DESPITE efforts by the Government to augment supplies at whatever cost, there are still apprehensions that the country might be facing serious gas shortage during winter months with implications for families, commercial activities, power generation and industrial production.
According to reports, there will be a gas deficit of 717mmcfd in December (next month), which will further increase to 961mmcfd in January 2022.
The Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCOE) , which met on Thursday to take stock of the situation, has decided to convene another meeting to discuss options including purchasing more spot LNG cargoes, particularly for the peak winter months and hopefully it would succeed in devising an urgent and viable policy to avert the looming crisis.
The Advisor for Commerce is rightly concerned as he is urging continued supply of gas to the industry to realize the target of $38 billion exports but the Energy Ministry has already devised a weekly rotation plan for off days in terms of gas supply and to this effect rotation-wise closure of cement, CNG and general industry will be ensured and this will, obviously, seriously affect production and hence exports.
This is not for the first time that we are faced with the scenario of crippling gas shortage during winter but regrettably relevant institutions and forums are not taking medium and long term measures to bridge the deficit despite the fact that this is doable as demonstrated by the then Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resource Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who proudly announced the availability of abundant gas for all sectors after implementation of a plan to augment the supply.
Regrettably, the momentum was not maintained due to political considerations and as a result people are made to suffer not just in winter but even in summer.
The Prime Minister may take notice of the situation and direct the authorities concerned to ensure implementation of a plan that results in easing of the situation, at least, next year.