KARACHI - Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGC) has posted profit after tax of Rs 991 million as compared to Rs 290 million of last year, depicting an increase of 242 per cent This year the capitalization remained at Rs 6.6 billion while sales volume increased by 7% over the previous year on a volume of 381 bcf.  However in terms of value increase was 1 % based on OGRA notified prices. According to SSGC annual report 2008, the cost of gas increased by 10%, showing volume and price impact of 5.1 % and 4.9% respectively.  The increase in the cost of gas is mainly due to surge in international oil prices against which the local wellhead gas prices are fixed. The operating cost excluding depreciation was 6% of revenue as compared to 5.5% last year. The Company's operating cost also includes expenditure on the cross border gas import project through pipeline as well as liquefied natural gas (LNG) import project. Report said that the "customer base is continuously expanding which has now reached 2.07m from 1.94m last year: New connections to domestic customers were 93, 829 whilst 1.733 commercial and 407 industrial customers were added. The management is determined to maintain and enhance transmission and distribution capacity of the company and accordingly the budget for current year is again at a record high". The meter plant also enhanced the production capacity by 15%. This year production of 5 1 3,250 meters reflects 144% capacity utilization. However the profit of the meter plant is adjusted against the regulated return due to its treatment as operating income by OGRA. The Company has been pleading with OGRA to treat meter plant income as non-operating income. The persistence pursuance by the Company has resulted in fully settling the long outstanding exchange risk claim and Rs.343 million were received from the Govt of Pakistan during the year. Meanwhile, all out efforts are being made to obtain sales tax refund due from Federal Board of Revenue. As part of treasury management the Company swapped high cost loan valuing Rs.11.4b with Sukuk bond and cheaper loans resulting in a saving of Rs. 238m in financial cost. These financial arrangements were meant mainly to support the planned capital expenditure of the Company, report said. The Company's enduring focus to control the Unaccounted for Gas (UFG) resulted in bringing it down to a level of 6.6% from 7.4% in the previous year. The capital expenditure were mainly focused to enhance existing transmission and distribution network besides rehabilitating and replacing the ageing network The transmission network capacity increased by 215. mmcfd during the year. Additionally distribution network of 2,079 km were laid besides replacing 545 km old network this bodes well for future profitability of the Company and provides base for regulated return on average operating fixed assets besides helping in controlling network UFG losses occurring due to ageing gas pipelines. This year; the Company completed a number of pipeline projects and laid a total of 2,643 km of Transmission and Distribution pipelines, comprising 2,624 km of distribution and 19 km of transmission pipeline. Some of the transmission projects commissioned will serve Karachi's industrial zones including SITE, Shershah and Hub areas. As a cost-effective measure, 15 Filter Separators and 15 (TBS) and Pressure Reducing Stations (PRS) were fabricated in-house and installed. This year the Company provided 95,969 new connections which include a record 407 industrial connections. "A major transmission project being undertaken is the 24" and 18" dia, 53 km Dhadar to Aab-e-Gum Loopline in Balochistan. This project will increase the capacity of Quetta Pipeline by 42 mmcfd", report unveiled.