AHMAD AHMADANI
ISLAMABAD - In an unprecedented development, a regulatory body has voiced categorically straight-forwarded reservations over the import of LNG, arguing that the move would make the masses pay through the nose for electricity.
Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA), emphatically opposing the LNG import project for electricity generation, has forwarded its serious concerns to the government through a letter. It said that import of LNG will rub more salt on injuries of masses with accordance to the cost comparison of electricity generation with alternative fuels other than LNG.
OGRA in its letter, highlighting the miseries of the masses on the pretext of electricity generation with imported LNG, sent to the Petroleum Ministry and Cabinet Division has recommended the government to generate electricity from coal instead of LNG to meet the burgeoning demand of electricity in the country. The regulatory authority has further recommended the federal government to form a high level committee comprising of officials representing concerned organizations particularly, Petroleum Ministry, Planning Commission, gas companies, Port Qasim Authorities, PPL etc. and this committee, after analysing the cost comparison of imported LNG, should put forward its recommendations to the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet for final decision.
OGRA’s letter available with TheNation reveals that OGRA has opposed the LNG import project and termed it more expansive for hard-pressed masses. According to OGRA, cost of electricity generation with imported LNG will stand at Rs20.49 per unit while Rs 26.67 will be the cost of per unit of electricity with Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). However, cost of per unit of electricity with local coal will be at Rs2.90 and with imported coal the cost of per unit of electricity will touch Rs5.36 so the government should take measures to enhance the gas production in the country.
“Power generation cost through LNG is very high and can be detrimental for the people of Pakistan in future being a pass through item”, OGRA’s letter sent to petroleum ministry and cabinet division reads.
It was also learnt from official document that on the said pretext the imported LNG is four times expansive if compared with the cost of local gas. Masses will severely bear the brunt of expansive electricity generation with imported LNG.
Sources had earlier informed that Petroleum Minister Dr Asim Hussain is desperately out to secure hefty kickbacks with the import of LNG in the country. They were of the view that incumbent minister had dreamt some four years earlier to earn heavily through LNG terminal trade. This move of LNG import to the country particularly to generate electricity to meet do away with outages is simple a political gimmick, ahead of general elections and public pressure on streets as in practical nothing concrete has so for done in this regard, sources added.