ISLAMABAD, Jul 4 (APP): Minister of State for Petroleum Dr Musadik Malik on Monday said the incumbent coalition government was making efforts to explore all possible ways to ensure the availability of gas for meeting the country’s energy needs.
“We are reaching out to all [potential] countries, asking them to provide us gas either through pipelines or Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) cargoes. Besides, we are planning to meet the ever-increasing gas demand of the peak winter season,” he said while addressing a news conference after the Federal Cabinet meeting along with other ministers and Advisor to PM on Kashmir Affairs Qamar Zaman Kaira.
He said it was unfortunate that the previous Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government did not procure LNG cargoes that were available at the reduced rate of $4 per MMBTU (Metric Million British Thermal Unit) two years ago, which now cost $ 40.
“It means that now per LNG cargo cost is $140 million, which was available at $12.5 million two years ago for 2-4 years, but the PTI government did not pay any heed towards buying the commodity.”
Dr Musadik said it was beyond understanding why the PTI government did not arrange the LNG when regasification terminals were available, whom the country was making ‘capacity payment’ but those were not utilized.
But now despite the exorbitant price, he said, the commodity was not available even after floating several tenders for the term of 6-8 months.
Last year, he said, the PTI government had bought LNG worth around Rs 176 billion and provided the expensive commodity to domestic consumers, adding there was no such precedent in the world that Rs 4,000 LNG was provided at Rs 200-500 to the consumers. “All this was happening, and now we are in great trouble and exploring new ways …”
Commenting on the prevailing gas supply situation, he said on the network of Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited around 670 million cubic feet of gas was available against the demand of 1,170 million cubic feet to meet the domestic consumers’ requirements in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa only. “But, the PTI government did not make any planning for the reasons unknown.”
He recalled that during the last Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government, there was a minor gap between demand and supply of gas as it had installed two fast-track LNG terminals for regasification of 1,200 Metric Million Cubic Feet per Day (MMCFD) gas and signed long term LNG import agreements.