In the midst of power disruptions in Pakistan, telecom companies issued a warning on Thursday to suspend mobile and internet services. ‘Telecom operators in Pakistan have cautioned of shutting down mobile and internet services owing to extended hours power outages nationwide, as the disruption is causing challenges and obstruction in their operations’, the National Information Technology Board (NIBT) stated on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif cautioned the country on Monday that more load shedding might occur in July, according to Geo News. He stated that Pakistan could not obtain the requisite quantity of liquefied natural gas (LNG), but that the coalition administration was working to make the transaction viable. According to Refinitiv statistics, Pakistan’s monthly fuel oil imports are projected to reach a four-year high in June, as the country struggles to obtain LNG for power generation amid a heatwave that is increasing demand, according to Geo News.
Pakistan’s electricity crisis is escalating after it failed to reach an agreement on natural gas supplies for next month. Tenders for July were cancelled owing to high costs and insufficient participation, since the country is already taking steps to address severe outages. Pakistan’s government is aiming to increase energy savings by reducing working hours for public officials and ordering retail malls and companies in major cities, including Karachi, to close early.
Pakistan already has two long-term supply agreements with Qatar, the first signed in 2016 for five cargoes per month and the second in 2021, under which Pakistan currently receives three monthly shipments, but the country is currently gripped by widespread power outages due to the procurement of chilled fuel remains unreliable and expensive due to its increased reliance on LNG for electricity generation.
Pakistani Petroleum Minister Musadik Malik acknowledged meetings with Qatari Minister of State for Energy Affairs and Qatar Energy CEO Saad al-Kaabi in Doha earlier this week, but claimed the government was exploring other “innovative” pricing and supply options in broad-based negotiations.
Pakistan Finance Minister Miftah Ismail stated that the government was also in talks with Qatar for a new five or ten-year LNG supply agreement for three monthly cargoes, as well as an additional cargo under an existing agreement. The rapid depletion of Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves was caused by the country’s inflation of twin deficits and a lack of foreign currency inflows. In Pakistan, inflation reached double digits in July, the highest level in nearly six years.