The government on Monday announced that the commercial gas consumers, including fertilizers and industries will spend the upcoming winter season without gas, as due to depleting reserves the gas supply in the system has been reduced by almost 18 percent, while gas supply to the domestic consumers will continue.

The gas supply has reduced considerably during the previous few years and in winter season the country will face more gas shortage however gas supply to the domestic consumers will continue. Industrial units, gas stations and other commercial companies will not get the gas in the season, Federal Minister for Petroleum & Natural Resources; Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said this while briefing media in response to the recent allegations by the Sindh government regarding reduction in the province natural gas share. However, the minister said that in Punjab Zone, there will be no such interruption of gas supply to those CNG stations that is operating on imported Re-Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG).

Minister termed the Sindh government’s blame, of reduction the province share of gas, as baseless saying the province’s share has increased instead over the time. At the time of the 18th amendment, there was 2900 million cubic feet gas available in the system, in which 1700 mmcfd was distributed through Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Ltd (SNGPL) while 1200 mmcfd through Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL). Now, the share of SSGC is 1250 ccf while the share of SNGPL has been reduced to 1150 mmcfd.

There is no swapping arrangement of natural gas produced in Sindh with imported LNG. However, the RLNG is mingled with natural gas and transported to the consumers. This blame has been put on the central government just to get a ‘political mileage’.

Yes, Karachi is supplied with the RLNG, and it has no impact on other parts of the Sindh province. He also said that the LNG is an imported item and it cannot be brought under the Council of Common Interests (CCI). However, he also said that in some areas there is swap arrangement which will get abolished next month, as lying of pipeline is underway.

Regarding the Sindh minister allegation of corruption in the LNG import the minister said that “We are working under the same LNG policy, which the PPP government had promulgated in 2011”.

The Minister also rejected the Sindh government claim that the federal government is avoiding the development of Thar coal and claimed that the Centre has more share in the development of Thar Coal project than the provincial government. A big share under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been allocated for the project related to Thar coal, he added. Thar coal is very important but is not the only source of energy as besides Thar, Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline, Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline are also under government’s plan and it will give a ‘low cost energy mix’. Abbasi informed that the groundbreaking of the TAPI is expected in December this year.

Minister also disclosed that the government taking a summary to the CCI, asking for giving the authority to the federal government to regulate LPG margins and producer price.

To a question that whether the Sindh government can disrupt the gas supply to the SNGPL, minister said that the gas comes to the system from Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, “A sensible government will never act like that.”

Regarding Nandipur Power Project, Abbasi said that its PC-I was revised at Rs58 billion, but claimed that they are cleaning the mess created by the PPP government. During the previous government when the contractor was asked for some money, he left the project and the current government brought them back and ensured every support and the project was completed.

The minister also rejected the claim made by the Sindh finance minister that the federal government has imposed ban on the wind power generation in the province and claimed that it was not the government but the ministry of water and power had raised some questions and now there is no ban on the project.

Replying a question about the removal of the MD SNGPL and the company board of directors’ refusal to confirm the decision, the minister said that there is conflict of interests involved in the whole story. Some members on the board are getting millions of rupees fee from the utility and some cases these fee crosses Rs100 million, he informed.