ISLAMABAD: As the government investigates gas price hike controversy, a serious shortage has hit the country with delay in the berthing of Q-flex cargo of Pakistan State Oil (PSO), affecting almost all sectors of economy.
“The situation is very serious. Gas supply to power plants, fertiliser plants, general industry and CNG sectors has already been curtailed and SNGPL is struggling to meet demand of residential and commercial consumers,” said a senior government official.
He explained that the SNGPL had reported about 400 million cubic feet per day of reduction in LNG supplies and the supply could go further down by Tuesday depending on weather conditions.
While Prime Minister Imran Khan had called a meeting on the issue of gas prices controversy on Tuesday, followed by a meeting of the reconstituted Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) on Wednesday, the situation could only worsen with bad weather conditions and ill-planned development of two terminals for regasification of imported Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), the official said.
Sources said the larger Q-flex cargo of PSO could not be berthed due to high wind speed (beyond 18 knots) on Monday while a relatively smaller cargo of Pakistan LNG Limited (PLL) could also face problems if wind speed goes beyond 30 knots on Tuesday. “The weather condition is likely to turn severe on Tuesday and remain so until February 16,” said an official, adding that uncertainty surrounds immediate berthing of the two cargoes.
The official said the Sui Southern Gas Company Ltd (SSGCL) had reported that regasification rate at Engro terminal had dropped from 660mmcfd to 220mmcfd from Monday afternoon and about 420mmcfd from Pakistan Gasport terminal which could drop to 220mmcfd by Tuesday if PLL cargo failed to anchor at the port. “So the total supply to the SNGPL system will drop to 440mmcfd from 1000mmcfd and create a serious crisis, particularly in the Punjab.