14TH INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION FOR THE ENERGY INDUSTRY

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News Headlines for the month of
NOVEMBER 2015

ADB to provide $800 million loan to energy sector

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the government on Thursday signed agreements for combined loan assistance of nearly $800 million to boost Pakistan''s power sector efficiency and reforms. Tariq Bajwa, Secretary Economic Affairs Division, and Werner E Liepach, ADB''s Country Director for Pakistan signed an agreement for a $400 million loan for tranche 1 of the Multi-tranche Second Power Distribution Enhancement Investment Program. This will allow Pakistan to introduce for the first time, an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system for power distribution companies across the country to improve load management and strengthen the financial viability of the sector by reducing electricity losses and increasing revenue collection. The two sides also signed an agreement for a $400 million loan for the second sub-program of the Sustainable Energy Sector Reform Program. The investment is directed towards supporting ongoing policy reforms to build an affordable, efficient and secure energy sector. Finance Minister and Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar witnessed the signing. "The two programs are major steps towards resolving Pakistan''s energy crises. The state-of-the-art new metering system will minimise losses and allow effective load management and transparency, thus ensuring a robust and sustainable power supply needed to lift growth and job creation," said Liepach. Power shortages are a major obstacle in Pakistan''s economic development. With demands for electricity outpacing supplies, inefficient and inadequate transmission and distribution systems are key bottlenecks in the development of the energy sector that is stifling growth and threatens social strife. The distribution enhancement program will be rolled out in phases, by covering 2-3 distribution companies under each tranche. The program includes installation of advanced ''smart'' meters at major cities, and industrial and commercial hubs, as well as introducing a modern, computerised customer billing and information system to improve service quality and reduce losses. The Sustainable Energy Sector Reform Program Subprogram 2 will support policy measures to address gaps in the electricity sector, as well as further market reforms to integrate energy planning and efficiency of public sector power companies. The program supports establishment of an independent central power purchase agency, electricity data consolidation, measures to boost transparency and stakeholder participation, as well as steps to encourage increased private sector participation in both the electricity and gas sectors. ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration.-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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Modalities for 1000 megawatts power projects discussed

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar Thursday chaired a meeting to discuss the modalities and arrangements for another set of power projects in different areas of the country totalling 1000 MW. Federal Minister for Water and Power, Khawaja Asif and Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Shahid KhaqanAbbasi were present, said a statement issued by Ministry of Finance. The meeting considered different modes for undertaking these projects and directed the officials concerned to put up a proposal for consideration and subsequently putting in place the mechanism for implementation of the projects in the private sector. The Finance Minister said that the government was considering these projects in a bid to further augment the 10,000 plus megawatt generation programme for bridging the gap in electricity demand and supply by December 2017. The meeting emphasised that the proposal for the 1,000 MW projects should guarantee complete transparency and minimum possible tariff. The meeting resolved that these projects are to be undertaken on fast track basis and should be up and ready by April 2017. Secretary to the Prime Minister, Fawad Hasan Fawad, Secretary Finance Dr Waqar Masood Khan and other senior officials of the ministries of finance, water and power, P&NR, PPIB and NTDC attended the meeting.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2015

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Hydro projects: Wapda asked to raise Rs 244 billion

The Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has postponed the approval of much-awaited price of LNG import till next meeting and allowed Wapda to raise Rs 244 billion for Dasu and Neelum-Jhelum hydro project. A participant of the meeting told Business Recorder the meeting could not discuss the sale-purchase agreement for LNG import because Finance Minister Ishaq was suddenly called out by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The Finance Minister said to have stated that the price of LNG will be discussed in the next meeting of the ECC, he added. The official added a special meeting of the ECC would be held on Friday to take up the sale-purchase agreement. The ECC meeting on Wednesday chaired by Finance Minister, Ishaq Dar, however, gave a go-ahead to the Ministry of Petroleum for setting up of subsidiaries for import of LNG and construction of two more LNG termini. The ECC also set up a committee to review the legal requirements in this regard. Ministry of Commerce has also moved a proposal to the ECC for permission to the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) regarding the sale of balance lint cotton stock. The meeting allowed TCP to sell available lint cotton stock on a retail daily basis at minimum of the KCA spot rate through Commission Agent. The meeting directed the TCP to hire the services of a commission agent through an open tender. The ECC also approved a proposal placed before it by Ministry of Water and Power with respect to allowing Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) to raise commercial financing of Rs 144 billion for Dasu-I project, and Rs 100 billion for Neelum-Jehlum Hydropower Project from local banks through conventional/ Islamic mode of financing under government guarantees. Sources said that ECC has approved Rs 100 billion, in principle, subject to clearance by Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC). The ECC has also approved a proposal of Ministry of National Food Security & Research for payment of Rs 1.4 million to the transportation company, Mercedes Cargo Services on account of supply of wheat to Afghanistan. The proposal had been submitted in the wake of a court judgement in the matter. The ECC also approved PrivatisationCommission''s proposal for payment of two months salary to Pak Steel Mills (PSM) employees.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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Oil/gas exploration: all stakeholders onboard: Kamal

