As the government announced to ensure gas supply three times a day amid an expected gas shortage in Pakistan in the winter season, a picture containing a gas supply schedule, purportedly issued by Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGC), circulated on social media.
However, the SSGC on Sunday took notice of the matter and refuted reports that it has issued a schedule for the provision of gas, terming the information “fake news”.
Taking to Twitter, the SSGC clarified that the information being attributed to SSGC is fake, as it referred to the picture circulating on social media.
It said that the “SSGC has nothing to do with it [the information]”, and if there is any announcement regarding the curtailment of gas supply, it would be the Ministry of Energy to announce it.
“A post is being shared on social media listing down a ‘Gas Schedule’ and attributing the information to SSGC. Please note this is fake news and SSGC has nothing to do with it. If there is any curtailment announcement, it will be from the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division),” read the statement
In the post that the SSGC referred to, it was claimed that the gas company has announced a timetable for gas load shedding, according to which gas will be supplied to domestic consumers thrice a day during these hours:
‘Gas supply to be ensured at breakfast, lunch, dinner hours’
The “fake news” on social media follows a statement on Friday by Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar, who said that gas supply will be ensured at breakfast, lunch, dinner hours.
The statement came during a discussion in Senate over the expected gas crisis as Azhar shot down rumours about the provision of gas for only three days a week.
“For the first time, the government is trying to ensure gas supply three times each day,” said Azhar.
When asked if people will be able to fry an egg during the gas shortage, Azhar responded positively.
Domestic, industrial consumers to face gas shortage
Earlier this week, The News reported that the Pakistan government has decided to continue gas supply to the power and fertiliser sectors, while domestic and industrial consumers will suffer shortages amid a major gas shortfall in the country during the winter season.
The decision was made by the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) during a meeting on Thursday which was chaired by Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar.
The CCOE decided supply of gas to “dedicated” consumers, including power and fertiliser plants, would remain stable, the publication reported.
The power plants on Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited supply, which provides gas to Punjab and KP, will be provided RLNG during 2021-22 with additional supply. The deficit of the power sector will be recouped through furnace oil. Any gas saved from captive power plants will be diverted towards export-oriented industries.
The total availability of gas from domestic resources stands at 3,300 mmcfd, while with the import of RLNG, there is another 1,000 mmcfd gas coming into the system, the publication reported, citing official sources. There is a maximum gas supply available in the range of 4,300 mmcfd against the average demand of 6,500 to 7,000 mmcfd. In the severe winter season, this demand goes up to 8,000 mmcfd.
Why is a gas crisis expected again this year?
According to official sources, Pakistan is expected to be hit by a major gas crisis this year like every year for several reasons.
One of the reasons is that local discoveries of gas have witnessed a dip, so the domestic gas reserves are depleting, the sources explained, adding that the local gas supply stood at 4,300 mmcfd a few years back but now it has depleted and stands at 3,300 mmcfd.
The import of RLNG also faced snags and Pakistan used to add 1,200 mmcfd gas through RLNG a few years ago, but is now going to add just 1,000 mmcfd of gas.
“There is a need to ascertain why two RLNG terminals could not be set up. If they were there, the country could have imported 1,200 mmcfd more gas through RLNG,” the official sources said.