LNG im­ports prom­ise end of gas short­age in Pak­istan

Pakistan Observer - - ECONOMY WATCH -

MUHAM­MAD LUQ­MAN ELGIAN Ves­sel Ex­quis­ite docked at Port Qasim near Karachi has been in­stru­men­tal in re-gasi­fi­ca­tion of LNG im­ported from Qatar since March 2015. Cap­tain and en­gi­neers of Euro­pean ori­gin with the help of Philip­pino sailors carry out the operations aboard the ship weigh­ing 83,163 tons when­ever a fuel-laden ves­sel from the Gulf state is guided by the tug boats, ar­rives.” We en­joy re-gas­si­fi­ca­tion task while stay­ing on the ves­sel; Ul­ti­mately, we are con­tribut­ing to well be­ing of a friendly coun­try,” Cap­tain of the ship, a Nether­lan­der says. The Float­ing Stor­age and Re-Gasi­fi­ca­tion Unit with a ca­pac­ity of han­dling 600 mil­lion cu­bic feet of gas, has so far han­dled 1.7 mil­lion tons of slushy Liq­ue­fied Nat­u­ral Gas (LNG) over the last 13 months, turn­ing it into 77 bil­lion cu­bic feet of meth­ane. The ves­sel, which is of Float­ing Stor­age and Re-Gasi­fi­ca­tion Unit (FSRU) type LNG tanker, has been con­tracted by a Pak­istani com­pany for a pe­riod of 15 years. Un­der an agree­ment signed between Pak­istan and Qatar, LNG will be shipped to Pak­istan for a pe­riod of 15 years at a price of 13 per­cent of crude oil. Pak­istan is among 15 coun­tries in the world that have FSRU in­stead of land-based re-gasi­fi­ca­tion in­fra­struc­ture that could have in­curred mil­lions of additional dol­lars on the trans­porta­tion of the LNG. The FSRU, twice the size of a foot­ball field, has an on­board plant to turn su­per-chilled liq­uid meth­ane into gas from mi­nus 160 de­gree centi­grade to orig­i­nal gaseous state.

The im­ported gas, is then pumped into the sys­tem of

BSui South­ern Gas Com­pany (SSGC) be­fore its trans­fer into Sui North­ern Gas Pipe­lines Limited (SNGPL) sys­tem for pro­vi­sion to the gas-starved cen­tral Pak­istan prov­ince of Pun­jab. With only 5 per­cent of to­tal gas pro­duced in Pak­istan, Pun­jab con­sumes more than 60 per­cent of the avail­able meth­ane, mainly as do­mes­tic and in­dus­trial fuel. Be­fore the im­port of LNG, gas sup­ply to In­dus­try, power plants, fer­til­izer fac­to­ries and CNG sta­tions was com­pletely sus­pended in win­ters to en­sure smooth cook­ing in Pun­jab’s homes.

Dur­ing win­ters, to­tal gas de­mand in Pak­istan shoots upto 6 bil­lion cu­bic feet per day against avail­abil­ity of 4 bil­lion cu­bic feet. Given the de­ple­tion of the gas re­serves in Pak­istan and around 10 per­cent per an­num in­crease in the gas con­sump­tion, the short­fall is all set to touch new mark of 4 bil­lion cu­bic feet within next 5 years. “The im­port of LNG has helped in­crease the gas avail­abil­ity by 10 per­cent. Now in­dus­tries, power plants and CNG sta­tions are get­ting gas round the clock,” says Aamir Mah­mood, man­ager ELENGY Ter­mi­nal.

Presently, LNG is be­ing im­ported through state-owned oil mar­ket­ing com­pany, PSO. The ves­sel is uti­liz­ing only 66 per­cent of its ca­pac­ity of han­dling and re-gas­si­fi­ca­tion. In case of govern­ment’s per­mis­sion to pri­vate sec­tor for im­port of LNG, this ca­pac­ity can be uti­lized. Af­ter the suc­cess­ful ex­pe­ri­ence of FSRU ship at Port Qasim, Pak­istan is also con­tem­plat­ing to have an­other float­ing stor­age and re­gas­si­fi­ca­tion fa­cil­ity at Gwadar Port. En­ergy ex­perts be­lieve that gas im­port is go­ing to prove the ultimate so­lu­tion of Pak­istan’s en­ergy cri­sis.

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