July 11 - 17, 2011

Kadanwari, one of the 16 gasfields in the system of Sui Southern Gas Company, has gone on what is called annual turnaround or maintenance which means that supply of about 200mmcf gas per day has been suspended from the gasfield from Friday last.

In order to economize the remaining amount of gas, the management of SSGC has taken certain gas load management measures, which include closure of CNG stations for two days while gas supplies to industrial consumers will also be suspended simultaneously to keep on supplies for power generation. It may be mentioned that Karachi has over 660 CNG stations at the moment.

Azim Iqbal Siddiqi, Managing Director Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) at a press conference prior to the closure of Kadanwari gasfield last week said that Kadanwari gasfield injects some 200mmcf gas per day in to SSGC system.

Besides CNG stations gas supplies will also be suspended to the industries at least for two days on July 11-12 to ensure sustainable gas supplies to KESC, which is already under pressure and has to resort to load shedding of about 10-12 hours a day in Karachi.

The CNG stations and industries located in Balochistan would however be exempted from this load management to avoid any politicization in that province which always raise hue and cry over what they call sense of deprivation among the people of Balochistan.

The gas supply from Kadanwari would return to normalcy on July 14, said SSGC chief. When his attention was invited towards bulging dues against KESC to the tune of about Rs30 billion, SSGC Chief said we are in touch with the government and the minister concerned who have given assurances for payment of outstanding bills against KESC. Actually, KESC is a public utility company and has to generate power, which can not be allowed to disrupt for money only.

Mr. Azim said that gas supplies are likely to be supplemented from additional gas supplies from Zamzama and other gasfields by next year hence going forward the coming year may not be so difficult as of today.

When asked to comment on gas supplies arrangements in tidbits instead of importing gas from neighboring Iran at an affordable price, he said that the government and the minister concerned are actively engaged with the Iran gas pipeline and there were talks for laying 670 mile pipeline jointly by SSGC & SNGPL. Things are on its way for import of gas besides stepping into import of LNG and Synthetic gas for industrial purposes. It may be noted that the State Bank of Pakistan has also strongly recommended to work on emergency basis for import of gas to get rid of the costly fuel oil for power generation which is attributing to the unabated inflationary pressures in the country.

Replying to a question he nodded that SSGC is very much in business for acquiring Progas terminal at Port Qasim which is auctioned under supervision of the court on July 27. This would certainly augment storage capacity of SSGC as well as help import of LPG through this terminal.

Azim Iqbal was accompanied by Zuhair Siddiqi and Yusuf Ansari and other senior management officials on the occasion.

The industrial consumers were of the opinion that choosing peak summer for closing down gasfields for annual maintenance seemed an ill-timed strange decision especially when the country was experiencing the worst kind of energy crisis these days.

Out of 16 gasfields in the SSGC system, the closure of Kadanwari gasfield was the third gasfield closed in the current summer. Bhitshah and another gasfield were already closed to add to the woes of the consumers. Why the maintenance period was not selected when weather was normal is incomprehensible and shocking.

The Kadanwari gasfield is selected for annual operational maintenance from 8th to 23rd July, 2011, directly reducing the company's capacity to serve its customers in meeting their normal gas requirements.

In view of this extraordinary situation, SSGC has taken several steps to maintain normal supplies to its customers including requesting the CNG stations to observe closure for 2 days. In addition, SSGC has also requested the industrial sector to use the natural gas with purpose by voluntarily curtailing their gas consumption by 10 per cent during the above mentioned period.

Meanwhile, the SSGC management to discuss the situation called a meeting with the leading CNG associations. The meeting reached a consensus that CNG stations would be closed from 9.00 am on Monday July 11, 2011 until midnight of Tuesday July 12, 2011 due to the Annual-Turn-Around (ATA) of OMV Pakistan-operated Kadanwari Gasfield.

SSGC's Zuhair Siddiqui, DMD (Corporate Services), Salim A. Mughal, SGM (Distribution-South) and Shoaib Warsi, SGM (Distribution-North) represented the SSGC in the meeting.

Head of leading CNG Associations of the country including Abdul Sami Khan, Chairman CNG Dealers Association, Junaid Esmail Makda, Central Chairman All-Pakistan CNG Association and Malik Khuda Baksh, Chairman of CNG Station Owners Association participated in the meeting.

SSGC's hallmark has always been to provide uninterrupted gas supply to all its customers. However, being a transmission and distribution company, the utility is totally dependent on the quantities of gas it receives from various gas fields, said SSGC.