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Increasing domestic gas availability in Pakistan

Richard Spencer's picture

Pakistan needs more gas.  What to do? How to add to its natural gas reserves again? Can liquid natural gas (LNG) provide a solution? One of the most gas intensive countries in the world, Pakistan has witnessed shortages and load shedding as part of its overall energy crisis.

The country has significant indigenous resources that are stuck in the ground because prices paid to firms to explore and produce gas are not competitive. Production of gas in recent years has stagnated and reserves are on a decline. Production from new gas fields is barely replacing the depletion from the existing fields.


Natural gas is the country´s main source of fuel accounting for 50% of all energy consumption. And this figure has been a constant feature for decades.  It is used not only for generating electricity, but also by industry for manufacturing and fertilizer production.  Many people use it to fuel their cars, and Pakistan has one of the largest networks connecting households which use gas for cooking and heating.

In the short to medium term, natural gas is part of the answer to Pakistan´s electricity shortage at an acceptable cost. While hydropower can produce cheaper electricity, it takes time to construct and commission a hydel plant.  Thermal plants will always be needed for when water flows are low.  Coal based projects have not gotten off the ground. The government’s initiative to import LNG costs more than producing gas locally. The country has gas infrastructure in place and a well-developed demand.

Whereas the sector faces challenges of different nature- social license to operate, an inclusive growth agenda which includes revenue management schemes, the strengthening of its core institutions – local gas field development can be done quickly.
Pakistan must continue improving the investment climate in the gas exploration and production sector. The Petroleum Policy 2012 offers improved prices for new concessions and existing producers. 

Will it be enough to revitalize domestic production? And if it does succeed, can we be sure that gas will be used for the best economic purpose?


Submitted by Fawad Ali on

Natural gas is one of the important resource in Pakistan, in order to save it from wasting we should deploy our gas pipeline in such a way that at least every pipe has Gas sensor fitted on it that will sense the gas where it leaks.The name of this project sholuld be (GSM based Gas pipeline Leakage Detection System) will save the gas from leakage,also it dangerous for health so these two the advantages .

Submitted by Richard Jeremy Spencer on

We are agreed on the importance of natural gas and the need to make sure it is not wasted. Unaccounted for gas is a serious problem in Pakistan – it has been reported to be more than 11% of all gas. We suspect that non-technical losses – mainly theft – are a much more significant problem. What would you suggest are the solutions for this?

Submitted by Manzoor Hussain on

Humans have this tendency to adopt the easiest path to attain their desires. Theft is one of them. People of every country of the world, let alone Pakistan, if left without accountability, would deviate from the principles of morality. So, it is utterly necessary to impose tight law and order against any theft or irregularity to obtain tangible results. Govt. should put intensive punishments for perpetrators of this crime which impedes economic development of the country.

Submitted by Umair Liaquat on

One way to solve the problem is to install Meters on main pipelines and calculate the difference between collection (bills) and cost of supplied gas. This will identify the areas where theft/leakage is most extreme. Apply similar approach on distribution lines of identified area(s) and narrow down the locations. In the end the process will identify the theft at consumer level. The process can also highlight the areas with gas leakage. The method may be expensive but it can be effective.

Submitted by Abdul Sattar Ishaqani on

The natural gas as mentioned is the only affordable source for the Pakistan. The government has to finalize the agreement with Iran and central asian countries to acquire gas as short term planning. For the long term process Government has to explore the new fields and it should be continuous process without any political influence. Further they have to plan the consumption and utilization of present and future need to proper and best use of it.

Submitted by Richard Jeremy Spencer on

Acquiring gas from abroad is a long term prospect, given the international agreements that are needed and the large amounts of financing that has to be arranged. Why do you advocate that the government has to explore for new gas fields? Is that not the role of exploration and production companies? The government owns three such companies and there are something like 20 private companies operating in Pakistan. Would it not be better to make sure that they have the incentives to explore for new gas?

Submitted by Richard Jeremy Spencer on

It would be interesting to learn more about why this is a better option. Can you share some more details?

Submitted by Helga Ahmad on

If in UK polluting industry pays farmers carbon credit to grow hemp, which is then fed into biodigesters ,the methane gained into electricity, which is then fed into the local grid.
why can this method not be applied to Pakistan, as hemp grows wild especially around the capital, while it improves the soil and requires two third less water to cotton.

