Situation demands for speedy development of the gas resources within the country and from external resources


Nov 11 - 17, 2002

The utility consumers generally get three bills, namely Telephone bills, Electricity bills and the bills for the natural gas at the end of the month. Relatively speaking, so far, the charges for consumption of natural gas, as compared to other utility bills, are so rationalized and affordable for the common man that one wishes to get yet another bill instead of a single one. However this sense of comfort vanishes soon when the consumers have the horrible sight of other utility bills specially the electricity bills. The reasons for the affordable price of the natural gas in Pakistan is obviously because the nature is kind enough and has given plenty of this precious environmental friendly fuel to Pakistan. However, this sense of satisfaction seems to be temporary as under the pressure of IMF the prices of natural gas too have to be increased in phases which, is certainly a cause of concern particularly for the low income groups of the society.

As far as quality of the services provided by SSGC was concerned, undoubtedly it is superb and Munnawar Ahmed, newly appointed Managing Director of the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) desires to elevate SSGC to the top position amongst not only the public sector but also the entire corporate sector in Pakistan.

Currently, SSGC having a strength of over 5000 workers including executives successfully catering to the needs of all sorts of consumers in the province of Sindh and Balochistan. The sales figures of the company speaks themselves about commendable growth which has risen from over Rs20 billion in 1999-2000 to Rs25 billion in 2001 and Rs.32 billion in 2002. The net profits also went up accordingly from Rs792 million in 1999-2000 to Rs1.4 billion in the current year, which includes profits worth Rs489 million earned LPG businesses.

As compared to growth in consumption of oil, which is static, or declining especially in the industrial sector, the demand of natural gas continues to grow in the franchise area of SSGC. The total gas supplies was estimated at 198,281 MMCF in the year 1999-2000 which has increased to 234,553 MMCF in 2001-2002 registering a gradual increase of 11.76 per cent during three years.

A break up of different segments of the consumers show that in the Southern Region SSGC has a total number of 1,611,973 consumers which include 2,285 Industrial, 17,652 Commercial and 1,592,036 domestic consumers.

Although the overall situation regarding reserves of natural gas in Pakistan is satisfactory as the country has enough reserves to meet the demand for next 25 years. This situation places the country into a safer zone as far as the sustainable supplies of the natural gas concerned. This comfortable position gives Pakistan an edge over India especially in the energy sector. India facing an extreme deficit in supply of gas as compared to Pakistan which currently has reserves to the tune of 22.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The current level of gas production in Pakistan is 0.900 trillion cubic feet a year and with this ratio of gas consumption country has enough gas for next 25 years. As a result of the role played by the natural gas in the economy of Pakistan it is saving at least $2.3 billion a year as an import substitute for POL products.

However, situation demands for speedy development of the gas resources within the country and from external resources in view of the rapid increase in demand for natural gas following government policies to switch over gas consuming sectors from oil to gas especially, power generation, fertilizer, industrial sectors.

The demand of gas for power generation which was 1.1 billion cubic feet daily (BCFD) in 2000 is projected to go up by 1.8 BCFD in 2005 and 2.2 BCFD in 2015.


SSGC has a transmission and distribution network which 2,782 km while the length of distribution lines is around 22,862 km, which speaks itself about the huge network, the Gas Company has to look after. However in view of the increase in demand for gas, the current target for connection of new gas fields namely Bhit, Zamzama and Sawan will be linked with the net work by next year.

The transport sector is becoming as yet another major gas consuming area with its rapid conversion from oil based to gas based system. Although there are strong possibilities for gas recoveries especially in the province of Sindh.

The power generation in the province of Sindh has already been switched from thermal to gas fired system. According to SSGC the total gas allocation is to increase from current 200mmc to 300mmc by next year which means KESC's entire power generation will be shifted from oil to gas by next year.

The purpose behind switching over the power generation from oil to gas was to cut down the cost of power generation. As a result of exorbitant increase in furnace prices the cost of power generation has also increased to such a level which, has not only affected the input of the industries but has gone beyond reach of the common man. It is hoped that use of natural gas for power generation will reduce the cost of power and that benefit should be passed on to the consumers also.