The government has taken all the stakeholders on-board including federating units and Exploration and Production companies (E&P) to accelerate local oil/gas exploration activities in the country to cope with the energy crisis. This was stated by State Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Jam Kamal Khan here on Wednesday while addressing the participants of the closing ceremony of 22nd Annual Technical Conference (ATC) jointly organised by Pakistan Association of Petroleum Geoscientific (PAPG) and Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). He said that the country needed an effective strategy to attain self-sufficiency in the energy sector adding that the local gas deposits were rapidly depleting as from 2000-2012 no viable plan was in place to increase local gas production while during the time gas consumption increased manifold. He said that 50 percent natural gas was being consumed in power generation, besides "its major share is used to meet domestic fuel needs. We have to be serious about the efforts to accelerate exploration and production activities," he added. Speaking on the issue of "Regulatory challenges in Pakistan's oil and gas sector," Jam Kamal said the ministry was making all-out efforts to streamline exploration and production matters pertaining to provinces especially in the post 18th amendment scenario. He said that there was a need to remove some confusion about role and importance of the regulator that was looking into the matters of E&P companies. The Minister said that Pakistan has one of the world's largest shale oil/gas reserves, and recent comprehensive studies indicate the potential to be larger than originally envisaged. He further said, 'We are in the process of developing policies to attract investment for the exploitation of this shale oil and gas potential, which will change the dynamics of the energy sector in Pakistan." The minister told the participants of the conference that a petroleum policy with a lucrative pricing regime is being fully implemented and additional incentives were being provided to E&P companies. Zahid Muzafar, Prime Minister's Advisor on Petroleum, elaborated the efforts of present government to increase domestic production of oil from 65,000 barrel to 100,000 per day. He said that government has expanded area in all provinces for oil/gas exploration and licenses have awarded to different companies. "We are hopeful to narrow the gap of shortage in both oil & gas sector and pass on this relief to masses," he said. "The government is committed to speed up exploration efforts across the country and we are moving in right direction," he said and added a few years back E&P companies were unable to undertake projects in Balochistan province due to law and order situation but now the government has provided them foolproof security and not only local but international companies were operating in the province. PAPG-SPE Annual Technical Conference (ATC) is the only technical event of the upstream Oil & Gas industry of Pakistan. The Conference attracts around 1000 - 1500 industry professionals from exploration and production companies, academia, and service providers from all over Pakistan as well as a large number of technology experts from overseas, and not to forget, officials of the industry regulators. The theme of this year's two-day event was "E&P Challenges; Prospects, Professionals, Policies". More than 18 delegates from different countries participated and shared their views and termed Pakistan a potential energy rich country in near future. The conference was attended by representatives of over 30 E&P companies and a large number of students, besides Executive Director General of Policy Wing, Ministry of Petroleum Masood Nabi, Adviser on Petroleum and Natural Resources Zahid Muzaffar, Parliamentary Secretary ShahzadiUmerzadiTiwana, Director General Petroleum Concessions (DGPC) Saeedullah Shah, Secretary Mines and Minerals Development, Punjab Arshad Mehmood.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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E&P companies: investment-friendly environment to be provided: Khaqan

