Editorial : Energy plans - Wednesday 20th April 2011

THE decision taken by the government to “totally” restructure the country’s oil and gas sector in order to expand domestic production and ensure fair distribution of available resources among the consumers appears to have come a little too late. Yet its proper and quick implementation should help prevent shortages from aggravating further and provide the government with a reasonably solid foundation to build upon and develop an integrated energy policy for meeting the future energy needs of the country.
The overhaul of what is now known as one of the most inefficient sectors — oil and gas — was long overdue in view of the falling level of fresh investment in exploration and little improvement in the existing distribution system. Pakistan, experts opine, could attract reasonable foreign investment if it could address some key issues that hinder exploration operations: poor law and order, circular debt, bureaucratic delays and political interference. The failure to woo fresh investment over a long period of time for enhancement of domestic gas production and non-implementation of plans to import gas from Iran and other regional producers has brought us to a point where government officials themselves are forced to concede that the “country would sink if a plan for importing liquefied natural gas is not put in place in three months”.
By admitting the seriousness of the situation in his first interaction with the media after his induction as the federal adviser on petroleum and natural resources, Dr Asim Hussain has underlined the need for working on a war footing to narrow the supply gap. Effectively, he has given himself three months to avert a major energy crisis in the country. The scale of the challenge is immense and time is scarce and the shortages created over the last several years may prove to be difficult to overcome soon. The least the government can do is to immediately remove the procedural and bureaucratic hitches in the way of importing LNG before the situation gets out of control. The private sector is also ready to play its role if the security of its investments is guaranteed.

Source : http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/20/energy-plans.html

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