given to the cabinet committee, LNG availability would reduce in the months of January-March.

The total availability of gas from domestic supplies stands at 3,300 mmcfd, with LNG imports expected to add another 1,000 mmcfd coming into the system. On average, Pakistan has a demand of 6,500-7,000 mmcfd in winters against an available supply of 4,300 mmcfd.

The cabinet committee decided that extensive media campaigns would be run by the gas companies and the government to encourage conservation of gas and promote cheaper incentivized electricity for water and space heating.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, last month, warned that a gas shortage was looming, adding that authorities would likely need to increase tariffs to overcome a fiscal deficit. The situation has been worsened by a global gas price hike, which has resulted in Pakistan being unable to secure necessary LNG supplies at affordable rates.

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