KARACHI: Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s President Muhammad Haroon Agar while commenting on Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s statement to make changes in gas sharing formula has articulated that the stand taken by the Minister is against the very Constitution and its Articles.
He said it is but natural that the province where the gas is being explored should have the first right of usage and it has been rightly mentioned in Article 158 of the Constitution of Pakistan. President KCCI also refuted the Minister’s interpretation that this Article is for domestic usage. At many times interpretation of this article have been made by eminent lawyers of the country and each time it has been accepted as articulated in the Constitution that that there is a precedence over other parts of Pakistan in meeting the requirements from wellhead in terms of usage of natural gas where the well head is situated. At present 67 percent of gas is produced in Sindh, 19 percent in Baluchistan, 9 percent in KPK and 5 percent in Punjab. Whereas even today, one can witness gesture of goodwill from the largest gas producer province.
He stated that the SNGPL is supplied about 2000 mmcfd of gas whereas SSGCL is getting around 1200 mmcfd. This clearly depicts the picture that the distribution is much more in a province which is producing far less gas but at the same time he maintained that Constitution must be upheld and gas producing province must get the gas in a required quantum. Throwing light on current demand and supply position he said that today there is a net shortfall of about 350 mmfcd gas in the territory of SSGCL which comes to about 25 to 30 percent and shortage in SNGPL is around 600 mmcfd which also comes to around 25 to 30 percent. So in terms of percentage of demand and supply one can see the correct picture.
He also elaborated that why there is much more hue and cry and shortage in SNGPL territory First reason is that in absolute terms 600 mmcfd is a big number. The second is that in the last seven years rampant connections were given in the territory of SNGPL without realizing what the supplies are and what will be projected supplies in future. In those years more than 2700 CNG connections were given in SNGPL as compared to 700 connections in SSGCL.
In SNGPL the sale of gas was increased by 10 BCF whereas SSGCL increased only 1 BCF. The SNGPL laid the pipelines of 35000 kilometres and increased the number of consumers to 1.45 million with a capital expenditure of 80 Billion whereas the SSGCL laid only 14000 kilometres and new consumers by 0.6 Million with an expenditure 43 billion only.
He said that today if there is situation in SSGCL territory better only because of precautionary stand taken by the Company and not giving the connection without looking at the projected supplies. Even today there are more than 350 applications lying pending which could create an employment to more than 150,000 people and investment of billions.
He stated that one has to understand the facts and take decisions in the larger interest of the Nation. He claimed that before seven years everything was fine in Pakistan and the total supply of gas in the country was also around 3900 mmcfd and the country’s entire industry and power sector was running smoothly. The question arises what happened in the last 6 7 years The answer is very clear that more connections were given that what we had available to supply.
Pakistan was running for last 64 years. Let’s go back to last seven years to a cut-off date to disconnect all the connections given within these last 7 years and investigate and disconnect those connections which were given in the period where there was ban/embargo on gas connection. Let’s investigate about the merit of connections which were given during this period. Let’s make Pakistan operational by moving back 7 years.
He also elaborated it is wrong to state that gas is depleting in Pakistan. He said there are many new fields which are, Mashallah, coming and are being connected to the system. In the last 7 years about 300 to 400 mmfcfd gas has been added taking the production to 4200 from 3800 mmcfd. Last but not the least this matter is already pending at the highest court that is Supreme Court of Pakistan.
In the end, President KCCI, appealed the honourable Minister to have interactive sessions and in order to find the solution to these crises instead of showing and looking at solutions other than natural. He assured the Minister we wholeheartedly believe in OnePakistan and at the same time factual positions cannot be denied. He further appealed to enhance the gas quota for SSGCL Territory to fill in the shortfall which is being faced by the population at large.