ECC approves gas load management plan

ECC approves gas load management plan

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the federal cabinet on Tuesday approved the natural gas load management plan, which would govern priorities for the delivery of natural gas to various sectors.

The ECC meeting was chaired by Finance Minister Hafeez Shaikh. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources submitted the natural gas load management principle, which was approved by the committee. According to the approved plan, it was decided that first priority order would be given to the domestic and commercial sectors while power and general industries sectors would be accorded second and third priorities respectively. The Ministry of Water and Power had requested for enhanced gas supply to power plants on SNGPL system in the backdrop of load shedding in the power sector.

Meanwhile, the cement sector would be fourth on the priority list, the CNG sector would be the fifth and the last priority – a move rejected by the CNG association.The ECC also accorded its approval to marginal/standard gas fields pricing criteria and guidelines, submitted by the Petroleum Ministry.The guidelines provide for pricing structure applicable to the oil or gas reservoirs that cannot be exploited economically under the existing E&P Policies, pricing structure and available technologies.

The ECC approved the proposal of the ministry to set the marginal fields gas prices in accordance with Petroleum Exploration and Production Policy 2012 with an additional premium of $0.25 per MMBTU.It was also decided that the government shall have the first right to purchase pipelines specification gas from the marginal gas fields at a price to be determined in accordance with the above mentioned pricing formula.CNG association: The All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) rejected the gas load management plan approved by the ECC, terming it a short-sighted decision which would inflict miseries on the masses and threaten investments in the CNG sector at the benefit of the influential petroleum and liquid gas sectors.

CNG Association Chairman Ghayas Abdullah Paracha, in a press release, said the decision to keep the CNG sector at the bottom of the priority list for provision of the natural gas was unacceptable and would be resisted and challenged at all forums.The press release said the plan had been designed keeping the interests of influential sectors in mind, and that giving the least priority to the CNG sector meant that general public would continue to wait for hours in long queues to get CNG.

Paracha said the controversial decision had threatened investments to the tune of Rs 400 billion in the CNG sector and that it would devastate 3.5 million people, who were running their vehicles on CNG.Demanding an inquiry into the “conspiracies hatched by the Petroleum Ministry against the CNG sector”, Paracha alleged that the ECC’s decision was based on another summary moved by the ministry which amounted to paving way for corruption to the tune of billions. – PT