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Cabinet Committee directs Petroleum Division to ensure maximum gas supply as per plan

Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar. Photo: File

ISLAMABAD: The Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) on Thursday directed the Petroleum Division to ensure maximum gas supply with the focus on the implementation of a demand management plan as was approved by the Cabinet.

The gas shortfall is likely to be doubled due to the severity of the weather in the coming days.

A meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Energy was held under the chairmanship of Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar in Islamabad.

The Petroleum Division presented the projected natural gas supply in the country for the winter season during the meeting. The Petroleum Division also presented different policy options for the management of the gas supply during the winter season of 2021/22.

However, a source in the Power Division on the condition of anonymity said the gas shortfall has already reached 500mmcfd and alone in the power sector the shortfall is 200mmcfd.

“This shortfall is likely [to be] doubled after [the] middle of December when the snowfall starts in the Northern Areas,” he said.

The export-oriented industry is also complaining that they’re only getting gas for 10 to 12 hours/day due to which they are compelled to work on a single shift and unable to meet the deadlines given to them by their foreign buyers.

Despite rationing of gas to the domestic consumers three times a day and closure of gas to CNG and non-export industrial sectors, the shortfall is likely to reach around 1,200mmcfd. Because of higher liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices and massive demand, it is very unlikely the Petroleum Division get any additional cargo before February.

The committee also considered the summary presented by the Power Division on the implementation of CCoE decisions. It was informed that all the new renewable energy projects will participate in the open competitive bidding process to ensure the least cost procurement of renewable electricity.

The committee approved the summary and recommended expediting the bidding process. The chair also directed the Power Division to inform the committee in the next meeting of a detailed roadmap for the establishment of renewable energy projects, including the potential locations and details of the competitive process.

The meeting also reviewed the Circular Debt Report October 2021, submitted by the Power Division. The committee appreciated the sustained reduction in the accumulation of the circular debt. It was informed in the meeting that the performance of the distribution companies is continually improving.

The sector is also adjusting to the post-Covid scenario where a collection of dues had dropped significantly. The government has been releasing the budget subsidy amount as per the plan to ensure the sustainability of the sector.

Ministers for finance, energy, maritime affairs, adviser to the prime minister on commerce and industries, Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra), NEPRA National Electric Power regulatory Authority (Nepra), representatives of regulatory authorities and senior officials of the ministries/divisions also participated in the meeting.

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