The government is committed to providing best investment-friendly environment to local as well as global oil/gas exploration and production (E&P) companies working in the country. Addressing Annual Technical Conference (ATC) arranged by Pakistan Association of Petroleum Geoscientists (PAPG), Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Shahid KhaqanAbbasi here on Tuesday said that Pakistan provides best opportunities to E&P companies on all the fronts despite the fact that globally many oil/gas giants have stopped their operations as a results of low returns but Pakistan still offers highest wellhead prices. He told the participants that the government was following an innovative and investment friendly policy to achieve self-sufficiency in oil and gas sector by stepping up local exploration and production activities. The minister said that during the tenure of present government, 56 discoveries have been made since June 5, 2013 adding that Pakistan was facing serious gas shortage crisis and to overcome it additional efforts were required for which more exploration blocks will be offered within coming weeks to E&P companies. The Minister remarked that Pakistan has one of the world's largest shale gas and oil reserves, and recent comprehensive studies indicate the potential to be larger than originally envisaged. He further said, "We are in the process of developing policies to attract investment for the exploitation of this shale oil and gas potential, which will radically change the dynamics of the energy sector in Pakistan". The minister told the participants of the conference that a petroleum policy with a lucrative pricing regime had been fully implemented and additional incentives were being provided to E&P companies. Speaking on the occasion State Minister for Petroleum Jam Kamal Khan said that current government has taken numerous steps to deal with the gas crisis and to expand exploration activities. "On December 13, 2015 the partner countries of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project will be inaugurated and within next three to four years the project will be completed as a result Pakistan will have up to 1.3 Billion Cubic Feet per Day (BCFD) of gas. Pakistan has also started construction work of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline which will also bring 750 Million Cubic Feet per Day (MMCFD) of gas, moreover 2.4 BCFD of liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) import is being arranged to deal with gas crisis and run the economy smoothly", Kamal added. Advisor to Prime Minister Zahid Muzaffar on Ministry of Petroleum said that Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDCL) and Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) jointly have undertaken a project to explore shale oil/gas for which a pilot project has been started in Sindh. Experts speaking on the occasion said that the wheels of progress are turned by the power of petroleum. Although, the wheel was invented more than five thousand years ago, petroleum in its current form has been around only since the beginning of the twentieth century. When it comes to Pakistan and its wealth of petroleum and natural resources, two vital elements form the equation of growth and development. One is the hidden natural wealth which needs to be explored. The other, however, is the human resource skilled in discovering the hidden potential and developing it into the energy to grow. In 1990 Society of Petroleum Engineers (Pakistan Chapter) launched a showcase event to highlight latest trends and technologies used in the exploration and exploitation of conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon resources in Pakistan. Four years later, Pakistan Association of Petroleum Geoscientists also joined forces with the former and the first joint PAPG-SPE Annual Technical Conference (ATC) was held in 1998. PAPG-SPE Annual Technical Conference (ATC) is the only technical event of the upstream Oil & Gas industry of Pakistan. The Conference attracts around 1000 - 1500 industry professionals from exploration and production companies, academia, and service providers from all over Pakistan as well as a large number of technology experts from overseas, and not to forget, officials of the industry regulators. Students of leading universities across Pakistan, studying the disciplines of Petroleum Engineering and Geo Sciences are encouraged and sponsored by the societies to take part in the conference by contributing technical papers. ATC also features a student paper contest which adds more depth to its program. While during the course of the conference, a geological field excursion is also made every year covering different aspects of geosciences. The 22nd Annual Technical Conference (ATC) 2015 was inaugurated yesterday by Federal Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resource, Shahid KhaqanAbbasi here on Tuesday. Minister of State, Jam Kamal Khan and Advisor Zahid Muzaffar were also present on the occasion. The theme of this year's two-day event is "E&P Challenges; Prospects, Professionals, Policies". The objective of this year's conference is to provide a platform to share and present research work, case histories and innovative technological ideas. Prevailing technical Issues and policies, operational knowledge and relevant experiences will also be discussed. The conference will also feature exclusive sessions on investment opportunities and regulatory Issues in Pakistan's Oil & Gas Sector.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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Poland''sPGNiG to launch gas production

Polish gas company PGNiG will launch gas production in December at its concession in Pakistan, it said on Tuesday. Earlier this year the state-run group discovered a "tight" gas deposit in Pakistan with total reserves estimated at 4.5 billion cubic metres. "We expect that thanks to the newly discovered deposit we will be able to increase significantly the gas output," ZbigniewSkrzypkiewicz, PGNIG deputy head, was quoted as saying in a statement. PGNiG has been present in Pakistan since 2005 and plans further exploration works there.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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'Demand of solar units considerably increases in Karachi'