Submitted by Hafeez on

This is better for domestic use. A family of 6 people can easily produce their own bio gas by using their daily organic kitchen waste. and it does not require any space science. What we need is a plant, which costs maximum 100 dollars. and it will provide bio gas for several years without adding anything to it but kitchen organic waste. It is not only environment friendly but economical as well as compared to natural gas.

Submitted by Javed Rashid on

A colleague who was working for ADB then said that the most striking thing about energy policy of Pakistan is the lack of one . This is largely valid even now .

Submitted by Bilal Qureshi on


I am wondering why the conversation has been focused on individual fuels more often than not, we discuss gas, coal etc. and usually in the form of fuel 1 vs. fuel 2. How come policy makers are not exploring 'energy security' as a holistic concept, where principals of making a country energy secure are already well laid out.

Data is severely weak and lacking but does this not put the onus on international organizations such as the World Bank to raise these discussion when we know the civil government is too weak (or has too many vested interests). I personally was writing my thesis on energy security in 2011 and had to take an european perspective simply due to the lack of quality varifiable data.

Submitted by Bilal Qureshi on

I understand the need for short term solutions but my question mainly lies with the thought process when people are discussing the energy shortages. We often discuss the viability of particular fuels, in this case gas, but the discussion has revolved around oil, coal etc. but always individually.

Would it not make more sense to be tacking the power issue through the concept of energy security, where all the energy options are evaluated, the risks associated with them ranked etc. to identify how secure we really are. For example the push for hydro seems great but are the risks associated with receding glaciers due to climate change being considered, with gas the political instability.

So my question would then be when it is known that governments either lack the political will and/or the capacity to bring about changes to the energy system, how come international organizations such as the World Bank are not pushing for the concept of energy security rather than focusing on large infrastructure projects tackling individual fuel sources?

Submitted by Farhan Ahmad on

Exploring new gas fields would may be the main stream solution but we should also start exploring other resources of energy as well, like bio fuels, waste to energy and energy from crop residues. Such alternate energy sources would lessen the burden on main stream energy and also helps to sustain industries, which ultimately results into better economic values.

Submitted by Helga Ahmad on

In England is paying farmers with marginal lands to grow Hemp. This is then harvested, fed into biodigesters, the methane gained turned into electricity and fed into the local grid. Why can Pakistan not undertake this activity, considering that Islamabad and the surrounding areas are full of wild hemp. Besides, China is planning to grow two and a half million acres of industrial hemp to reduce poverty in areas with marginal land, as hemp is nitrogen fixing and requires two third less water to cotton. Today, China is already exporting more than $ 350million worth of textile produced from hemp fiber to USA. Just google under hemp and you will be surprised

Submitted by andrew on

We are working on building out projects in developing countries. Would love to hear about your experience and ideas for Hemp in SE Asia

Submitted by Sara on

Can the gas crises not be attributed to the lack of upstream activities. As we know it many international Oil and Gas companies are exiting Pakistan due to Regulatory Lacuna/ Delay in Government Decisions/Lack of investor friendly 'implementable' policies. So the focus should be improving the upstream sector rather than looking for more expensive alternatives such as import etc.

Submitted by Manzoor Hussain on

Despite its less lethal environmental hazards than petroleum goods, natural gas is still harmful to environment far more than renewable fuels. Pakistan should ultimately move towards taping its large scale solar, wind, bio gas, hydel and tidal reserves not only as capacity building, but as an alternate to non renewable energy.

I'm doing my bit in providing sustainable energy solutions to different households across Pakistan. I've worked with several NGOs to electrify the southern villages of Pakistan through solar systems. I'm also working hard to educate the upper and the middle class to move towards alternate sources of energy to meet their energy needs.

Submitted by Abid on

Besides CNG and LNG we should also focus on Solar Energy Resources that are in Bulk in South Asia. InduSun PVT Ltd. Pakistan

Submitted by Umair malik on

Mostly in Pakistan 3,4 Months when weather is so cold then no Gas availability in Big Cities.and if we talk about Urban areas like villages so no more any facility gave for those peoples. Peoples of those areas still use Woods and other things for Cooking.if we talk about Electricity so no more have electricity in Pakistan in future.that's why people want Solar Systems in Pakistan

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