Sindh’s CNG stations close for three more days as gas crisis worsens

ISLAMABAD: Owing to severe shortage of natural gas in the country, the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) has announced the closure of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations across the Sindh province for another three days, starting from the 4th January of January 2021.

In a notification, the SSGC said that due to low input, availability of gas has decreased, resulting in depletion of line pack and low pressure in the system. Due to this shortage of gas, CNG stations and sellers of Re-gasified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG) in Sindh will remain closed for at least another 72 hours, from 8 AM on Monday all the way until 8 AM on Thursday. Earlier, on the 30th of December 2020, the SSGC had shut down all CNG stations across Sindh and Balochistan provinces till 2nd January, 2020.

Before the action by the SSGC, the provincial government had also acted, and on the 18th of December 2020, had closed down all the CNG and Re-gasified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG) stations across Sindh as part of the gas load management plan.

Officials at the petroleum division, speaking to Pakistan Today, on the condition of anonymity said that the government was forced to take drastic measures in its gas load management plant to ensure the natural gas supply for basic use.

Annoyed with the decision of closure of CNG stations across Sindh province for another three days, senior leader of All Pakistan CNG Association, Ghias Abdullah Paracha, said that this is a wrong decision as there was no shortage of gas in Sindh. He said CNG stations of Sindh were earlier persuaded to use Re-gasified Natural Gas (RLNG) to avoid likely closure. However, now CNG stations have been forcefully closed on lame excuses. He said since natural gas availability is in abundance in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, there should be no gas loadshedding for the CNG stations in these provinces.

Paracha said that the CNG sector has been paying the highest tariff but it is denied natural gas supply. He said it is unfortunate that the government has been providing gas to those sectors which pay lesser tariff in comparison to CNG sector. “The CNG industry has been facing heavy losses and about to collapse as natural gas is not available for the CNG sector. Despite approval of the federal cabinet and ECC of the Cabinet, subsidiaries of petroleum division and gas companies have been creating hindrances in the import of LNG by the private sector,” said the senior leader of the APCNGA.

Demanding that the government end the closure of CNG stations to save the CNG industry and allow import of LNG by private sector, APCNGA’s Ghias Abdullah Paracha said gas users will find gas supply if import of RLNG by private sector is allowed.

It is pertinent to mention that the government has been trying hard to bridge the widening gas demand and supply gap with imported LNG during peak winter season. However, gas shortage and low pressure is being faced by different categories of the gas consumers.

Ahmad Ahmadani
Ahmad Ahmadani
The author is an investigative journalist. He can be reached at [email protected]

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