LNG import vital to bridge gap between demand, supply of gas: Ministry

ISLAMABAD (APP): The smooth import of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is vital to bridge the ever-increasing gap between demand and supply of natural gas as the country's current total gas production stands at 4 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) against the demand of 8 bcfd of the commodity, official sources in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources said Sunday. "Pakistan is facing a huge gap between demand and supply of energy," they informed APP saying that currently it was short of 4 bcfd gas to meet requirements of domestic, commercial and industrial consumers besides power generation units. Highlighting importance of LNG, they said it was the essential part of the energy mix needs of emerging economies. "The world is turning towards LNG and emerging economies such as China, Korea, Japan, India, Thailand, Indonesia, European Union, and Brazil to ensure LNG remains part of its energy mix," they said.

The sources said Japan was importing almost 80 million tonnes of LNG every year (MTPA) and India 15MTPA due to the commodity's cheap price and efficiency as compared to other fuels.

Pakistan, they said, recently signed a 15 year agreement with Qatar to import up to 3.75 million tonnes of LNG a year, which significantly improved gas supply to consumers.

Justifying the LNG import deal, they said, in Pakistan natural gas accounts for 35 percent of all power generation, 23.8 percent of industrial use, 15.6 percent fertilizer, 5.4 percent Compressed Natural Gas, and 18.1 percent of the household use. The current gas shortfall is of four bcfd or almost 50 percent of the total gas demand.

The LNG would help the country add about 2,000 megawatts of gas fired power generating capacity and improve production from fertilizer plants, they added.


447.4 MW alternative renewable energy added to national grid in three years

ISLAMABAD (APP): Around nine alternative renewable energy power generation projects with a cumulative capacity of 447.4 MW have been added to national grid during last three years. Several other projects are under construction and in different stages of development.  As per data issued by Water and Power Division on Sunday  said the government was pursuing development of power generation through alternative and renewable energy resources in order to diversify energy mix and utilize indigenous sources of energy. Several steps had been taken which include announcement of Framework for Power Co-generation. The other steps are detailed ground correlated resource mapping of wind, solar and biomass initiated through Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme (ESMAP) - World Bank's assistance, completion and making public of biomass atlas for Pakistan, and streamlined procedure for development of renewable energy based IPP projects initiated by provincial governments through necessary policy amendments.

The government is also promoting use of net-metering based renewable energy applications for power generation at consumer level for which necessary regulatory framework has been announced.


Govt presented farmers-friendly budget: Bosan

MULTAN (APP): Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Bosan on Sunday said the government had presented a farmers-friendly budget which also impressed the opposition parties. The opposition parties, he said, were not expecting that the government would reduce electricity tariff to Rs 5.35 for agriculture tubewells, abolish sales tax on pesticides, reduction in prices of fertilizers, lift of import duty on fish seed and many other incentives for farmers.  "I have received many congratulation messages from members of opposition parties for farmers-friendly budget," he said while speaking at a press conference here.  He said the agriculture sector had been facing several challenges for last three years due to remarkable reduction in prices of commodities at international level. The cost of production was very much high in Pakistan and the country's farmers could not compete internationally. 

Bosan said he had been struggling for last three years to lower cost of production in the agriculture sector to enable farmers to get handsome earning and put the country on way to progress and prosperity.

The country, he said, had been producing surplus wheat for last three years, which could not be exported because of high cost of production. However, the government was trying to export million of tonnes of wheat, Bosan said.

The minister said Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had issued instructions for giving special incentives to the agriculture sector to improve financial condition of peasants.

The provincial governments, he stressed, should spend more on the agriculture sector.

He recalled that when he was minister of food and agriculture in past, total development budget of his ministry was Rs 32 billion. After the 18th Amendment, agriculture became a provincial subject and now his ministry had Rs 1.5 billion development budget only. 

Sikandar Bosan said banks would provide agricultural loans of Rs 700 billion and reduction in cost of production would surely improve living standard of farmers.

To a query, Bosan said agriculture was an important sector and there should not be politics on it.


PTDC's 13 information centres

facilitating tourists

ISLAMABAD (APP): Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC)'s 13 tourist information centers are facilitating and providing information to tourists across the country. A PTDC spokesman talking to APP said that information centers including Islamabad, Lahore, Gilgit,Karachi, Moenjodaro, Multan, Peshawar, Quetta,Rawalpindi, Saidu Sharif, Thatta, and Taxila are providing service round the clock. Currently, he said a great rush of tourists was being witnessed in the  areas of Naran valley due to early announcement of summer holidays in schools this year. To a question he said on the request of tourists during current season, seasonal bus service for Naran from Rawalpindi had been started on May 23 instead of June 1. About PTDC's Naran motel, he said, was situated on the bank of the  river and had 60 rooms, huts and cottages for the accommodation purposes. He said PTDC was also providing special discounted tour packages to the families, students, group tourists and foreign tourists. 

To another question he said PTDC was preparing a special Ramazan  package for tourists.