LAHORE – Saturday was the 6th day in the Punjab’s capital when hundreds motorists did not get low-priced gas, the situation was not different in Sindh and Balochistan where the stations were closed for last four days.

The Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) has announced restoration gas supply in Lahore, Sheikhupura, Sahiwal, Multan and Gujranwala regions on Sunday (today) for just one day. The gas outlets will go on another three days closure from Monday.

About 3,400 filling stations sell gas to 3.7 million vehicles, according to the All Pakistan CNG Association.

But the government has planned to gradually phase out the CNG sector. Advisor to PM on Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim remarked of closure of CNG stations, raised worries among the stake. Asim says CNG stations have been costing the national economy.

However, Ghayas Paracha of CNG association says: “The closure of CNG stations means disaster of transport sector, commuters, workforce at filling stations, machinery and loss of billions for national exchequer in shape of tax collection.” The government should balance the CNG price and it should either end or decrease loadshedding for the filling stations, he says, insisting that using environment-friendly fuel should be unchanged policy of the government.

Claiming that gas distribution companies are providing illegal gas to industry, he added: “Where does the gas goes now when 3,200 filling stations are closed and 50 per cent of households are not getting due to low pressure?”

The SNGPL and SSGC, gas distributing companies in Punjab, KPK and Sindh, Balochistan respectively, have four billion cubic feet in their networks while the country’s demand is 8bcf per day (double). “We cannot meet the needs of the all sectors thus we have to go for load management,” says an official of the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited.

The experts say that government has not worked efficiently to overcome the energy crisis in past five years. “No serious efforts have been made to import gas from Iran owing to American pressure. Domestic gas exploration policy and import of LNG also remain at low priority of the government,” they say.

The experts suggested gas theft be curbed, people be aware of efficient use of gas and the government start work on Iran Pakistan Gas pipeline project. 

Wiping out any sector is not a good policy rather to focus on speedy import and trapping of domestic sources of huge gas, they stressed. The consumers seem helpless. Long queues at CNG stations for hours have become a permanent feature that may continue. 

Energy crisis: Announced and unannounced loadshedding have been crippling life in the City while unavailability of CNG and low pressure in the domestic sector have been rubbing salt into people’s wounds.

The national grid is facing around 4,000MW shortfall which means around eight hours load shedding in daily basis but, according to some sources, the federal government is shifting major electricity portion to Sindh and Khyber PK and thus Punjab’s rural and urban areas are under the grip of more than 10 hours outages.

The reason of shortfall was being described as low hydel generation which was due to ongoing canal closure period.

“The demand and supply gas will decrease in first week of January when desilting period would complete and water outflows from dams would become normal,” said an official of the power sector.

The Lesco in these days is conducting eight hours shutdown in major city areas while there is 10 hours load shedding in the compnay’s rural limits.