Gas supply extended till Dec 31


Pakistan is facing severe urea shortage, that may affect sowing of the country’s main staple food; wheat. This has forced the government to extend gas supply to fertiliser sector till 31st December, while Ministry of Water and Power (MOWP) has demanded release of Rs10 billion to maintain uninterrupted power supplies during low water supply period of January and February.
Power, domestic sectors to get more gas supplies: An official source said government had decided to keep power sector exempt from gas supply on Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) network for the current month. He said the decision was made considering slow pace of urea imports. However, he said, power and domestic sectors will be getting more gas supplies after fertiliser sector goes on its annual turnaround from early next year. Pakistan has faced an unprecedented gas shortage during this calendar year. The domestic urea production declined to 2.4 million tonnes as compared to the demand of 3.4 million tonnes for the Rabi crops, winter-spring cultivation season. This resulted in a shortfall of one million tonnes of urea. Government decided to plug the gap through import of 0.7 million tonnes of urea. Low availability of urea has doubled its price from Rs830 per bag to Rs1770 per bag during the last year.
Govt decides to provide gas to fertiliser sector: Government has decided to provide 76 mmcfd gas of power sector to fertiliser sector to enhance its supply to 150 mmcfd as compared to their requirements of 236 mmcfd. Fertiliser companies couldn’t run on their full capacity which took a toll on production of urea in the country. Additional gas provided to fertiliser factories enabled them to run on 80 per cent capacity. These factories were estimated to produce 2 to 2.5 million tonnes of fertiliser in November and continued gas supply in December will enable them to produce 5.5 million tonnes of urea. Pakistan has annual urea demand of 6.5 million tonnes; which could be easily fulfilled by local fertiliser industry having capacity to produce 6.9 million tonnes per annum provided they get sufficient gas supply. Annual production for current year is estimated to be five million tonnes with an estimated urea shortage of 1.3 million. Government has already imported 500,000 tonnes of urea during the current year.
Natural gas shortfall: According to Petroleum Ministry estimates, natural gas shortfall against committed supplies would be around 911 mmcfd in December and will increase upto 1.1 mmcfd in January and 1.4 mmcfd in February, before easing down to 726 mmcfd in March next year. Diversion of gas to fertiliser sector in November has resulted in a decline of 325 MW in power generation. Shifting gas based IPPs on diesel will enhance their generated power at least by Rs10 per unit.
He said hydel output of 3800 MW will end with closure of canals for annual clean up.
Present shortage of 1100 MW will jump to 5000 MW if finances were not provided for additional fuel purchase. If the required amount is provided the shortage will be around 2000 MW which will result in load management of three to four hours daily.