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

ISLAMABAD, Dec 29 (APP): Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Petroleum Nadeem Babar Tuesday said the Sindh government was trying to give political colour to a serious economic issue by presenting distorted and misleading figures about the production and supply of gas in the province.

Addressing a news conference along with Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz after the federal cabinet meeting, he said the Sindh Chief Minister, in a letter written to Prime Minister Imran Khan, had mentioned that the province produced around 2,500-2,600 MMCFD (Million Cubic Feet per Day) gas and got only 1,000 MMCFD gas, which was contrary to the factual position.

He termed the letter a willful attempt by the CM to give a ‘political colour’ to a ‘serious economic issue.’

The SAPM said he had presented complete production and consumption data of June-2020 of the Sindh Province in the meeting of Council of Common Interests (CCI) in August, where the Article 158 was also among the agenda items.

As per the June-data, he said, the Sindh was producing around 2,025 MMCFD gas, out of which 1,562 was being consumed in the province directly through the network of Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC).

While, around 463 MMCFD gas was allocated to the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL), out of which 202 MMCFD gas was returned to Sindh in the form of supply to two power plants and a fertilizer production unit.

Whereas, the SAPM said, the remaining only 261 MMCFD gas of Sindh was going out of the province. “I have mentioned the number of June 2020. Today the number [of gas production in Sindh] has further declined due to depletion in the existing reserves,” he added.

Besides this, he said, around 150 MMCFD Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) was being provided to the province, if this too was detected from the 261 MMCFD gas, then only around 100 MMCFD gas of Sindh was going out of the province.

He said the Sindh government was not ready to recognize the gas supply being provided to the captive power and fertilizer plants operating in the province, which was not less than any joke.

Nadeem Babar said the provincial government had caused one-and-a-half years’ delay in construction of 17-kilomter gas pipeline by not giving ‘Right of Way’ to the SSGC, which was meant to transport additional supply from the port Qasim.

In October last, he said, the Sindh government had allowed to construct the pipeline, which the SSGC had completed on December 24.

Commenting on the LNG procurement, the SAPM said the government had procured 12 cargoes for the month of January at the cheapest price, adding that domestic consumption of gas had increased by 2.5 folds on the network of SNGPL and 2-fold on the SSGC system.

Nadeem Babar reiterated that there was no planned load-shedding for domestic, commercial or industrial sectors in any part of the country, but admitted the issue of pressure drops especially at tail ends of the line due to severe cold wave.

However, he said the gas supply was being curtailed for Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) sector and captive power plants for three to four days to ensure smooth supply of the commodity to domestic consumers.

He said last week of December and two initial weeks of January were considered a peak time of the winter season, adding after January 15 the supply situation would start improving gradually.

The SAPM was of the view that the price of a spot LNG cargo in high winter month could not be compared with the long-term contracts.

He said the federal government, under its ease-of-doing-business, had allowed the private sector to import their own LNG and utilize it, using the transmission network of the gas companies under a set procedure.

To a question, the SAPM said the federal government was giving Rs 20 billion subsidy in electricity and gas sectors, out of which Rs 16 billion were meant for the power and Rs 4 billion for gas sectors.