The Senate Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources was informed on Friday that 83 percent natural gas supply was going unbilled every year in the Balochistan province.
“Out of the total annual natural gas supply to Balochistan, 83 percent is going unbilled, which means the commodity is being stolen,” Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told the committee meeting, chaired by Mir Israrullah Khan Zehri.
He underlined the need for finding a solution of the issue instead of political scoring, adding that currently around 180 mmcfd (million cubic feet per day) gas was being supplied across the province against the requirement of 130 mmcfd gas. The total number of consumers in the province is around 2,60,000.
The committee was holding debate on a Calling Attention notice referred by the Senate and moved by Dr Ashok Kumar, Muhammad Usman Khan Kakar and Mir Kabeer Ahmed Muhammad Shahi regarding low gas pressure in district Qalat during the extreme winter season.
The minister said 12 mmcfd gas was being supplied to Qalat and Ziarat areas against their demand of 7 mmcfd gas, but only 2.5 mmcfd gas reached there. “What its mean?” The committee was apprised that illegal gas connections and theft were the main reason behind the low gas pressure.
The body summoned the Chief Secretary Balochistan and Inspector General of Police in the next meeting and directed the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) administration to come up with practicable suggestions to resolve the issue. It suggested to engage concerned district governments to stop gas theft and remove illegal gas connections from the high loss areas.
The committee sought details of gas theft, illegal gas connections, domestic and commercial consumers province-wise in next meeting. It also highlighted importance of setting up Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) air-mix plants at district level across the country to resolve the low gas pressure and the commodity shortage issue.