Pakistan: Fearing worst gas outages, policymakers suggest to pursue TAPI, IP project expeditiously

ISLAMABAD, Jan 20: The policymakers of Pakistan expressed worst gas outages in the country in upcoming years and anticipate that there will still be a gap of 3,263 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) in 2022-23 despite gas pipeline projects.
According to media reports, to bridge the gap, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government said they recommend vibrant petroleum policies to accelerate exploration and production (E&P) activities, construction of more LNG terminals and expeditious implementation of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (Tapi) project with the capacity of 1,325 MMCFD which is already under implementation and is expected to be come online by December 2021.
Also, Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project would be pursued expeditiously in the context of regional cooperation in energy sector.
The IP gas pipeline project with a capacity of 750 MMCFD, which is not progressing well ? could be constructed on fast track basis with 24 months. It will further reduce the gap to 2,513 MMCFD, reports The Express Tribune.
Recently, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have announced bailout packages for the PTI government and experts and officials now view revival of the IP gas pipeline project with faded hope.
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had scrapped the LNG Gwadar pipeline project after his visit to Saudi Arabia in 2017
The LNG Gwadar project was an alternate plan to implement the IP gas pipeline project amid the US sanctions against Tehran. Riyadh had asked Sharif to cut ties with Iran and Qatar. The PML-N government had scrapped the LNG project to ease pressure but continued diplomatic ties with Qatar.
The policymakers say in 12th Five Year Plan (2018-23) while discussing energy scenario of Pakistan in the next five year said “To supplement the indigenous gas supply in addition to the LNG imports, natural gas import projects like Tapi and the IP would be pursued expeditiously in the context of regional cooperation in the energy sector,”
Data for gas supply and consumption in the past six years (2011-2017) shows that indigenous gas production declined from 1.56 trillion cubic feet (TCF) to 1.46 TCF per annum.
The demand-supply gap of about 2 billion cubic feet per day (BCFD) was experienced during the period. Increased consumption during 2015-16 and 2016-17 reflects addition of about 1.0 BCFD through LNG import.
The indigenous oil production during the past six years remained in the range of 70,000-90,000 barrels per day. Due to insufficient local production and refining capacity, the demand was mostly met through imports of crude oil and petroleum products.
The transport sector remains the major consumer of around 60 per cent of oil products. The active oil refining capacity of only 13 million tons per annum against the consumption of 26 million tons petroleum products result in massive imports of crude and petroleum products with import bill of US$ 9.10 billion during 2017. No state-of-the-art refinery has been established in the country in the last 15 years.
The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project was inaugurated by leaders of four countries in January 2016.It runs through Galkynysh field (Turkmenistan) ? Herat and Kandahar province (Afghanistan) ? Multan via Quetta (Pakistan) and ends at Fazilka in Punjab (India).
The TAPI gas pipeline has a total length of 1,814 kilometers: 214 km in Turkmenistan, 774 km in Afghanistan, and 826 km in Pakistan to reach Fazilka on the India-Pakistan border. The project is planned for 30 years, with a total estimated cost of 10 billion US dollars being funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The pipeline would have the capacity to supply 33 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas from the world’s fourth-largest natural gas reserves in Daulatabad of Turkmenistan. Pakistan and India would receive 42 per cent each with 16 per cent going to Afghanistan. In addition to receiving 5.22 bcm of gas annually, Afghanistan would get around $400 million each year from transit revenue. It has capacity to carry 90 million standard cubic metres a day (mmscmd)