Majority in Pakistan wants IP gas deal to be finalized


Islamabad : Pakistan is currently facing an acute energy shortage and majority in Pakistan believes that the issue could be resolved if Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project is completed on the priority basis.

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Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Syed Naveed Qamar has informed the National Assembly that Pak-Iran gas pipeline project has been finalized and accord will be signed by the head of states of both the countries by Feb 15.

During question hour he also informed that initial cost of project would be borne by Pakistan, while it would gradually be shared along with private investors.

He said the former regime had delayed the project, while the incumbent regime had fastened the pace of project, which might include participation of additional countries.

Analysts say that the gas pipeline project is a very critical project as far as the point of view of Pakistan is concerned.

They say Iran has surplus gas and in future there would be a shortage of natural gas in Pakistan and this project would be very helpful in overcoming that shortage.

Pakistan believes that the project could help in sustaining more strong relations and both Pakistan and Iran must cooperate with each other on political and diplomatic level.

The government in Pakistan has already announced “Gas Load Management Plan” under which CNG stations would remain closed for eight days a month on rotational basis in the zones served by the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL). The gas load management plan would continue until March 15, 2010.

The company expects to save and divert 25 million cubic feet of gas per day from the sector through the plan.

Gas shortage in the winters is not a new phenomenon. Natural gas is the prime source of fuel used by domestic consumers.

In the present situation when there is six- to eight-hour power loadshedding, gas shortage is hampering the growth of industries, which would affect the growth of overall exports of the country.

Similarly, domestic consumers throughout the country are also facing problems due to the long hours gas loadshedding and they forced to use woods for cooking food and for other uses.

Pakistan’s energy crisis is feared to worsen next year with the gas shortfall likely to almost double to more than two billion cubic feet a day (BCFD).

Official figures suggested that the shortage, which stood at about one BCFD this winter, would go up to 2.1 BCFD by next year.

The demand and supply estimates presented by the Interstate Gas Company — a subsidiary of the petroleum ministry — suggested that the gas shortfalls would increase by more than 300 per cent to 6.5 BCFD by 2020.

According to official estimates, domestic gas demand would increase to 6.8 BCFD in 2011, about 7.1 BCFD in 2012 and to7.6 BCFD in 2015.

The gas shortage has forced a number of industrial units to close down while delay in fulfillment of export consignments has become a matter of routine due to less supply and low pressure of natural gas.

Pakistan media earlier had reported that the United States and one Muslim country of the Middle East are exerting immense pressure on Pakistan to cancel the gas deal.

The pipeline will be supplied from the South Pars field. The initial capacity of the pipeline will be 22 bcm of natural gas per annum, which is expected to be raised later to 55 bcm. It is expected to cost US$7.5 billion.