KARACHI: The Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) managing director on Monday apologised to the people of Karachi for cut in gas supply to the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) that is causing prolonged power load shedding in the city.
"Despite the fact that the KESC owes at least Rs 22 billion to the SSGC, gas supply has been curtailed due to annual maintenance work and it has nothing to do with the payment issue," SSGC MD Dr Faizullah Abbasi told the media at the Karachi Press Club on Monday.
"The SSGC is a utility company and we too have customers, who are our patrons for the company. I apologise for any inconvenience we may have caused," he observed. He said the SSGC was currently facing a shortfall of at least 204mcft per day due to the annual maintenance work at two gas fields in Sindh - Zamama Gas Field and Bhit/Bhadra - that would be completed within two to three days.
He said that there are 15 gas fields in Sindh and they undergo yearly maintenance work, particularly in the summer season, when the gas demand is low. "But this year, the maintenance could not be carried out in summer due to some technical reasons and this led to problems for power and gas consumers."
Abbasi said adding that before starting the maintenance work, the SSGC had notified its consumers including the KESC, Wapda, CNG stations, fertiliser companies etc that gas supply would be curtailed. To a query, he said the KESC had to pay Rs 22 billion to the SSGC, adding that the matter could be resolved bilaterally.
He said the KESC had agreed in June last year to pay all its bills and clear the outstanding dues of Rs 22 billion in 24 installments, each of Rs 500 million, but it did not pay. He told the media persons, "Sindh produces 72 percent of the country's total gas, Balochistan 20 to 22 percent and the remaining comes from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa".
He rejected the impression that the hiring at SSGC was being done on political grounds and that the company was bound to give jobs to the heirs of deceased employees as it was part of the agreement.