Pak gas crisis worsens, IP project still awaits completion

IRNA — Pakistan’s current gas crisis is worsening day by day due to cold weather in the country, however, it can be managed very easily if the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project is completed.

Pakistan Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that the gas crisis, including the issue of low gas pressure would be resolved soon as steps are being taken to mitigate the suffering of the consumers.

The government has notified a ban on the import of furnace oil, and is looking to move the generation of electricity to LNG and coal in the future.

The government has also decided to shut down Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations across Punjab province and capital Islamabad from December 28 to January 10.

Experts say that Pakistan should go for the completion of the IP project which is the most feasible way to solve Pakistan’s energy crisis.

The IP gas pipeline is considered to be the easiest and most feasible route for importing natural gas. The groundbreaking of the pipeline project was performed in March 2013. While Iran has since then laid its side of the pipeline, Pakistan is yet to begin work on its side.

The project was to be completed by December 2014 and come on stream from January 1, 2015. Under the penalty clause it was agreed by both sides that if Pakistan fails to have intake of Iranian gas from January 1, 2015, it will have to pay $1 million per day as penalty.

On December 13, Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered that boards of directors of the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and SSGCL be dissolved owing to the prevailing gas shortfall in the country.

The premier gave directions for stricter action against the gas suppliers, as the CNG crisis continued to disrupt public transport.

The demand for gas has increased in Pakistan’s domestic sector with the change in weather. Already facing power shortage, the masses are forced to rely on alternate sources of gas.

Meanwhile, industrialists have decided to shut down their factories in Karachi in the wake of worsening gas crisis.

The chairman of Sindh Industrial and Trading State Area said maladministration of Sui Southern Gas Company has caused heavy losses to the industry. He also announced to hold a protest on January 1 outside the Sindh Governor House.

]Gas is not being consumed by the transport sector alone in Pakistan. It has been piped to households since the 1980s subject to heavy transit loss.

Earlier, Pakistan’s Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan talking to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) had said Iran-Pakistan (IP) is a very significant energy project and its completion would end energy crisis in Pakistan.

He added that Pakistan wants to implement the gas pipeline agreement between the two brotherly countries.

Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan had once said that Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline can play a vital role in fulfilling Pakistan’s energy requirements.