The newly inducted federal government has asked provinces to make necessary changes in a gas sharing formula in order to get maximum economic output instead of wasting the scarce resource in non-productive consumption.
It has taken up the issue with the Council of Common Interests at a recent meeting and requested provinces to rationalise gas distribution.
The Nawaz Sharif government is of the opinion it is unfair that CNG is available for vehicles in a gas-producing province while fertiliser plants are closed in another province due to non-availability of gas, even though the former may be the major consumer of fertiliser produced in that province. It is also unfair that electricity is being generated from fuel which is an expensive method and has its impact on all sectors and natural gas is supplied to CNG stations.
At present about 67 per cent of natural gas is produced in Sindh, 19 per cent in Balochistan, 9 per cent in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 5 per cent in Punjab.
The narrow interpretation of Article 158 of the constitution has created a lot of problems for the country. The article requires that “the province in which a well-head of natural gas is situated shall have precedence over other parts of Pakistan in meeting the requirements from the well-head, subject to the commitments and obligations as of the commencing day.”
The government claims that it is for the first time in many years that the power sector (independent power producers and generation companies) are being provided about 1 billion cubic feet of gas per day although power sector still requires another 60MMCFD gas to run a couple of more IPPs.