Domestic consumers will only get gas supply during cooking hours in winter

 There will be severe gas shortage during winter season as consumption will increase

The state owned gas supply companies Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) have warned the consumers that they will face severe gas shortage during the winter season.

 Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) has made it clear that it only provide gas to domestic consumers during the cooking hours. It means that domestic consumers  will not get 24 hours gas supply instead they will get  as supply only twice or thrice a day for a limited time to cook meals.

The SNGPL has already advising the consumers to use the gas wisely in the coming months of winter. The main reason of the severe shortage of gas in the winter is the gap between demand and supply of gas which increases more than three times during winter. Consequently, the difference can be as high as 500 mmcfd for domestic consumers in the whole network of gas utility during the severe winter months of December to March.

The public gas utility has asked consumers to use gas wisely; they should use electric heaters instead of traditional unhealthy gas heaters and use solar or instant geysers on a priority basis, instead of traditional gas geysers.

On the other hand, SSGC has warned the government of an imminent shortfall in supply and advised the authorities to make alternate arrangements for the additional supplies to meet the demand.

A spokesperson of the SSGC told the media that supply from five gas fields, including Zargoun, Sinjhoro, Kunar Pasaki, Sujawal and Nurbagla has stopped causing a shortage of 150 million metric cubic feet per day (mmcfd), “which would increase to over 350 mmcfd in winters”.

“Zargoun in Quetta and Sinjhoro gas field in Sindh have gone for the annual turnaround,” said the spokesperson. He said that supply from Kunar Pasaki is near zero due to technical issues while Sujawal and Nurbagla in Sindh have depleted.

The upcoming winter season will be a difficult one for the consumers of Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) as the supply from five gas fields comes to a halt.

 “We have informed the government of the shortage,” said the spokesperson. “It is now up to them to arrange additional supplies through imports or whatever source deemed fit.” SSGC is getting around 970 mmcfd at present against the demand of around 1.2 billion cubic feet per day. The gap would exceed 350 mmcfd in winters as the demand is expected to cross 1.4 billion cubic feet per day.

 The former finance minister of PML-N government Miftah Ismail has blamed the PTI government for severe as shortage. He said in a press conference that government failed to take timely decisions to import LNG to fill the gap between demand and supply. 

The domestic and industrial consumers are facing the gas shortage during the winter season for many years. The gas shortage crisis will hit the major cities in Sindh, Punjab, KPK and Balochistan including Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta etc. Karachi will experience this kind of crisis for the first time this year. With low gas pressure coupled with unscheduled gas load shedding, the residents will be forced to the use of electric or gas cylinders.

The low gas pressure will make the cooking in the mornings very difficult. The children and people will be forced to go to the offices and schools without breakfast. It is not affordable for a common man to buy meals three times a day from restaurants as food cannot be cooked at home because of low pressure and load shedding.

 The natural gas substitutes such as kerosene oil and liquid petroleum gas are not only expensive but also unsafe for domestic consumption. Therefore, the people are bound to rely on natural gas to fulfill their energy requirements. 

The locals complain that this gas load shedding has emerged due to opening of CNG stations and diversion of gas for commercial purposes. Beside domestic sector, this gas shortage is also affecting the industrial sector including the agriculture and textile industry, having grave implications on the economy of Pakistan. Therefore, this gas load shedding led to mass protests and demonstrations all across the country.

The gas crisis in Pakistan has aggravated due to the  government's non-serious attitude and poor gas management and distribution policies. The government power and energy policies are not properly implemented at domestic as well as commercial level. The problems such as gas distribution losses and theft, gas management and gas consumption and conservation have resulted in this gas crisis beside low gas production/ supply as compared to its high demand in winters.

                                                           Rukhsana Manzoor Deputy Editor                 


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