Continues loadshedding carried by the K-Electric has pushed domestic demand of solar units considerably up in the city beside generators, re-chargeable batteries and Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS). Although prices are so high, masses have no option but to arrange alternative energy sources to get some relief for over 3 to 5 hours announced and unannounced loadshedding which has hit hard to the city residential areas. Prices of solar gadgets that provide electricity during power outages are skyrocketing and the dealers are fleecing the consumers by taking advantage of massive announced and unannounced loadshedding in residencies and commercial areas. There are different size of solar panels available, the market cost ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 600,000 and above for home use. They can operate few lights to entire home including AC, refrigerators and other electronic equipments. The average prices of small solar panel in market to operate one fan DC two pedestal fans and five bulbs of 5 watts up to 24 hr backup with battery cost Rs 45,000 and to operate 3 DC pedestal fans 5 DC savers a 5 years warranty complete system including 100 amp battery cost around Rs 30,000. All these prices include installation charges. Several shops have been popped up in different localities of the city offering solar panels and installation facility. Demand of Chinese solar power units are higher as compared to imported units from Germany , USA and other countries due to price difference and Chine's solar units cost much less than solar units of other countries. Dealers said Chinese products of various qualities are available in the market and all Chinese solar units are not poor in quality. Superior quality solar units can be used for years while there is no guarantee for the inferior quality units, said a dealer. German -manufactured solar units are the most reliable, as their buyers very rarely return with any complaints while customers who take away low-quality Chinese products come back to the seller with complaints. Dealers said that since there is no fuel involved and they are entirely dependent on natural factors sunlight they cannot run 24/7 and 365 days a year. There has been a recent trend among urban residential consumers installing solar panels to augment grid electricity supply. A solar home system compared to UPS and gas generator is a long-term investment, deterring potential consumers. They said in Pakistan, due to the rising costs of electricity, gas and fuel, people are not using generators or UPS. Now they prefer to install solar panel system in houses. Though it is expensive to buy for the first time but it does not charge any bill at the end of the month. It does not have installation cost and it has not any wiring charges. Pakistan has an ideal climate for solar energy given hot, sunny climate, long daytime hours. For Pakistan producing electricity from the sun is very easy.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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Shale gas, oil reserves outweigh conventional stock, study reveals

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has confirmed recoverable reserves of around 200 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas and around 58 billion barrels of oil in its shale structure — many times larger than existing conventional gas reserves of around 20 TCF and 385 million barrels of oil. This was stated by Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid KhaqanAbbasi at a press conference held here on Thursday to explain main findings of a recently concluded Shale Gas Study based on actual data of existing wells. “The conclusion (of the study) is that Pakistan has huge potential of shale gas and oil which is much bigger than previous estimates of the United States Energy Information Administration (USEIA) and technology is available at home to produce this resource,” he said. MrAbbasi said the country had a massive potential of 10,159 TCF shale gas and 2.3tr barrels of oil. He said the USEIA had reported in April 2011 the presence of 206 TCF shale gas in lower Indus Basin out of which 51 TCF was termed technically recoverable. However, in June 2013 the USEIA revised the shale gas resource in Pakistan at 586 TCF in place out of which 105 TCF was tipped as risked technically recoverable and also included 9.1bn barrels of shale oil risked technically recoverable out of 227bn barrels shale oil in place. He said a shale gas study initiated in January 2014 with the support of USAID had been completed. It proved that Pakistan had 10,159 TCF of shale gas resource and 2,323bn barrels of shale oil. He said the findings were reached when recoverable data of 1,611 wells were collected and shale formation of 1,312 wells through drill was examined. The study covered lower and middle Indus Basin, geographically spread over Sindh, southern Punjab and eastern Balochistan. He said 70 per cent of wells data were used to develop the study. The minister said the samples were sent to New Tech Laboratory in Houston to verify shale gas and oil resource in place. The study confirmed that Pakistan had the potential of shale gas and oil which was more than expectations. He said Pakistan had the technology for exploring conventional oil and gas that could be used for exploiting shale oil and gas. However, the country requires more technology for exploiting shale oil and gas resource on a larger scale. He said that real challenges were environmental issues, availability of water and higher cost of drilling. He said one well required 3-8m barrels of water. Shale gas will cost $10 per Million British Thermal Unit. “We have assigned OGDCL and PPL to explore shale gas and oil from one well to determine cost of extracting them.” Responding to a question, MrAbbasi said the natural gas would be available only for domestic consumers in Punjab and even they would not get it between 10pm and 5am. The demand of gas in domestic sector in Punjab is about 950mmcfd, but supplies will be around 650 mmcfd and the difference would need to be met through pressure management. He said the power plants and fertiliser units would be run on LNG. “CNG sector may also get LNG if supply is available,” he said, adding that captive power plants would also be switched to LNG. In reply to another question, he said a transparent process had been followed in awarding LNG contract and all required information and record were provided to the National Accountability Bureau. “I have been engaged personally in process of LNG and, therefore, take full responsibility and am available for any questioning or accountability,” he said. He said that a summary had also been moved to the Council of Common Interests to approve regulation of LPG prices to provide relief to consumers but the CCI had not met for 10 months.

