Government committed towards removing sense of deprivation in Balochistan: State Minister

SAMEER Nazir
KARACHI:
Jam Kamal Khan, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Resources has reiterated that the Government is determined to resolve a sense of deprivation from Balochistan by concentrating on implementing a number of natural gas related projects.
He said this while talking to the media at a briefing held at SSGC Head Office on April 17, 2014. Zuhair Siddiqui, MD, SSGC and Yusuf J. Ansari, DMD also spoke on the occasion. Also present at the briefing was Shahbaz Islam, DGM (Corporate Communications).
The Minister said SSGC has been implementing a number of gas supply projects in Balochistan in order to improve the gas supply situation in the province. He added that the Company has installed LPG-Air Mix plants in Gwadar, Noshki, Surab and Kot Ghulam Mohammad to ensure gas supply to areas, which are far off from the distribution grid. The Minister said that through Public Sector Development Programme 2013-14, 70% of the funding for gas development projects in Balochistan will be provided by the Federal Government while the rest will be allocated from SSGC’s budget. Moreover, he said, the Zarghun Gas Field, which is in the process of being commissioned in Balochistan will pump in 25 mmcfd gas to Quetta and adjoining areas, after which the increasingly low pressure Balochistan faces during winters will reduce considerably. The Minister pointed out that during the last winter season, SSGC supplied 150 mmcfd to Quetta alone which is 30 mmcfd more than average in winters.
The Minister added that in order to augment gas supplies, the Government is also pursuing a number of distribution options including LNG, Shale and Tight Gas, all of which will substantially fix the demand-supply mismatch.
Replying to a question, Mr. Siddiqui said that SSGC and K-Electric are nearing an agreement whereby K-Electric will pay the arrears it owes to the gas utility. This agreement will facilitate K-Electric in settling its overdues to SSGC that has swelled to Rs. 52 billion through a mutually worked out formula, the MD added.
In reply to another query, Mr. Siddiqui said that in the next several months more than 100 mmcfd gas will enter into SSGC’s system through Zarghun, Naimat Basal and Kunnar-Pasakhi integration projects. This positive development, he added, will help to ease gas pressure in SSGC’s franchise areas. He said the gas supply situation in Karachi is not as grave as it seems since most industries are receiving gas six days in a week and the schedule of CNG outlets closure has been revised from three to two days.
The MD also said that the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources is also reviewing the policy of moratorium on gas connections to high-rise buildings.
The Minister concluded the media briefing by stressing that as a nation, we need to change our mindset to focus on better utilization of natural gas resources since the resources are fast depleting. He warned that if all stakeholders concerned including the utilities and E&P companies do not attempt to arrest their depletion, the public hue and cry about reduced gas supplies will get worse ten years from now.