LAHORE - Federal Minister for Petroleum Dr Asim Hussain on Thursday announced that Pakistan was mulling import of LNG from India, which had offered to supply it by laying a pipeline across the border.

He was speaking to members of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APMTA) through telephone, hoping for 24/7 gas supply in case more gas enters the system ahead.

Dr Asim announced five days a week gas supply to industry in Punjab from March 26 onwards.

He said provision of gas to Punjab industries 5 days a week has become possible with an improvement in gas supply as a result of weather’s turning warmer.

Dr Asim said 325 cubic feet gas would be added to the system in the current year.

According to him, some 225MMCFD gas has already been inducted to the system, providing the room for five days a week gas supply to industry in Punjab from Monday onwards.

However, he added in the same breath that the number of new domestic connections was high in recent past therefore the system would have to experience heavy load in coming months.

Gohar Ejaz, group leader APTMA, along with Chairman APTMA Punjab Ahsan Bashir thanked the Federal Minister for his kind considerations to the problems of textile industry in Punjab, saying 31% of production capacity was idle since last many months. He expressed the hope that textile industry would also be able to respond the government in the same coin by increasing exports in the months to come.

It may be noted that the SBP quarterly report has mentioned that textile exports are down by 3% during current fiscal due to supply constraints.

Dr Asim Hussain appreciated Gohar Ejaz for his input as head of PM Task Force on energy and said he has played magnificent role. Also, he said, industry in Punjab has paid heavy price of gas shortage. He paid tributes to APTMA members for well behaving throughout the crisis.

He said the government was walking on right a rope and the ministry would ensure uninterrupted gas supply to textile industry in case no untoward incident takes place.

Regarding gas import from Iran, he said, a lawyer of international law is being looked for by the industry to contest the case of exemption from UN sanctions. We are looking for international lawyer, as gas import from Iran is very much on the cards, he added.

When asked about any further increase in gas prices, the minister said it is the domain of OGRA and not that of Ministry of Petroleum.