Copyright Dawn, 2015

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Russia offers LNG supply

Russia has offered the supply of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to Pakistan during the first Pakistan Russia Investment Forum held on Thursday. The first Pakistan-Russia Investment Forum was jointly organised by the Board of Investment (BoI) and Russian Business Council here at a hotel on the sidelines of 4th session of Pakistan-Russia Intergovern-mental Commission on trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation. The Forum was co-chaired by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Federal Minister Drug Control Services Russian Federation, who is the co-chairman of Pakistan Russia inter-governmental commission. The Forum was attended by around 80 businesspeople from Russia and around 130 local businessmen. Russian Minister and Co-Chairman of the Russian-Pakistani Inter-governmental Commission on Economic, Trade and Scientific Cooperation Victor P. Ivanov emphasised that establishment of air links between the two countries would be stepping stones towards setting up direct contacts between the business and investors community. The Minister also offered the supply of LNG gas to Pakistan. He also mentioned the agreement signed recently for establishing North South Gas Pipeline and asked the business representatives of both the countries to work on other possible areas of cooperation such as banking ie, through opening of banks branches in each other''s country, furthering cooperation in sectors like electro energy, infrastructure, oil & gas, transport, agriculture, agriculture, telecommunication and other areas of mutual cooperation. The Minister also appreciated the economic policies of government of Pakistan and expressed the hope that the rising trend of Pakistan economy would open up new avenues for business communities to enhance trade and investment which is the ultimate objective of this forum. He pointed out that the existing volume of trade and investment is the potential in both the countries. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar appreciated the Russian side for agreeing to establish North South Gas Pipeline and invited the Russian side to upgrade Pakistan Steel Mills to make it a profitable entity. He said that direct air links with Moscow would be started soon to facilitate the business community of both countries which would also help in promoting the trade relations of both the countries. The Finance Minister said that the present government had taken steps towards resolving the 17-year-old trade disputes involving Pakistan''s private businessmen and Russian businessmen. He expressed hope that the matter would be resolved at the Pakistan-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) meeting scheduled to be held on Friday (today). The Minister endorsed the views of the Russian Minister that the figures of bilateral trade and investment are far below the actual existing potential. The Minister invited specific proposals with regard to facilitation required from the government of Pakistan in the areas of regulatory framework, administrative climate and any other area of cooperation. In opening remarks DrMiftah Ismail, MOS / chairman, BOI highlighted that the existing trade and investment figures between the two countries are not reflecting the real potential exist. According to him, potential exists in Pakistan in terms of natural and human resources. He invited the Russian as well as Pakistani investors to invest in Pakistan as prospects of co-production; joint ventures with local partners are promising in the country. Representatives of relevant Ministries/Departments from both sides gave detailed presentations in their respective sectors and highlighted huge investment opportunities in these sectors and lucrative incentives available for investors. The Pakistani side highlighted investment opportunities in the energy, petroleum and natural resources, food and agriculture, industries and production, textile, communication and information technology. The Russian side identified sectors for mutual cooperation which include transport, Oil & Gas, Industry & machinery, cooperation in drugs, railways, irrigation of Balochistan, science & education and capacity building of Pakistani workforce. The presenters suggested that the government had a significant role to play in bringing in investments from abroad with policies such as; tax incentives, and other administrative areas to facilitate investors. After main session, meetings were also held wherein more than eighty businessmen/investors participated and held detailed discussions with their counterparts for mutual benefit and enhancement of Investment & trade.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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North South Gas Pipeline: Nawaz formally asks Putin to do the honours

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that the economic indicators of the country are fast growing and Pakistan is becoming an attractive destination for foreign investors, especially in the field of energy. The prime minister extended his invitation to Russian President Vladimir Putin, for inauguration of North South Gas Pipeline, which is the largest investment by Russia in Pakistan. The prime minister said this while meeting a Russian delegation led by Victor P Ivanov, Co-Chairman of the Russian-Pakistani Intergovernmental Commission on Economic, Trade and Scientific Cooperation on Thursday. The prime minister said that Pakistan-Russia ties were entering into a new phase of strong relationship, which would usher in a new age of fruitful benefits for both the countries. The prime minister said that Pakistan has taken a firm stance on terrorism and extremism to ensure a peaceful, stable and investor-friendly environment. The terrorists'' hideouts and infrastructure have been dismantled through effective offensive, added the prime minister. He said that the Pakistani nation owns the war on terrorism, led by the present government. Victor P Ivanov said that Pakistan is a strong country with rich history and there exists a huge potential for mutual trade between Russia and Pakistan. He said that there is a need for establishing direct flight between Moscow and Islamabad to benefit the traders and investors of both the countries. He further said that Pakistan attaches high value to its partnership with Russia in all areas including bilateral trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation. Pakistan supports an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned solution for peace in Afghanistan, which is good for the entire region and the world. Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Minister for Finance, Mifta Ismail, SAPM/Chairman BOI and other senior officials of the government attended the meeting. Members of the Russian delegation include Colonel General Mikhail Y. Kyiko, Deputy Director, Deputy Federal Minister of the Federal Drug Control Service of the Russian Federation, Major General Vladimir Z. Vysotskiy, Chief of the International and Legal Department of the Federal Drug Control Service of the Russian Federation, Alexey Y. Dedov, Ambassador of the Russian Federation and Maxim A Marchenko and others.-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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ECNEC approves projects in energy, communication sectors

