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Sunday, December 4, 2022
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EditorialGas shortage in winter

Gas shortage in winter

With the advent of winter, came the catastrophic gas shortage, and the two public-sector gas companies have begun to limit fuel supplies. That is how we treat a crisis. The purchase of oil and gas from Russia is said to be in Pakistan’s national interest, although the purchase of oil and gas will not breach any global treaties. Pakistan is suffering from an oil and gas deficit. The government spends a significant amount of foreign currency each year to purchase goods from various countries for this reason, but the war between Russia and Ukraine has caused a global oil and gas crisis. Recognizing the situation, other countries made timely preparations for the purchase of oil and gas, but the government of Pakistan remained in a bind, resulting in the problem of oil and gas availability in the country. This is hardly the first winter with decreasing supplies and increasing demand. And it won’t be the last, because successive governments have done little to establish a long-term solution. Consumers are also unwilling to change their habits and stop wasting fuel.

However, the news that official correspondence has begun between Pakistan and Russia to purchase inexpensive oil and gas is welcome. The Pakistani delegation is prepared to visit Russia at Russia’s request. Oil could be obtained relatively cheaply from Russia, but because our government waits for the US’s eyebrows and does not take steps against its mood, it continues to show unnecessary tolerance in buying oil from Russia, whereas our neighbour India made a deal to purchase oil from Russia, and the country’s needs continued to be met by getting oil from Russia, despite the anger of America. However, now that the US has stated that it has no objections to India purchasing oil or gas from Russia, Pakistan has also become active to capitalize on this concession. The government has also communicated with the Russian leadership in this regard, and dialogue with Russia has now begun at the levels of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Petroleum. Pakistan is hoping to acquire inexpensive oil and gas from Russia soon.

The Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline is another doable project that Pakistan has been delaying for the sake of America and Saudi Arabia. The piping of gas is in the best interest of Pakistan. We don’t know when Russian gas and oil will hit our ports, until then, limiting gas as a policy response to increasing gas shortages cannot be the solution. The country should entice corporations to invest in discoveries, as it is officially anticipated that present domestic gas reserves will be depleted over the next decade if no substantial discoveries are made shortly. But Pakistan’s uncertain political landscape does not offer good conditions for international investment. The other reasons are ongoing political insecurity, regulatory inconsistency, lax contract enforcement, and security concerns. These factors again exhaust our choices, leaving only one option for Pakistan, and that is importing LNG to fill supply shortfalls. This is the time Pakistan turn its eye away from domestic oil and gas exploration and try to go for the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline and Russian fuels. If steps are not taken timely, the cost is very dear, which the nation will keep on paying for the next several decades.

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