Ambiguity is rife when it comes to the power sector.
While the situation on the ground seems to have improved over the last few days, the relief is temporary – and the bureaucracy doesn’t seem to make the sort of promises that had become the hallmark of the current prime minister when he was water and power minister.
Petroleum Secretary Ijaz Chaudhry informed the Senate Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources that there will be no relief in gas load-shedding till 2020. “Pakistan will be facing four billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) gas shortage till 2020 despite having gas under the Iran-Pakistan (IP) and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline projects,” Chaudhry told the meeting chaired by Senator Muhammad Yousaf.
The petroleum secretary informed the parliamentary panel that Sindh was producing 70% gas, Balochistan 19%, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) 6% and Punjab 5%.
“Despite being the lowest producer of gas, Punjab is consuming 46% gas as opposed to Sindh (42%), Balochistan (7%) and K-P (5%),” he said, adding that, for now, the country will face six bcfd shortage of gas but “after commencement of TAPI and IP projects, this shortfall would decrease to four bcfd.”
Meanwhile, parliamentarians expressed grave concern over the absence of some of the managing directors (MDs) of state-run oil and gas companies — refusing to accept briefings from other officials of those companies.
“Heads of companies do not bother to attend the meeting of the standing committee which is against democratic values and we will not listen to junior officials of these companies,” the committee’s chairman asserted.
Senator Sabir Baloch and Senator Talha strongly criticised the “arrogant attitude” of the managing director of the Pakistan State Oil (PSO).
Petroleum Secretary Chaudhry assured the committee that he would issue an explanatory notice to PSO’s MD and would submit a report regarding the matter.
During the meeting, when Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Dr Asim Hussain announced to brief the panel about restructuring of the committee, officials of the petroleum ministry refused.
Hussain lost his temper and proposed to call off the meeting.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2012.