Sindh trying to politicize ‘gas issue’ by presenting distorted figures: Nadeem

ISLAMABAD, Nov 25 (APP): Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Petroleum Division, Nadeem Babar on Wednesday said the government was going to bring major and holistic reforms in pipeline sector in next 2-3 years.

Addressing a press conference with Minister for Information and Broadcasting Syed Shibli Faraz, the SAPM said the cabinet has also issued direction to the Petroleum Division in this regard.

He said Memorandum of Understanding has already been signed with Russia in last week for laying North-South Pipeline. He expressed hope that physical work on the project would start in February and March next year.

The SAPM said unfortunately for the last few weeks, a negative media campaign was being run against the government about Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) through fudged statistics.

The past government introduced LNG in the country and signed long term contracts for its import besides declaring it as petroleum product under the Parliament Act, he said.

Baber said the present government has imported 35 LNG cargo ships since September 2018 to November 2020 (in last 27 months) at 20 per cent low rate as compared to expensive LNG agreements signed by the previous government with Qatar.

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He said LNG was expensive as compared to the domestic gas and one cargo ship of LNG cost US $ 25 million. In nine months the total sales of LNG remained 800 million cubic feet or below it, he said.

He added that LNG was imported in the country after keeping in view demands of power, CNG and urea sectors.

“If we have confirmed orders of more than 800 million cubic feet then we will import more LNG,” he said. Nadeem Babar said the government has also allowed private sector to construct LNG terminals in the country and two companies have shown their willingness to establish these facilities in Pakistan.

He said the past government has setup two LNG terminals with government’s guarantee of running these facilities, inflicting huge cost on the national exchequer. The government has to pay US $ 170 million per annum under capacity payment to them, he informed.

Nadeem said LNG terminals were being run on full capacity, while arrangements were being made to import around 1,300 cubic feet of LNG to meet domestic needs.

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He added that there would be no shortage of gas in the country as the government was making all out efforts in this regard. Regarding offering cooperation to the K-Electric, Nadeem Babar said that LNG was provided to the power generation company in Karachi
in summer just to facilitate people of country’s biggest economic city.

The government has brought down electricity generation through expensive fuel to
3.9 per cent from 21 per cent in last two years. During peak summer they have to run expensive power plants to meet the demand, he said.

Replying to a question, Nadeem Babar said past government has set up generation plants without removing transmission bottle neck. The incumbent government has removed 19 transmission constraints so far, he said and added that remaining would also be removed soon.

The SAPM said the government has decided to shutdown in-efficient GENCO power plants to reduce burden on national exchequer.