Power is the life-line of industry. Needless to say, without regular and trouble free power supply no industry can run satisfactorily. But unfortunately that is the lot of a large number of factories in Karachi and other parts of the country. Even in the notified industrial areas they do not get power without tears. Some of their specified complaints are: too much voltage fluctuation; unannounced maintenance shut down; stoppage in supply due to wire theft and other system damage, and the usual load shedding. There are too many maintenance shutdowns. There are many industries which must have regular supply without fluctuation. Such industries have only two options, either to shut down or to have their own power generators. The number of CNG users e.g. power plants, industry, domestic consumers as well as vehicles, has been increasing at a fast pace while the CNG supply from our indigenous sources is not sufficient even to meet the current needs. The shortfall would go on widening. Similarly, the present government has caused a loss of billions of rupees in the agriculture, industrial and transport sectors by increasing the price of diesel to prohibitive level. Therefore, the basic need is to further dig out the wells and explore oil and gas resources instead of importing LNG through shipping vessels or laying pipelines from other countries. The Adviser on Petroleum has hinted that in view of the shortage of natural gas in the country, government may put restrictions on the use of gas by public transport vehicles and limit it to cars. It may be mentioned here that the motorists have spent billions of rupees in converting their vehicles to CNG. It also involved a huge amount of foreign exchange in importing the kits. Now the Petroleum Adviser has hinted that the use of CNG may be restricted only to transport vehicles and cars of 1000cc and less. It is nothing short of a bombshell for the thousands of car owners who are running on CNG now. There is news that government is willing to buy LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) from USA. The LNG should not be confused with LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas). According to sources, it is a whole new ball game. Its handling, transportation and storage require highly advanced technology and huge investment. Any lapse can be very hazardous. Till now besides US and EU countries only Japan has been importing and using LNG on a large scale.Pakistan would require substantial investment and technical expertise to import and use LNG. Hence, before the government takes a decision; it must thoroughly examine its pros and cons in detail and formulate a long term and stable policy regarding energy mix.
-Published on page#8 in December-2012 issue of MOBILE WORLD Magazine