ISLAMABAD-The government is following a multi-pronged strategy to meet the country’s ever-increasing needs of the gas throughout the year especially during the peak winter season.

“Increased import of LNG, development of strategic underground gas storages, trans-country gas pipeline projects, accelerating oil and gas exploration activities, reinforcement of transmission network and attracting private sector investment are some of the main features of the government strategy to achieve self-sufficiency in the energy sector,” a senior official privy to petroleum sector developments told APP.

Elaborating, he said, the two existing LNG terminals were operating at their full capacity and bridging the gap between demand and supply of the commodity to some extent.

The government, he said, had allowed five private sector companies to set up their own LNG terminals and encouraged private import of the LNG as the country could not make any significant discovery since long while the existing gas reserves were depleting at the rate of 9.5 percent annually.

He said two multinational companies were all set to start physical work on setting up their LNG terminals during next few months, whereas a private sector company was also flexing muscles to start the commodity import in November after the government opened up the energy sector under its ease-of-doing-business policy.

To meet the increased gas demand in peak winter and summer, the official said the government was also working on a project for development of the Strategic Underground Gas Storages (SUGS) in collaboration with Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Accordingly, he said, an ADB hired consortium of European oil & gas equipment companies would complete a feasibility study for the SUGS by May 2021.

The official said the Petroleum Division was in the process of floating tenders for 27 new E&P blocks aimed at stepping up oil and gas drilling activities in different hydrocarbon potential areas of the country.

He said a new block took almost 4-5 years in giving any result as it involved different phases including studies, testing, drilling and installation of processing plans and pipelines.

The country’s total sedimentary area was around 827,268 square kilometers, out of which 320, 741 KM or 39 percent of the area was under exploration, he added.

Commenting on the trans-country projects, he said Pakistan was actively pursuing Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) and Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline projects to meet its energy needs, besides it signed an agreement with Russia for offshore oil & gas exploration activities, and laying a pipeline to get the gas supply its Middle East resources through the sea-link.