Pakistan Government and major stakeholders agree to new load management plan

Major stakeholder of natural gas in Pakistan agreed on Friday to a load management agreement that would share gas over the winter season.

Asim Hussain, Petroleum Minister, held a meeting in which representatives from the All Pakistan Compressed Natural Gas Association, the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association, fertiliser companies as well as Sui Northern Gas Pipelines
and the Sui Southern Gas Company took part.

Pakistan is facing severe gas shortages this year, it is estimated that demand for gas is 33% higher than last year which means that natural gas shortages in the country jumps to 1,600 million cubic feet per day.

The basic topic of discussion of new load management plan was the enforcement mechanism: any entity found violating the agreement would be prosecuted under the Gas Theft Act 2011, which can result in imprisonment of up to 14 years
and fines of up to Rs10 million.

The minister appealed to the public to adopt conservation methods for consuming gas and help the government identify violators of the rationing plans. Asim Hussain said, “A solution to the gas shortage depends on the cooperation
of all stakeholders.”

Sindh province was the one making the most sacrifice in this meeting. As the province is constitutionally entitled to the lion’s share of the gas supply since about 71% of it comes from gas fields in Sindh.

As per the new policy, the gas supply to compressed natural gas stations (supplying vehicles) in Sindh would be cut for 36 hours, an increase over the previously announced 24 hours. On the other hand, Gas supply to industrial units
in the province will remain suspended on Sundays. However, the army-owned Fauji Fertilizers will continue to receive gas until December 31, to help facilitate the production of urea and reduce the shortage in the country.

Industries in Punjab would get about half a day of respite: instead of a four-day shutdown of gas supply, they will now face a three-and-a-half-day gas shutdown.

CNG stations on the SNGP (which supplies gas to Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa) network will face three-day shutdowns. The exception to this rule is the Islamabad region, ostensibly to comply with court orders. Domestic consumers
are also expected to see periodic shutdowns of their gas supply.