Govt. intends to separate gas transmission pipelines from distribution network

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ISLAMABAD, Dec 01 (APP):The government has decided to separate gas transmission pipelines from the distribution network under its Ease-Of-Doing-Business (EODB) policy aimed at creating an environment of competition among public and private sector companies.

“Major restructuring on the pipelines side by converting them into ‘open access pipes’ is in the offing, as during the next two years, the government intends to separate transmission from distribution and open up the sector for use through private supplies and open access,” a senior official privy to petroleum sector developments told APP.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government, he said, was committed to completely overhaul this sector.

The official said the government’s footprint in the coming years in the energy as well as other sectors was going to shrink.

“It is not only the government’s stated policy, but fervent desire and intention,” he said adding that it was not the government job to decide who had the muscle, market clout and power to succeed. “It is for the market to decide.”

He said the Petroleum Division, as per the vision of prime minister, had devised a prudent strategy, which would eventually attract local and foreign investments. “Increased investment will ultimately create more and more job opportunities.”

He said the strategy was aimed at encouraging new players in the petroleum sector that would oust inefficient from the industry.

“An environment of competition will be ensured, ending the monopoly of individuals.”

Answering a question, he said Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) had executed as many as 39 pipeline projects during the last six years to reinforce transmission network in their respective operational areas.

The SNGPL and SSGC initiated around 16 and 23 infrastructure development projects respectively, “Out of which several have been completed fully and some partially till date,” the official said.

During the current fiscal year, he said the companies under the strategy to reinforce and expand their transmission network would lay additional 13,599 kilometers pipeline. The capacity of SNGPL and SSGC would be enhanced by laying additional 12,100 km and 1,499 km pipelines in their areas respectively by June 2020, he added.

The official said the companies would invest Rs7,161 million on transmission projects, Rs48,288 million on distribution projects and Rs18,556 million on other schemes bringing the total investment of around Rs74 billion.

While the companies were expecting that they would provide gas supply to approximately 430,695 new consumers during the fiscal year 2019-20, he said.

According to official data, the companies had laid 69 km transmission, 3,232 km distribution and 1,366 km service lines and connected 165 villages and towns with their network during July 2018 to February 2019.

Besides, they provided 428,305 additional gas connections including 425,404 domestic, 2,770 commercial and 131 industrial across the country.

The companies had laid 328 kilometers gas transmission network, 8,861 km distribution and 1,216 km service lines and connected 231 villages and towns to the gas network during the year 2017-18.

Pakistan has an extensive gas network of over 12,971 km transmission 139,827 km distribution and 37,058 services gas pipelines to cater the requirement of more than 9.6 million consumers across the country.