Gas losses clock in at Rs48bn

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LAHORE: Annual line losses — both technical and commercial — of the country’s two public sector gas companies have clocked in at Rs48 billion, forcing the petroleum ministry to devise an effective strategy to start reducing the same with immediate effect.

“Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) recorded a loss of Rs22bn and Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) 26bn,” Federal Minister for Energy (Petroleum Division) Ghulam Sarwar Khan told reporters at a press conference here on Monday.

Amongst the high loss areas, Khyber Pakhtun­khwa tops the list with 33 per cent gas being stolen. Similarly, the ratio of gas theft in Peshawar and adjoining districts is also 33pc, worth Rs6bn approximately.

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“Currently, SNGPL and SSGC’s losses (unaccounted for gas) stand at 10.8pc and 13pc. However, we will bring down theft ratio at the rate of one percentage point annually, worth Rs2bn,” he added.

The minister said the government desires to abolish Boards of Directors (BoDs) of all 15 gas companies, including SNGPL and SSGC. The work on constituting BoDs of six companies has been already completed and for the remaining, it would be done within the next 100 days. “The new boards will be fully empowered to regulate and run their entities independently as well as appoint professional people to vacancies,” he said.

Khan further said five zero-rated export industries, including textiles and their captive powers, would soon start receiving subsidised gas bills at the of $6.5 per MMBTU with effect from Nov 16. The subsidy (Rs25 billion approximately) would remain enforced until June next year. “We have also decided to provide gas subsidy to the fertiliser industry till March next year. There would also be no gas loadshedding for industry in the ongoing winter,” the minister maintained.

He said the government has decided to not suspend or abolish any international agreement related to gas. The LNG import contract with Qatar is for 15 years and cannot be made public and the Supreme Court is also studying such contracts these days. “But we have come to know that the import of gas from Turkmenistan is cheaper than Qatar and other countries,” he claimed. Khan also said SNGPL had removed as many as 10 officials for being involved in gas theft.

Published in Dawn, December 4th, 2018

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