Business & Economy

Pakistanis battle gas crisis as Ramadan demand peaks

Islamabad, Apr 6 (EFE).- Pakistanis are facing frequent gas outages due to depleting reserves as fuel demand has spiked during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

People in several areas report outages even during the sehri and iftar hours, when Muslims consume pre-dawn meals and refrain from eating during the day until breaking their fast with the evening meal after the sunset.

Yet, the administration has said that there was no load shedding during these two high-demand periods.

Amna Bibi, a resident of Karachi, where the gas load-shedding crisis has worsened recently, told EFE on Thursday that they had to use an LPG cylinder for cooking for the iftar in the evening due to no gas supply.

However, the housewife said she could cook food for sehri around 3 am for her three kids and her husband.

Farida Khanum, a Lahore resident, said while the supply is available during both sehri and iftar timings, it is out during the rest of the day.

“We need it in our kitchen all the time to cook for our children who are not fasting,” Khanum told EFE.

Because of the high demand, the prices of LPG cylinders have spiked from Rs 270 ($.95) per kilogram to Rs 300 ($1) for the same amount.

The country of 220 million people is highly dependent on natural gas for energy, and with rising demand and insufficient supply, load-shedding has become routine in many parts.

On Wednesday, Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik said they could not supply the natural gas could round the clock due to depleting reserves in most parts of the country.

“Our gas resources are depleting by 10 percent every year,” said Malik in Karachi.

“We have only 1,600 (million cubic feet of gas per day) left for the entire country while the demand is on the rise.”

The minister said the government would stop issuing new connections.

Businesses across the country have also been affected.

Pakistan has been looking for options to import natural gas from Iran, Russia, and Central Asia.

The Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline, initiated in the 1990s, has not been made functional because of the sanctions by the United States on Iran.

The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India Natural Gas Pipeline (TAPI) Project is also long-delayed because of the security situation in Afghanistan.

The South Asian nation has consumed 79.8 percent of the total oil reserves and 66.6 percent of the gas reserves, according to data by the Petroleum Division in December last year. EFE


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