Importing LNG amid priorities!

History is witness to this awful fact that the conventional approach of our civil leadership and the bureaucracy too has always been the deciding factor behind in almost all affairs ranging from the local level to national level and the price of these decisions – especially bad decisions – was paid by none other than the poor masses. Constant wrong priorities of decision makers have given birth to Pakistan as a state of multiple crises. It is highly painful to note that we as a nation are in no mood to learn a lesson from this critical and volatile situation especially the energy crisis. Natural gas shortage in the country had been alien to us, but with the introduction of compressed natural gas (CNG) for vehicles in 2001 laid down the foundation of natural gas shortage. Presently about 8 million CNG vehicles are plying on roads across the country from the earlier figure of one lakh in 2001 and are consuming major portion of the natural gas. This uncontrolled rather lavish spending of this precious natural resource has led to the present critical gas shortage triggering multiple difficulties for the stakeholders – national economy and domestic population. The reports of importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) from other countries especially from Qatar are rife these days. Though this is not an absolute solution to resolve the gas shortage in the country but here against the situation comes to the square one as several years back the gas shortage had started hitting the country but our decision makers are still undecided where they should move to. The LNG import is a reasonable option to meet the domestic fuel requirement, but of course that too requires a complete infrastructure. The LNG transport through ships is the best available and secure means, but that also requires a mega gas terminal plant at Karachi or Gwadar. Since Pakistan has so far no LNG terminal, it would need at least a year to complete a terminal in case the process is kick-started right now. The government of Pakistan is taking more interest to import LNG from Qatar reportedly in collusion with a newly formed Qatar-based company which has no profile of handling such mega business activities. Pakistan is emerging as a developing state but the energy crisis in addition to volatile law and order situation and virtually zero foreign investments is creating bumps on its road to sustainable progress. But again it depends on how our decision makers see national issues and how they fix them.

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