Courts should issue notices over gas load management concerns: Dr Asim

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Minister for Petroleum, Dr Asim Hussain, has said if the courts have any concerns over the gas load management plan, they should issue proper notice to the government before granting stay. Talking to reporters, he said the executive should be allowed to implement the gas load management plan, as influence exerted by the industries and CNG sector was adding to the woes of domestic consumers. He said the work on Iran Pakistan gas pipeline was progressing and financial advisor for the project will be appointed in next two days. He said the construction of the pipeline will not be an issue, as gas infrastructure cess and levy on natural gas will be generating Rs45 billion per annum. The estimated cost of laying the infrastructure is Rs120 billion. On Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) transit fee with India, he said dates of his visit were being worked out with Indian authorities. He said the visit was likely to take place in January. On the litigation, he said a court had granted stay over LPG extraction from Kunnar Pasaki Deep that would halt the linking of 125 mmcfd of gas from the field into the transmission network. The government was targeting linking the gas supply from December this year. He said if the courts have any concerns over the gas load management plan, they should issue proper notice to the government before granting stay. There is no additional gas available in the country and the winter demand could only be managed through load management. There should be no influence from anybody and let the executive decide to meet the requirements of domestic consumers. During the last six years, gas transmission network has doubled and gas demand has risen to 8 bcfd, as against the supply of 4 bcfd, he added. About the gas supply to fertiliser sector, he said it would be curtailed from today onwards and gas supply will be provided to only two fertiliser plants. However, he did not share the names of the fertiliser plants that would be getting supply after December 1. The fertiliser plants were given a supply of 170 mmcfd as compared to their demand of 240 mmcfd, to meet up the urea shortfall. The minister said the gas supply situation would remain tight during this winter season. Giving his own example, he said he has purchased LPG cylinders for his hospital in Karachi as the system will face unprecedented shortage during the winter season. Petroleum Ministry estimates shortage of 911 mmcfd in December and 1.1 bcfd during January. He said despite announcing enhancing gas supply from 140 mmcfd to 180 mmcfd to Karachi Electric Supply Corporation, no additional gas could be provided, as no gas was available. However, he said efforts were under way to enhance supply to curb the power load shedding.