Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Gas shortage is at its worst: Sui Southern MD

Gas shortage is at its worst: Sui Southern MD

KARACHI: The problem of gas shortage is going from bad to worse as the shortfall has touched 300 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd), leading to low pressure in Sindh and Balochistan, said Managing Director Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC), Dr Faizullah Abbasi.

Speaking at a press conference organised at the SSGC head office on Monday, he said: “We are walking on a very tight rope and despite grave problems, our managers are managing gas operations effectively.”
He said, “We have few options like either to have no gas or expensive gas.” Explaining, he said some of the new production projects would generate expensive gas which would cost four times more than present gas rates.
Replying to a question, he said the shortage would be more severe in coming years owing to the increasing demand of the commodity.
The situation demanded that all stakeholders including industrialists, compressed natural gas (CNG) station owners, SSGC and the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) should meet once a week to share each other’s problems, Abbasi suggested.
The management of SSGC said that this year the demand of gas has increased by 65 mmcfd compared to last year while supplies from major gas fields have gone down by 72 mmcfd.
Abbasi said that outstanding dues of KESC, which the power supplier has to pay to SSGC, have reached an unbearable Rs23.6 billion. “However despite that, we are trying to provide gas to KESC on priority basis.”
KESC has paid December dues of over Rs2.07 billion, he said. The SSGC MD said that the KESC management has asked them to provide 110 mmcfd of gas, which was extremely difficult due to the shortage, but despite that the gas company would try to provide the required quantity.

SSGC had been supplying 65 mmcfd of gas, sometimes 90 mmcfd, to KESC, but later it curtailed supplies to 35 mmcfd after gas pressure dropped. Prompted by this, he said, the KESC has announced 16 hours of power outages in industrial areas of Karachi. However, Abbasi hoped that the situation would stabilise by Tuesday.

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