Former President of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Dr. Shahid Rasheed Butt, said on Wednesday that after the sharp increase in gas prices, a gas crisis has started across the country, which will intensify next month. He said steps should be taken to deal with it, as the crisis will hurt the masses and hit the economy. He added that the price of LPG is also skyrocketing, which should be reduced to save people from the annoyance of a harsh winter.
Shahid Rashid Butt, while talking to the businessperson, said that the government should not delay the necessary steps to deal with the natural gas and LPG crises.
He said many foreign gas exploration companies have left the country due to discouragement. In contrast, the performance of local companies is unsatisfactory, due to which LNG is being imported by spending substantial foreign exchange. LNG imports are a drain on scarce resources, but at the same time, they provide some relief to people and industries dependent on gas.
He said that advance agreements are made with international gas supply companies in which the country’s interests are not considered. Cancellation of gas supply contracts with global suppliers has become the norm, and a proper mechanism has yet to be implemented to enforce the contract.
Shahid Rashid Butt said that the previous government had signed a contract for gas supply with a company from Azerbaijan. Still, this company is more interested in the EU market, which will worsen the winter crisis.
Failure by that company to provide LNG will affect the people and the economy, he observed.
The absence of the expected cargo could compel the government to slash the gas supply to the domestic sector, leaving Pakistan at the mercy of the spot market to fill the gap.
The missing cargo translates into a deficit of approximately 100 million cubic feet per day, which will spell a doomsday scenario for some sectors.
He demanded that the government immediately make alternative arrangements to get LNG to reduce the severity of the crisis.