Musadik vows to tackle gas sector challenges with collective wisdom
ISLAMABAD – Minister of State for Petroleum Dr Musadik Malik on Tuesday expressed the resolve of incumbent government to effectively tackle challenges confronted in the gas sector with collective wisdom, putting the country on a consistent path of progress and prosperity.
Addressing a day-long Pre-Budget Business Conference here, he said the government was preparing a robust policy in consultation with the quarters concerned. Under the new policy, he said, a special incentives package would be given to oil and gas exploration companies so that they could step up their activities in potential areas of the country to discover new hydrocarbon reserves. Besides, the minister said, the private sector would be encouraged to actively participate in the business of LNG by setting up their LNG terminals and distribution system.
Dr Musadik informed the conference that the country’s indigenous gas reserves were depleting at the rate of 10 per cent annually and by the year 2030, the LNG share in the total gas supply would be around 76 per cent and natural gas 24 per cent.
He said it was unjustified that the government was importing the LNG that cost almost four times more than the natural gas being supplied to different consumers with massive subsidies. The minister said around Rs 162 billion subsidy was being given to the domestic gas consumers, Rs 81 billion to the zero-rated industry and Rs 18 billion to the fertilizer sector annually on account of LNG supply.
He said during the peak winter season, almost 97 per cent of imported LNG was supplied to the domestic consumers to meet their needs, and selling the commodity below the purchase price had been putting an extraordinary burden on the national exchequer.
He said the gas sector’s circular debt had reached Rs 1.4 trillion figure because of the wrong policies of the PTI government, which was at zero when the PML-N government completed its five-year democratic term in 2018.
Dr Musadik said the increase in gas prices was a global phenomenon that needed to be tackled sensibly, taking due care of downtrodden segments of society. The country’s 50 per cent energy needs were being met through gas, he added.
He also talked about increasing the capacity of handling LNG cargoes at ports, constructing gas storage facilities and ensuring a reliable network of the commodity supply especially pipelines from South to North.
He stressed the need for energizing the ‘industrial cluster’ to achieve increased ‘productivity’ and take a due share in the world markets by exporting different products. “No country in the world attained progress without achieving higher productivity and innovative ecology.”