ISLAMABAD - Despite a ban on issuing new licenses to CNG stations since 2008, officials of the Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) has admitted, in an in-camera briefing to a parliamentary panel, issuing 523 licenses. The honourable Prime Minister interestingly imposed the ban and the Petroleum Ministry puts all the blame on the independent OGRA for the issuance of licenses to CNG stations. The so-called ban on the import of CNG kits has been reportedly meeting a similar fate too, according to the sources privy to the briefing. All this failure on part of the state shows that self-interest and corruption reign supreme in all its departments and the gas crisis in the country is a glaring proof of the loot and plunder of the national resources by those at the helm of affairs. The government’s Gas Allocation & Management Policy has proven to be a political sham. The uncontrolled and unregulated rise in CNG consumption is directly affecting the common household and also the industry. For an agricultural economy like Pakistan, even the availability of fertilizers to the farmers have become an uphill task as the natural gas dependent fertilizer industry is unable to meet its energy requirements to run its production units. Compared with any other country of the world, Pakistan has simply become the largest user of CNG, according to the statistics issued by the International Association for Natural Gas Vehicles (IANGV). Economic Survey of Pakistan 2010-11 reveals that 3,329 CNG refuelling stations are operating in the country and 2.5 million vehicles are running on gas now. Recording the highest 21% conversion ratio from petrol or diesel to CNG, Pakistan is well ahead of India that has a little over a million vehicles converted to CNG, 450,000 in China, and Italy with 730,000 vehicles running on gas. The daily gas production is around four billion cubic feet, while the accumulated demand of gas exceeds six billion cubic feet in the country. Unfortunately, no major gas field will start operating in the coming years. The end result is that the country is running out of natural gas, mostly due to the increasing consumption of CNG in the recent decade in all parts of the country. According to experts, our entire production of natural gas, in the following 10 years, is expected to fall by 30 percent while demand will rise by almost 70 percent. If the same trend persists, our country will run out of gas in less than 20 years, thanks to the highest gas consumption being made by the CNG sector. The power sector in our country consumes more than 40 percent of natural gas for power production. Our fertilising and petrochemical industries are totally dependent upon natural gas because these sectors, having no other energy alternative at all, can’t survive a single day without uninterrupted supply of gas supply. In the current scenario, there seems to be well-disciplined mafia involved into turning most of the gas flow towards the CNG pumps and distribution stations only, especially when all other industrial and manufacturing sectors are badly suffering from continuous gas shortages on regular basis. Experts say that this is high time to make a sound rational decision now, as we have to choose one thing a time: CNG sector or our beloved country, because Pakistan will be soon declared as an economically dead state if our industries remain devoid of uninterrupted gas supply for some more years.