ISLAMABAD- The government has decided not to increase the natural gas tariff for any category of consumers ahead of winter season because of a decline in the cost of gas production, it has been learnt.

“We will neither increase the tariff for consumers nor let (gas) companies face (revenue) losses,” Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said on Thursday.

The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) had recently suggested a 14 per cent increase in gas prices to meet revenue requirements of Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL) and Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGCL) for 2016-17.

However, Mr Abbasi told Dawn the revenue requirement determined by OGRA for the gas utilities can be met through the existing consumer gas rates as per his ministry’s calculations.

Responding to a question, he said the revenue shortfall of the gas utilities will not be met through the gas development surcharge. He said current gas prices will remain unchanged for not only residential gas consumers, but also industrial, commercial, fertiliser and power sector consumers.

Early last month, Ogra had determined higher revenue requirements for gas utilities, necessitating a 14pc average increase in the gas tariff. It had proposed no change in the gas rate for domestic consumers along with a relatively higher increase for industrial and commercial consumers.