ISLAMABAD (APP) - The Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) sector has witnessed unprecedented growth during the corresponding fiscal year 2007-08 with setting up of 764 new CNG stations across the country. Operational CNG stations across the country in the year were 2,214 as compared to the previous years 1,450, which shows unprecedented growth of 53 percent, official sources told APP here. The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) has so far granted more than 6,115 licences to construct CNG stations in different parts of the country. Almost 80 percent vehicles in the country has been converted into CNG since introduction of this cheaper fuel in 1992. Now, the government is taking steps to replace diesel with CNG in public service transport, initially in major cities of the country, they added. They said the number of CNG run vehicles is growing at a fast pace due to investor friendly policies of the government and effective role of OGRA. Further promotion of this sector would greatly help cut down annual oil import bill as presently the country is importing more than 4.6 million tonnes of diesel oil annually at a cost of more than US $ 3.9 billion. According to a report, Pakistan has become one of the largest CNG consuming countries with the market of two million CNG-run vehicles. Besides, production of new vehicles with factory-fitted CNG kits has increased, which has upgraded the safety standards. Pakistan has achieved self-sufficiency in manufacturing the equipments of international standard used in CNG sector. Locally produced CNG equipments are now competing with international brands quality-wise as well as in performance in the market, the sources said. In order to promote indigenous production of CNG equipments, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority had given permission to eight companies for manufacturing/assembling of CNG Compressors, Dispensers and Conversion Kits for vehicles subject to conformity of the laid down international technical standards. After achieving the self-sufficiency, these companies have recently started to export the locally manufactured dispensers to Argentina and Bangladesh. Presently, Ms/Tesla Industries - Islamabad, M/s Advanced Electronic International - Karachi, M/s Global Pakistan - Lahore, M/s Comcept Pvt Ltd - Islamabad, M/s Carbon Products - Islamabad, M/s Green Technology - Peshawar, M/s Siddiq Sons - Rawalpindi and M/s Landi Renzo, Pakistan are operating in the country and producing Compressors, Dispensers, Priority Panels and Conversion Kits.