ECNEC okays Advanced Metering Infrastructure for IESCO and LESCO; land acquisition and road construction for new Islamabad airport, Sindh roads improvement project Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting of the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Saturday which considered and approved various projects in the energy and communication sectors. After detailed deliberations, ECNEC accorded approval in principle for Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Projects for IESCO and LESCO. While presenting the details of the projects, Water and Power secretary said that these projects would enhance load control and load management in the two DISCOs. AMI project is designed as a least cost solution to reduce losses and to efficiently balance power supply. Once the system is in place it would considerably reduce load shedding, as it would enable alternative ways of managing peak load. AMI system would have smart meters, in-house display units and shall provide Headend System (HES) software for effective liaison between meter and the management information system. Both projects also include establishment of New Customer Information and Billing Systems. IESCO’s project will cost Rs18,607 million while for LESCO the cost will be Rs 30,597 million. The ECNEC accorded approval for land acquisition and construction of road network projects for New Islamabad International Airport. While the land acquisition and other related tasks will cost a total of Rs 5,455.00 million, the construction of road networks to be undertaken in four phases will cost Rs 11,295 million. After detailed discussion, ECNEC also approved Sindh Roads Improvement project at a cost of Rs 22,750 million. The project envisages reconditioning/reconstruction, improvement, widening and strengthening of varying lengths of 329 km of existing roads in Kashmore, Kandhkot, Larkana, Sanghar, Tando Adam, Mirpur Khas, Tando Mohammad Khan and Badin areas. These roads have been damaged by floods and heavy rain fall and need urgent repairs. ECNEC considered and approved construction of Abdul Hakeem – Lahore section of the Karachi-Lahore Motorway (230 km length). The project will cost Rs 150,665.025 million and would cover cities/towns of Abdul Hakeem, Pir Mahal, Samundri, Gojra, Tandilianwala, Jaranwala, Bucheki, Nankana Sahib, Sheikhupura and Lahore. The project is aimed at construction of 230 km long six-lane access controlled section of Karachi-Lahore motorway from Abdul Hakeem to Lahore including necessary road side facilities. The Committee also approved a proposal of Ministry of Water and Power related to land acquisition for Dasu Hydropower Project. The project is being implemented with financial support of the World Bank.

Copyright Pakistan Today, 2015

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Pakistan, Tajikistan agree to revive talks on trade pact

Pakistan has once again conveyed its willingness to Tajikistan for early conclusion of a trilateral transit trade agreement which would help exchange of goods with the landlocked country via Afghanistan, a senior official told Dawn on Friday. The talks on the agreement were suspended in April this year after Afghanistan’s assertion to include India. Pakistan’s stance was conveyed on Friday in a Pakistani and Tajik business community gathering co-chaired by Commerce Minister KhurramDastagir Khan and Tajik Foreign Minister SirojiddinAslov. The official, who was privy to the meeting, told Dawn that Pakistan has also offered to support the case of Tajikistan for joining a quadrilateral transit trade agreement including Pakistan, China, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. “We will support the inclusion of Tajikistan in the treaty,” Dastagir said. Pakistan and Tajikistan have more than once showed their readiness to sign the trilateral agreement as soon as possible. The official said the negotiations were on advanced stage and two meetings had been held in Islamabad and Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan. But a non-negotiable condition put forward by Afghanistan to include India in the agreement is apparently proving to be a deal-breaker. “There has been an impasse as Pakistan is not willing to include India until political relations between the two countries normalise,” the official elaborated. The mode of the treaty is ready for finalisation, he added. India is garnering Afghanistan’s support to become part of the treaty to cut its way through Pakistan’s Wagah border to Afghanistan and Central Asian states.

