The latest development in the imported Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) saga proves that the idea, in its entirety, was structurally flawed. It is clear now that it is not feasible to switch power plants to an expensive imported fuel. The ministry of Petroleum is facing a crisis of its own as public and private firms have refused to buy the imported LNG. The decision is due to the ineptness of the Ministry of Water and Power, who have failed to provide the buyers with a guarantee that smooth delivery and pricing will be ensured.

The government has been promising an end to this energy crisis at every given opportunity pre-election, but their tenure will end with the country’s situation much worse than before. There is no respite from the rampant load shedding in any part of the country. The public protests against the load shedding and the shortage of fuel erupt every now and then and eventually fall silent, acquiesced by the quick fixes promised till the next big shortage. With the decision to keep relying on furnace oil, it is unlikely that this situation will improve in the coming future.

The government has failed to regulate policies to ensure the continuous supply of fuel to power plants and for commuters’ consumption. The import of LNG from Qatar was hailed as the end of the energy crisis. Deals were signed, promises were made and the Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi claimed the power generation cost through LNG would reduce by 40 per cent as compared to diesel, making it easy on the consumer’s pocket. This is in sharp contrast to what the firms are now stating that the cost of generating electricity from LNG would cost the same as Furnace Oil so to shift their entire systems to a fuel that may or may not be supplied with due diligence is not worth the risk.

Why is it that every new initiative that the government introduces is marred by scandals of corruption and a string of alleged bad decisions? Is there no accountability when mega projects are undertaken and billions of rupees are spent pursuing an import that would be completely useless to the nation? Why weren’t any consultations carried out with prospective buyers before hand to discuss important aspects of supply and demand and pricing? It seems that the government jumps in headfirst and thinks about the consequences when it is too late.