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SSGC warns of zero tolerance for gas theft

The acting managing director of the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) has reiterated that there is zero tolerance for gas theft as it severely impacts on utility’s financial bottom line, which is one of the main causes of the company’s lines losses, usually called UFG.

Amin Rajput said on Thursday LNG was the fuel of the future and its availability was indispensable for bridging the demand-supply gap of natural gas as well as for overcoming the energy crisis in the country.

“In this regards, the SSGC has developed the requisite pipeline infrastructure for transmitting RLNG volumes,” a statement issued by the gas utility quoted him as saying during a meeting with members of the Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI) on Thursday. In the meeting, organised by the association at its head office,

Rajput was accompanied by the SSGC’s Dr Ejaz Ahmed, SGM (Customer Services) Saeed Larik, ASGM (Distribution-North), Brigadier (retd) Mohammad Abuzar, Director General Security Services and Control Gas Theft Operations (SS&CGTO), Shehryar Kazmi, GM (Billing, Kamran Naji, GM (D South) and Major (retd) Muhammad Hussain, DGM (Coordination).

The KATI team expressed their concern that most of the investors/industrialists had plans to invest in Karachi, but due to the non-availability of gas, they did not come forward for the investment.

KATI President Tarik Malik said the gas pressure had increased and become better than before, resulting in an increase in general productions. He stressed the need for an uninterrupted gas supply and hoped that the SSGC would take as top priority the gas pressure and resolve gas availability issues faced by the industrial sector.

In a reply to a query about the supply of RLNG to the industries in Sindh, Rajput said that in the near future, RLNG would be transmitted/distributed as allocated by the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) to the SSGC’s franchise. “Thereafter, we will be able to supply gas to the industrial sector of our franchise provinces. This will result in the elimination of weekly closure of gas to the industrial sector.”

Replying to question, he said: “We have zero tolerance for gas theft because this is a very serious issue of UFG which is severely impacting the SSGC’s financial bottom line.”

Brigadier (retd) Mohammad Abuzar, director general of the SSGC’s newly established SS and CGTO Department, dilated on various sections of the Gas (Theft and Recovery) Act, 2016, which was passed by the National Assembly.

The act, he said, calls for penalising offenders involved in gas theft and related crimes by imposing imprisonment up to 14 years and a fine of up to Rs10 million.

He Abuzar said the approval of the gas act, the formation of gas utility courts for prosecuting thieves in Sindh and Balochistan and the formation of a Gas Police Station dedicated to the purpose had helped the SSGC in intensifying crackdowns on thieves.

He said that for meaningful results, the SS&CGTO Department had been structured on more result-oriented lines, whereby experienced civilians and law enforcement officials were taking care of gas theft intelligence and prosecution and operations wings of the department.  He said more police stations, especially dedicated to penalising gas thieves, were being established.  He added that soon the company would be launching a media campaign to highlight the gas act and its penalties. The campaign, he said, was focused on gas thieves from domestic, commercial and industrial sectors. He sought the KATI’s support in identifying elements involved in gas theft-related crimes.