THERE IS more than 400 mmcfd gas available from the already developed gasfields in Sindh like Sinjhoro, Maher, Kandanwari, Kunnar Pashaki that has been awaiting to be connected to the transmission grid for the last five years.

However, our optimistic adviser of Petroleum and Natural Resource has given us breaking news of a Gas Sales, Purchase Agreement (GSPA) between the SSGC and the Turkish firm whereby the SSGC will lay a 52-km pipeline worth Rs.325m to bring 30 mmcfd of tight gas into the system by May next.

The fact of the matter is that LNG imports got mishandled and delayed. The LPG terminal recently acquired by the SSGC for about Rs3 billion against acquired loan from the bank with annual markup of half billion costing the SSGC has rusted away as it has been lying unused and unmaintained for a long time.

Besides, the question of the technical audit of the plant was not settled before and after the sale. The plant itself failed with the private party and it would be a wonder if the public sector organisation can make use of the same. It is our adviser/past minister and senator who forced the SSGC to borrow this money from banks and buy an asset to cost half a billion markup every year for the SSGC with zero productivity of the assets.

Should the Public Accounts Committee and others not come into action?

The Iran-Pakistan and TAPI pipeline is a pipedream, which has been repeatedly reported to be on way for the last four years by the same present adviser/past minister and now past senator who understandably resigned because of charge of dual nationality reported in the press.

The adviser is now left with no options but to talk about tight gas and shale gas.

The tight gas is having a price tag of one and a half times of the present exploration prices and it will double the price of gas for consumers when Ogra will also provide rate of return, along with unaccounted-for gas (UFG), to the gas distribution companies.

Who knows if the audit will also reveal that the gas explored before the announcement of the petroleum policy 2012 is being purchased at more than double the price consumers will have to pay after tariff determination.

A.H. Abbasi @Islamabad

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