Pakistan: cement and textile sectors face gas load shedding

Pakistan: cement and textile sectors face gas load shedding
Published: 14 October 2008

Untimely shutting down the Qadirpur field for emergency maintenance has left the industrial sector in the lurch, as it forced Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL) to curtail gas supply to cement, textile, and many other industries from October 11.

In the first phase, the SNGPL has picked up cement and textile sectors to face the gas load shedding. The gas supply to these key industries has reduced to half of the routine level. Likewise, other industries will face the same level of short supply of gas on their turn. The SNGPL is implementing a rotational formula to introduce load management for offsetting negative impact of less gas supply to different industries.

This scribe contacted SNGPL Managing Director Abdul Rashid Lone to know the reason of unexpected gas load shedding for industrial sector. He seemed visibly perturbed over unexpected shortfall up to 33 per cent of gas in SNPGL system. He said "Qadirpur gas field’s shutting down for maintenance has resulted in short supply of 500 mmcfd gas to the SNGPL, which forced it to curtail supply to cement and other major industrial sectors.

The Qadirpur gas field had shut down for emergency maintenance from October 11. Its scheduled maintenance would complete and resume gas supply to SNGPL system from October 18. But next day on October 19, Sawan field, another major source of gas supply to the SNPGL, will shut down for maintenance.

It gives a clear indication that the SNGPL will keep on facing short supply and forcibly keep gas load shedding in place as long as emergency or routine maintenance of the fields which provides the SNGPL or the SSGC major share of gas continues. Shutting down of Qadirpur and then Sawan field for maintenance right in the beginning of winter season is questionable. The government authorities are supposed to take action against those who left annual maintenance of major gas field for winter season when gas consumption rises quickly due to surge in domestic sector’s usage.

Sources said the Qadirpur gas field’s maintenance was due in June, but it was kept pending for the reason better known to the official concerned. Had the maintenance of major field done in June it would not have created gas crisis-like situation for the industrial sector. As per approved schedule all fields are required to shut down for annual maintenance in summer season when gas demand for domestic sector remains extremely low.

The SNPGL with larger distribution network gets around 1800 mmcfd gas to cover Punjab, NWFP and Azad Kashmir. Any shortfall in supply to its system adds to the woes of the clientage in particular the industrial and commercial sectors.