ISLAMABAD – In the face of growing gas shortages in Pakistan, the Ministry of Energy is taking multiple measures to mitigate the situation. One such innovative step is to induct local gas into the system from stranded oil and gas fields via a virtual pipeline mechanism.
Virtual pipelines are specialized modules that can carry natural gas in compressed form safely, securely, and in an economically viable manner across distances.
This method can also drastically help solve one of the major environmental problems faced in the Oil and Gas world, which is methane flaring at fields.
Around the world, many countries lack the know-how and technology required to capture flared gas and utilize it economically.
The carbon footprint impact of methane flaring is amongst the highest in the world. Russia, Nigeria, the US and Iran, and many other countries end up flaring methane into the environment causing huge damage to the ozone layer.
Pakistan has many dormant, stranded gas fields where either the gas remains untapped or is flared. Ironically Pakistan has a homegrown company that has innovatively built a virtual pipeline solution that not only eliminates the flaring of gas at fields but also helps utilize it economically in industries and CNG stations that are starved of natural gas supplies.
E-gas is the only virtual pipeline company that has been issued a license to transport and sell natural gas by OGRA. This license allows the company to capture gas from dormant or flared gas fields, process it to make it pipeline quality, and then transport it safely to industries and CNG stations.
Other countries such as India, Thailand, the USA, and Vietnam are also trying to utilize virtual pipelines to supply natural gas to their consumers.
To encourage competition and private sector involvement in the country, the ministry of energy is in the process to further streamline and improve the Flared Gas Policy 2016.
This will help in utilizing flared or dormant gas fields that are otherwise economically unfeasible. The ECC is soon to approve the policy guidelines that will provide a significant and much-needed impetus to the natural gas sector in Pakistan.
Many E&P companies are interested in the sale of natural gas through third party agreements as SNGPL and SSGC are not interested in buying gas from these fields as they are not economically viable for laying pipelines.
The issuance of further guidelines by the ECC will help reduce the bureaucratic hurdles that are being created by OGRA as several license applications are long pending with the authority. Pakistan is going through an acute shortage of natural gas and such innovative models are some of the urgent solutions required to mitigate the situation.
Virtual pipelines can become a huge source of revenue for the private and public sector E&P companies. Industries and CNG stations can keep their employees while the Government of Pakistan gets a huge source that is otherwise not possible. Pakistan could be at the forefront of eliminating methane flaring.