Gas shortage, ban on new connections to stay for years, Senate told.

ISLAMABAD -- The Senate was told on Tuesday that gas shortage and ban on new connections would stay for years.

Speaking during the question hour, Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik told the house that two new policies aimed at overcoming the problem of gas shortage were almost ready and would be unveiled in a couple of weeks. He said one of these was about reopening the closed wellheads while the other was related to exploration of tight gas.

He, however, made it clear that the results would start accruing in three to four years due to the time-consuming exploration process. He said it would be unwise to give new connections under the prevailing circumstances, adding that the country produced a total of 3,200mmcft of gas, 200 of which was used for extraction and 1,400mmcft went directly from the wells to power and fertiliser sectors.

The minister said the requirement of Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL) for domestic consumers in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa alone stood at 1,400mmcft against the supply of 680mmcft in December and January.

In view of price hike, govt decides not to put additional burden on gas consumers, minister says

He also pointed out that gas production was depleting by 8-10pc every year, therefore, ban on new connections was in national interest.

Mr Malik recalled that the ban on new connections had been clamped by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government which had also amended the Ogra law to bar new connections till the gap between demand and supply was met. He, however, said it was a correct decision and there was no need to revisit it.

On leader of the opposition's claims that gas tariff had been hiked by 74pc with retrospective effect and the consumers will have to pay additional dues applicable from July 2022, Mr Malik said the Ogra proposal had not been approved.

'No consumer has been sent a bill with new tariff, nor will it be sent,' he added.

He said a bigger debate was currently underway...

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