Colder than usual winter weather in Europe and the U.S. has boosted demand for gas in these markets causing India’s Gujarat Gas Company Ltd. (GGCL) to temporarily cut gas supplies to textile plants in Surat, India, a major textile manufacturing center.
Gas supplies to chemical plants in the area have also been stopped by GGCL, a subsidiary of Gurjarat State Petrolleum Corporation Ltd.
Supplies of industrial gas normally earmarked for Surat have instead been shipped to end users in the E.U. and U.S., both now suffering record-low temperatures, accounting for the increased demand for fuel.
Industrial gas supplies to Surat were cut off on January 21 and will be unavailable to textile processors until January 30, said the South Gujarat Textile Processors’ Association (SGTPA).
Without fuel for processing and other gas-dependent functions, the step-by-step system of manufacturing, shipping and product availability has stopped.
No word has yet been issued at press time by the SGTPA regarding what would happen in the event the E.U. and U.S. continue to be hit with frigid weather beyond January 30.
If high demand for gas continues in these two markets, and Surat is still denied critical gas, serious textile and garment shortages and consequent price increases may result.
Under normal conditions, Surat manufactures some 15 million meters of polyester textiles daily. A ten-day halt in manufacturing would cause a loss of roughly Rs. 400 million, according to Jitendra Vakharia, president of SGTPA.
An estimated 40,000 textile workers will be temporarily out of work because of the shutdown which hit some 100 units, the Times of India reported.
Plant owners reportedly fear major financial losses and an exodus of clients to other sources for product. Some financially troubled companies may have to close a portion of their factories permanently.
Weather forecasters in the E.U. and U.S. meanwhile have predicted continued severely cold weather for the immediate future and perhaps for the entire winter.