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Monday, May 20, 2024

Sindh faces gas and oil crises

Despite being the largest contributor of oil and gas in Pakistan, the province of Sindh continues to face an acute shortage of these energy sources.

Sindh, which is the third largest province of Pakistan is currently facing an acute shortage of oil and natural gas. This is mainly due to the significant decrease in the local production this year. Compared to the past years, the commercial supply of oil reduced by 19.8 per cent in the financial year 2018-19.

Due to persistent gas shortage, Sindh government is fearing a crises-like situation to arise in the future. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, in December 2020, had demanded that Prime Minister Imran Khan direct the petroleum division of the federal energy ministry to promptly allocate at least 1,500 to 1,600 MMCFD (million cubic feet a day) gas to the province.

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In a letter to the Prime Minister, he called out the callous and negligent attitude of the Federal Government towards Sindh and how it has affected the population of the province severely this winter. He said that the province that produced over 68 percent of the total natural gas produced in the country was facing a situation where there’s no gas to cook food at home and the industries are being forced to shut down due to low gas pressure.

Pakistan Energy Yearbook 2019, published by The Hydrocarbon Development Institute of Pakistan, under the Ministry of Energy states that the country has witnessed a 6.7 per cent increase in total energy consumption during the last 6 years.  The government sector saw a 130 percent increase in consumption in the government sector while the increase in consumption recorded for the domestic sector was 4.6 percent during the same period.

Read More: Gas shortage in Pakistan leads another chilly winter

The report declared that till date, Sindh is the largest contributor of oil and gas in Pakistan. The province contributed 60 per cent of the total oil production in the country in 2009, according to the Sindh Energy Department. Khairpur Mirs, Dadu, Ghotki, Sukkur, Badin Kashmore, Hyderabad, and Sanghar. The industries have the highest consumption of energy in Pakistan at 37.1 percent, followed by transport at 31 percent.

Natural gas is still a vital source of commercial energy supply in Pakistan and makes up for about 35 per cent of the total commercial energy supply. Oil, on the other hand, meets oil meets 25.7 per cent of the total energy needs.

An alarming situation for Karachi

According to Sindh government, the gas crisis is being aggravated by incompetent rulers and their failed policies. Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Sheikh recently reminded the federal government that it was the third winter during PTI’s tenure that the people were facing a gas crisis.

Sindh Chief Syed Minister also made it clear that he was foreseeing a bleak future for the city of Karachi amidst the ongoing gas and oil crises. The domestic consumers who had the first and foremost right over gas produced in Sindh were now suffering from long hours of gas load-shedding. The transportation services are also coming to a standstill and the daily wagers are losing their livelihoods. It is a shame that Sindh produces about 2,500 to 2,600 MMCFD gas and the population which resides barely has access to it.

Read More: Pakistan Energy Mix: Overview of Gas Sector (Upstream)

The business community of Karachi also met with President Dr Arif Alvi where they expressed their concerns regarding the gas shortage in the province which was affecting their industries. The President assured that he would take this matter up to the relevant ministers. KCCI President Shariq Vohra notified Mr Alvi about the ongoing crises and how it would hinder exports if it continued. Dr Arif Alvi promised to work on this issue and confirmed that he would update the businessmen regarding the developments.