Despite Producing 17 Percent Of Pakistan’s Gas, People Of Balochistan Still Chop Their Forests To Light Fire
Balochistan is the second largest producer of gas in Pakistan after Sindh. Yet the people of Balochistan suffer from deficiency of natural gas. The government authorities have never taken the issue seriously.
According to statistics, Balochistan produces 17 percent of total natural gas in the country while Sindh produces 63 percent, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 7 percent and Punjab 3 percent.
However, the province had the least consumption, 2 percent, of natural gas during 2015-16, according to the statistics of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) report.
During the year 2015-16, the gas consumption in all other provinces increased but, unfortunately, it was decreased in Balochistan by 4 mmcfd – from 55 mmcfd in 2014-15 to 51 mmcfd in 2015-16.
On the other hand, the consumption in Punjab increased from 1035 mmcfd in 2014-15 to 1154 mmcfd in 2015-16. In Sindh, it increased from 1139 mmcfd to 1256 mmcfd while in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa consumption rose from 241 mmcfd to 266 mmcfd, maintained the report.
Currently, Balochistan has much less consumption of natural gas along with KP whereas Punjab followed by Sindh has the greatest consumption of natural gas.
The rest of Pakistan has benefitted from the gas field at Sui while Balochistan remained deprived of gas for the first three decades and still receives a miniscule proportion of gas.
It is upsetting to see that people of Balochistan still walk miles to cut woods to meet their daily energy needs. This creates a negative impact on our ecosystem and increases deforestation.
What’s worse, only 14 towns out of 34 Balochistan districts have access to natural gas.
After the discovery of natural gas in 1952 in Sui gas field, Balochistan could expect to be the most fortunate province in Pakistan. But when the exploitation commenced in 1955, the province continued to witness its residents chopping down the trees to meet their energy needs.
Even Sui town, which is only four miles from the gas field, where around 800mmscf natural gas is produced daily from 87 completed wells, itself does not have natural gas.
The past governments with their colonial mind-set had the power to reform the worsening condition of the province, but they only made false promises which never resulted in action.
Finally, the current government has an opportunity to undo the past wrongs committed by previous regimes.