PHC orders restoration of gas supply to cement factory – Pakistan

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Thursday ordered Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) to ensure uninterrupted gas supply to a major cement plant in Lakki Marwat district.

Attorney General Shumail Ahmad Butt told a bench consisting of Justice Lal Jan Khattak and Justice Abdul Shakoor that the province was producing more natural gas than it needed, but even then its industries and other consumers were subjected to gas cuts by the federal government in violation of the Constitution.

He pointed out that if the winter season was over when natural gas was in high demand, SNGPL proceeded to offload it in the province, which was the country’s main gas producer. The AG said the province had been deprived of its own resources.

The bench was hearing a claim brought by Lucky Cement Limited against the disruption of the gas supply to its cement manufacturing plant in Lakki Marwat.

Advocate General Insists on Gas Cuts in Province Against Constitution

At the hearing, the Attorney General, who was also present, supported the petitioner’s plea that the suspension of gas supply to industries in the province was a violation of Section 158 of the Constitution as well as of the judgment of the High Court in Peshawar, which said that the province, where the natural gas wellhead is located, would take precedence over other parts of the country to meet the needs from there.

He said the natural gas produced in the province was distributed from the national pool at which the gas supplied to him was less than his needs.

The claimant’s lawyer, Malik Ghulam Sabir, claimed that his client was a consumer of natural gas as well as regasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG) supplied by SNGPL, which was used for power generation at its plant.

“It is a clear mandate from Section 158 of the Constitution that the requirement of KP gas consumers must take priority over other parts of the country. However, SNGPL, without any legal justification, stopped gas supply to the company,” he said.

Referring to a report by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority on “The State of the Regulated Petroleum Industry 2019-20”, the lawyer said gas consumption in the KP was 249 MMCFD in 2019-20 against gas extraction of 368 MMCFD from local well. heads.

He also argued that the SNGPL’s act violated the High Court’s 2011 judgment.

The lawyer pointed out that a few days ago the High Court granted interim relief to the KP Textile Mills Association ordering the uninterrupted supply of gas to textile mills.

SNGPL’s lawyer, Yasir Saleem, objected to the petitioner’s claims insisting that the case of the cement company was different from that of the textile mills.

He said the petitioner’s case was about the disconnection of the gas supply, but the textile mills petition challenged the management of the gas load.

Deputy Attorney General Taufeeq Qureshi, who represented the federal government, argued that there was also a Sindh High Court judgment in support of the provinces’ right to the gas produced by them, while the Supreme Court had also made up a wider bench to hear in the same problem.

However, Mr Butt said the 2011 High Court judgment was intact as the Supreme Court had so far not issued a stay order against him.

The bench decided to grant interim relief to the applicant and adjourned the hearing of the case.

Posted in Dawn, May 27, 2022

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