Copyright Dawn, 2015

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Thar coal mining project: government to provide sovereign guarantee to SECMC

The federal government has committed to providing sovereign guarantee to Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) for its Thar coal mining project, said a statement on Tuesday. Based on the government’s commitment, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) has now approved a draft for a foreign currency loan agreement and sovereign guarantee document. The foreign currency loan for the project, which is part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), is being provided by a consortium of top Chinese banks led by China Development Bank. ICBC bank also included in this consortium. Moreover, MoF has also given a go-ahead to the terms and conditions of the local currency loan for the project needed for finalisation of local currency loan document and associated government''s guarantee. Sovereign guarantee for the project would be issued by a provision of backup guarantee by Sindh government. This now paves the way for the company to achieve financial close within this year. The associated power plant being established by EngroPowergenThal Limited (EPTL) is also well on its way to achieve financial close in the same time frame while the sponsors of the SECMC and EPTL have spent approximately four billion rupees to kick-start work on the project before financial close. Physical work is continuing at both sites in earnest and companies hope to achieve grid synchronisation by 2018. SECMC is developing a 3.8 mtpa mine and EPTL is developing a 660MW project in Thar. The capital cost of both projects is approximately US two billion dollars.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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Delegation of Chinese power company meets Shahbaz

Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif here Sunday met Liu Jie Vice President and a delegation of a Chinese Power Company dealing with 1320 mg Sahiwal Coal Power project. He discussed development in the project with the company delegation. Chief Minister Sharif showed satisfaction on the pace of work on the project. He hoped that they would soon give practical shape to project of China -Pak Economic Corridor. Chief Minister stated that two 660 mega watts coal power projects in Sahiwal were a shining example of Pak-China friendship. Shahbaz Sharif told the delegation that best facilities were provided to Chinese workers and engineers on Sahiwal Coal Power Projects. Chief Minister and the delegation showed optimism that coal power project would be complete by year 2017. Chairman Punjab Power Development Board and other senior officials were present on the occasion

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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Shale gas/oil reservoirs: Ministry presents encouraging picture

Ministry of Petroleum on Wednesday presented an encouraging picture of Shale gas/oil reservoirs in Pakistan with a total of 586 Trillion Cubic Feet (TCF) of which 105 TCF gas and over 9 billion barrels oil reservoirs are recoverable. Briefing Public Accounts Committee (PAC) here at the Parliament House, Saeedullah Shah, Director General Petroleum Concessions (DGPC), Ministry of Petroleum shared findings of the study conducted by US Energy Information Administration (USEIA) which shows that 95 TCF recoverable reservoirs of Shale gas are only available in Sindh and Southern Punjab. He also shared findings of a study conducted by USAID that shows there are trillion of cubic feet resources of Shale gas in Pakistan, which is encouraging development for the country''s future to cope with the energy crisis. However, he said that exploration of Shale gas/oil was financially two times expensive and time consuming compared to conventional natural resources, adding that it was also technology intensive. He pointed out that it took 40 years for US to develop Shale gas, adding Shale gas in the US is found on the surface, whereas in Pakistan it is lying in depth 2,000 to 4,000 meters. He said that once Shale oil/gas policy formulated the exploration and production companies (E&P) will get around $12 per MMBTU as wellhead gas price, which is almost double from the price E&P companies getting for conventional gas produce. He said that the country has no capacity to extract Shale gas resources by its own and it would have required the foreign companies and latest technology for the purpose. To ascertain the cost, he said that the ministry is planning to start a pilot project to know the estimated cost of Shale gas. About the natural gas, he said that at present, the country is producing 30 percent less than the domestic requirement of the natural gas. Giving the province-wise break-up of the oil/gas exploration, he told the committee that Khyber Pakthunkhawa is leading in exploration of oil with 42, 601 barrel oil per day followed by Sindh with 31,179 barrel oil per day. Sindh is the highest producer of the natural gas with share of 2,780 MMCFD followed by Balochistan with 875 MMCFD, he said. Whereas Punjab produces 14,209 barrel oil per day with contribution of 143 MMCFD natural gas per day and Balochistan has the lowest contribution in term of oil with 89 barrels oil per day. Giving details of the exploration activities, he said that there are 2,210 wells across the country with 947 exploration wells and 1,263 development wells and discoveries of 325 of which 72 oil and 251 gas with 34 percent success in the exploration. Overall, the ministry has issued 179 exploration licenses and 160 leases and 99 wells had been drilled before partition, he added. In Khyber Pakthunkhawa, he said that as much as 34,104.17 sqkms area is under exploration with 36 percent success rate, which is highest success rate as compared to rest of the provinces. In Balochistan, he said that an area of 112,713.38 sqkm is under exploration for oil and gas with 28 percent success rate in the exploration. In Punjab, he stated an area of 68,997.89 sqkms is under exploration with 25 percent success rate. In Sindh an area of 93,556.05 area is under exploration with a success rate of 34 percent, he added. About the discoveries are concerned, Khyber Pakthunkhawa and Balochistan each have 15 discoveries, Punjab has 42 discoveries and Sindh has 255 discoveries. Earlier, the PAC chaired by its chairman Syed Khursheed Ahmad Shah settled various audit paras related to Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources and its attached departments.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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Government seeks investment in oil, gas, other sectors

