S.KAMAL HAYDER KAZMI,
Research Analyst, PAGE
Dec 10 - 16, 2012
Growth of oil consumption, especially in South Asia region passes significantly ahead of oil production capacities of OPEC and other countries. The only way to avoid fuel crisis that has been already taken by many countries is transition to alternative motor fuels.
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is a cheaper than gasoline and diesel vehicles fuel even cheaper than propane, and are well suited for use by vehicle fleets that consume high volumes of fuel, refuel at centralized locations, and are increasingly required to reduce emissions.
Crude oil prices were affected by increased demand from developing economies, global political issues, weather related supply disruptions and other factors.
However, the global recession in 2008 through 2009 brought about a decline of world oil prices. As world economic growth has resumed and political instability has swept the Middle East, oil, gasoline, and diesel prices have again increased, with prices for a barrel of crude topping $100 a barrel in February 2011.
Higher oil, gasoline and diesel prices improve the magnitude of the immediate market opportunity for alternative fuels. As at the end of 2011, there were more than 15 million Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs) operating worldwide.
Natural gas can be used in all classes of vehicles - motorcycles, cars, vans, light and heavy duty trucks, buses, lift trucks, locomotives, even ships and ferries.
It is expected to increase more than 65 million natural gas vehicles by 2020. According to international association of natural gas vehicles (IANGV) statistics, more than seventy countries of the world are using CNG and Pakistan is ranked third after argentina and brazil.
In Asia, Pakistan is leading the CNG using countries. But, CNG sector needs immediate attention of authorities as billions of rupees have been invested in it and 3.5 million cars have been converted in addition to the millions of people who are directly and indirectly employed in this sector. CNG price in Pakistan was the highest in the region therefore it must be brought down in line with other countries in the national interest. Price of CNG in Pakistan should match other countries as people are already grappling with inflation.
The decisions for the CNG sector were taken on merit and as a result these badly affected the sector as powerful lobby was out to boost its business.
CNG gas was an indigenous resource which was economical and clean as compared to imported fuels which were costly and unfriendly to environment.
It is said that the price of CNG in Thailand in 76.70 per cent less as compared to price of petrol. Similarly, in Bangladesh, CNG is available at 68.61 per cent lesser price, Indonesia 51.65 per cent and in India 58.84 per cent of the cost of petrol.
Many countries including India and Bangladesh did not have any indigenous substitute for gasoline and they lack proper gas infrastructure. But, these countries sell CNG at low price as compared to Pakistan despite importing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and paying for conversion to enable it for use in vehicles. As a policy, US and many EU countries have been promoting use of gas to reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels due to uncertainty in supply chain, volatility in prices, and save foreign exchange. Many countries were also doing away with expensive LPG but here CNG sector was being closed to boost import of costly fuel.
Total consumption of CNG sector in Pakistan was not more than 8 per cent but it had to pay more taxes as compared to any other sector using gas.
Before 2002, there was a ban on running thermal power plants on CNG. It was the previous government's era when country started running power stations on clean fuel despite scarcity.
This decision resulted in depletion of precious gas reserves which took toll on masses and economy, deprived industry of economical fuel, and contributed to rapid environmental degradation.
More recently, People have suffered due to the closure of CNG stations since many days, the transport authority had been adversely affected as 90 per cent of the vehicles and 40 per cent of the ambulances were stationary since they run primarily on CNG. People are also stuck at home due to the unavailability of gas because even they can't afford high petrol prices.
People wait in a long queue outside a CNG stations and waste hours to get CNG. Even, twenty four hours CNG stations in the country have been closed for unlimited time period.
Pakistan is one of those countries who are caught in different serious gas crisis. Extra use of gas by home users is one the important factor of gas crisis in Pakistan. Using of gas heater rather than warm clothes and excess usage of gas geezers. The government should give awareness to the people through media and other medium of information to convert gas geezers into solar & use solar energy more and more. Use warm clothes rather than gas heaters & also ensure the availability the warm clothes in cheap prices.
Unlimited import of CNG kits in that case without considering the gas reserves in hand through this policy users convert every kind of this vehicle into CNG kit .Never made a vehicle criteria that which class of vehicle is suitable for CNG it also become part of this crisis. The vehicle criteria should be proposed which kind of vehicles is suitable for CNG Kits.
The biggest industry of country converts their factories into gas quickly and now they cannot run without gas. The government should also give notice to those companies who have extra consumption of gas in a certain time.
Mismanagement is a big or one of the biggest factors in gas crisis because issuing new & unlimited licenses of CNG stations. The CNG stations are increasing on the daily basis e.g only one small road has 4 to 5 CNG stations in Pakistan. The government sjould also ban on new gas connections (industry, CNG stations, household) in new areas on urgent basis until a new solution of availability of gas. No doubt, CNG has been used as a vehicle fuel for many decades.