Govt urged to minimize reliance on costly LNG import

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ISLAMABAD: Globally, Pakistan is at the 29th position on the basis of natural gas reserves. The total extractable potential is reported around 24 TCFT, however, 4 billion cubic feet (BCFT) is the daily gas production. Sindh has 124 gas fields and accounts for 63%. The biggest field of natural gas is in the Sui region of Balochistan accounting for 6%. Country has proven reserves equivalent to 12.0 times its annual consumption.
This means it has about 12 years of gas left. As Pakistan is facing severe natural gas shortage for the last couple of years, it has started relying heavily on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), however, the government needs to explore other energy sources to save the environment as well as financial spending on the LNG import. It was revealed during the findings of a gas monitor report presented by Dr. Amanullah Mahar, Director, and Center for Environmental Sciences, University of Sindh, Jamshoro.
The alarming situation for the country is that the supply of natural gas is declining day by day from domestic sources as the consumer need is continuously increasing. Since last decade the consumption of natural gas has increased resulting in the import of LNG. The biggest consumer of natural gas is the power sector followed by residential. There are some gas losses between 11% – 14% due to illegal theft and other reasons. Initially, LNG was introduced to meet the supply gap but now it has a share of 25% of gas supply for LNG power plants in Pakistan. The spot prices have affected the purchasing strategy of LNG which is left up to 40% of supply, said by Dr Mahar while presenting his findings of the report.
He added that, “LNG, Fossil gas is a very high carbon intensive fuel and cannot be called “transition” fuel source to a cleaner energy system. Fossil gas (methane) can be leaked from the regasification, transport, and consumption and processing of it. After carbon dioxide (CO2), methane is the second most abundant anthropogenic greenhouse gas and responsible for 20% of worldwide atmospheric emissions. The methane is 25 times more potent than CO2 at absorbing atmospheric heat. In addition, installation of gas pipelines and during the construction of gas infrastructure may leak methane gas into water supplies and the environment.
While presenting findings of another report on “Tabeer LNG Terminal: Socio-Economic & Environmental Analysis”, an independent environmental researcher Ms. Fatima Fasih presented her findings:
It has been almost 4 years since the ESIA of the Project was conducted, but in recent years, several environmental, social and economic conditions of the area have changed and the results of this report can no longer be considered relevant to the current time. She added, “To continue with its current plans for establishing an end-to-end LNG Terminal, Tabeer Energy (Private) Limited must prepare an updated ESIA to take in consideration the changes in the environmental, social and economic conditions of the area.
This updated ESIA should include an estimate of the expected GHG emissions (Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3) for the company to accurately evaluate its carbon footprint and environmental impact.”
Ms. Fatima Fasih also added that: “Keeping the global LNG markets and their volatility in consideration, it is clear that LNG is no longer a financially-viable source of fuel. Instead of focusing on short-term monetary gains and quick gains in energy for the economy, public and private institutions should focus on building stronger energy security within Pakistan and developing a greener economy through a just and equitable energy transition towards renewable energy.”

She added that “At present, solar and wind power have shown remarkable success in Pakistan from an economic perspective and should be invested in, to increase their ratios within the country’s energy mix and help the country transition towards a just and sustainable energy transition. Thus far, the low contribution of renewables to Pakistan’s energy mix is due to a chronic lack of investment over time and policy-wise emphasis on developing coal and gas infrastructure from both public and private finance. The current energy crisis proves that this should change. The Mitsubishi Corporation can invest in renewables, instead of pushing forward on LNG, which is no longer economically viable as a supplier and buyer.”

Mr. Iqbal Hyder Board, member of Indus Consortium and Executive Director Laar Humanitarian Development Program (LHDP), shared his concluding remarks saying: “Considering the current socio-economic status of the coastal communities that directly depend on the mangrove forests and the coastal region for their livelihoods and wellbeing, it is imperative to recognize that any additional construction and industrial operations is going to exacerbate the declining socio-economic conditions of the local communities. The valuable indigenous knowledge for local fishing should also be recognized to rejuvenate the current worsening fishing populations. These coastal communities are a valuable economic asset, and must be given the right recognition, as well as the support to succeed and provide good living conditions for their generations to come.”

The report launch was organized by Indus Consortium, An Environmental Organization working on Environment, Climate Change and Just Energy Transition in Pakistan which was attended by representatives of academic institutions, member of GROW Green Network, which is an umbrella of environmental organizations of Pakistan working for the promotion of renewable energy, independent researchers, member of Renewable Energy coalition Pakistan and alliance for climate Justice and Clean energy.