The government on Wednesday sought investment in various sectors of the economy, especially in oil and gas sectors. Addressing a two-day ''Pakistan Investment Conference'', advisor to Prime Minister DrMusadiq Malik said: "With 100 percent ownership of foreign firms protected by law and complete remittal of capital, profits and dividends, Pakistan my be the next investor''s paradise". He further said, "at $6/mmbtu, Pakistan offers an incredibly attractive wellhead gas price as compared to $4.2 by India and $2.5 by Nigeriam," adding, the current gas shortage of 2,087 mmcfd growing at a staggering pace offers a tremendous investment opportunity. A two-day ''Pakistan Investment Conference'' began here on Wednesday. The conference is aimed at attracting foreign and local investment in different sectors of national economy. Business delegations from over twenty nine countries are participating in the investment conference. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated the conference. Minister for Petroleum Shahid KhaqanAbbasi urged investors to invest in Pakistan''s oil and gas sector because it offers tremendous opportunities and returns on equity. He said that Pakistan looks forward to investment not only in gas but also in oil sector and hopes to attract private sector investment in the sector. He said that market of LNG in Pakistan is likely to grow to 15 million metric ton in next three years as there would be a shift in LNG-fired power plant for electricity generation. Abbasi said three new LNG-based power plants being installed in the country would be producing 3600 MW electricity, adding that more plants are also in the pipeline in days to come. The minister said first LNG-based gas was made available in the system and the credit goes to the government which has focused on LNG and succeeded in bringing the liquefied gas to the system. Shahid KhaqanAbbasi said to transport gas, 100km North-South pipeline will be constructed by Russian company with $2 billion and government has signed an agreement in this regard. Moreover, he said $10 billion TAPI would be inaugurated in December 2015 and would be on-line in four year. The minister further stated a lot of efforts have been going on to increase gas availability in the country to cope with growing gas shortage. He said Pakistan is now on the radar of investor for investment in petroleum sector. Abbasi further stated shale gas production in Pakistan there was more than initial estimates but it was not feasible with current oil price; however, these huge reserves would be exploited to meet the future requirements. Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif said solar energy tariff would be announced in the next two to three days. The Minister said the government has been able to reduce the subsidy on electricity to Rs 228 billion and optimisation of independent power producers (IPPs) can be increased to 80-85 percent from the existing 70-75 percent. However, he was not optimistic that there would be no load-shedding in the country in 2017 and stated that with an increase in generation, demand was also increasing. However, the Minister was of the view that the duration of load shedding in the next two years would be drastically reduced. Minister for Commerce KhurramDastgir said that negotiations on Free Trade Agreements (FTA) have been initiated with Thailand and Turkey. "Free Trade Agreement-II is also being negotiated with China with a view to reviewing different aspects of the existing FTA," he added. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan has begun to be reconnected with the world through economic diplomacy, infrastructure improvement, new agreements and democratic stabilisation, he said. Chairing the session "Is China- Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a Game Changer?" Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal said that Pakistan aspires to become one of the top 25 countries by 2025. He said China and Pakistan share the dream of creating a highway of connectivity and growth through CPEC. The three massive regions of growth - China, Pakistan and Central Asia - would be integrated through CPEC. He maintained that four elements of CPEC are Gwadar, energy, infrastructure and industrialisation. Chairing the session on ''Agriculture and Livestock sector offers vast opportunities for Investment," Minister Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan said Pakistan need to go for farm mechanisation which is a great opportunity for investors. The government is committed to the rapid and efficient growth of agriculture, fisheries and livestock. He said most agricultural activities have only 3 to 5 percent value addition. This gap offers a tremendous opportunity, adding Pakistan agriculture needs technology and innovation.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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