ISLAMABAD - The government is mulling various options, including the provision of subsidised LNG, to ensure uninterrupted gas supply to the domestic consumers during the winter season.

“Two options are under consideration to tackle the issue of gas shortage for the domestic sector during the ongoing winter season,” official sources told The Nation here Tuesday.

It is pertinent to mention here that the federal minister for petroleum, Ghulam Sarwar Khan had already warned that the domestic consumers will face gas shortage during the ongoing winter season. However, now the government is taking steps to avoid the gas shortage to domestic consumers during the ongoing winter. The deficit for domestic sector is likely to be in the range of 150 mmcfd to 300 mmcfd, said the source. The government is seriously mulling various options to plug the gap and the first option is to ask Sui Southern Gas Company Limited(SNGPL) to provide gas to the consumers of Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL) during winter season, said the source. Most of the SSGCL gas supply network is located in the areas where winter is less harsh as compared to the SNGPL network areas, explained the source.

The second option is to provide subsidized LNG to the domestic consumers to fill the deficit, said the source. Based on these two options a summary has already been prepared by the ministry of energy (Petroleum Division) and the petroleum minister will take it with the prime Minister office and ministry of finance for further action. The petroleum minister will brief the Prime Minister Imran Khan and Finance Minister Asad Umar about the matter, said the source. The final decision will be taken after getting green signal from the Prime Minister, said the source.

Another source in the petroleum division said that in summer season domestic natural gas is being supplied to the Punjab based CNG stations, which are using LNG, on a high price. So the subsidy is not going to cost the government a lot as they will be diverting the local gas to the domestic consumers from CNG sector. The source further said that SSGCL is unlikely to provide gas to the SNGPL network. 

Pakistan current natural gas production is ranging between 3.8 bcfd and 4 bcfd. In the winter season, the gas demand increases many times and is even not enough to cater to the needs of domestic sector. To plug the supply demand gap for the domestic consumers, last winter also LNG was diverted to domestic sector.