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News Headlines for the month of
MAY 2011

Two IPPs start commercial operation

Two private sector power projects, having cumulative net capacity of 390MW have been added to the national grid. These include gas based IPP, 176.6 MW Fauji Dharki Power Project which was commissioned on 22 April, 2011, and 213.8MW Hubco-Narowal Power Project which started its commercial operations on 16 May this year. This was briefed in the 88th meeting of the Board of Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) held Monday under the chairmanship of Minister for Water and Power, Syed Naveed Qamar. The meeting was informed that another three IPPs are in the construction phase which include 209MW Bhikki Power Project, expected to be commissioned very soon while other two are 84 MW New Bong Hydropower Project and Uch-II 375 MW Power Project based on gas, expected by 2013. Qamar said that government believes in the policy of facilitating the investors and free them of any hurdles or delays during the processing of their projects, therefore Policy for Power Generation 2002 is being reviewed to make it more investor-friendly in consultation with the public and private sector stakeholders. He also informed that in order to make electricity affordable, the concept to convert existing thermal IPPs to cheaper fuels like coal, LNG etc is being seriously considered. Appreciating the role of PPIB in bringing investment in the power generation sector, the minister asked the Board to focus in the development and implementation of indigenous power projects based on hydro and coal for medium and long term needs and take measures for facilitating the same. Earlier, progress of all the power projects were reviewed. Managing Director PPIB gave briefing on the status of power projects under process. Secretary Water and Power Imtiaz Kazi, Secretary Planning Commission, Sohail Ahmad, Secretary Petroleum and Natural Resources, Muhammad Ejaz Chaudhry and Managing Director PPIB, N. A. Zuberi, besides directors of PPIB and other senior government officials and co-opted members of the Board attended the meeting.-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2011

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Iran to help Pakistan produce coal energy

Governor of the largest province of Iran, Khorasan Razavi Dr Mahmoud Salahi said that he will present Iranian study to produce coal energy as a gift to the people of Punjab which will help the province produce electricity from water, coal, air and solar resources. He was addressing the inaugural session of "Pakistan-Iran Investment & Trade Business Forum", jointly organised by Punjab Board of Investment and Trade (PBIT) in collaboration with Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI), where 60 government and private officials from Iran met with the leading CEOs and government officials from Pakistan. Salahi also said that Iran intends to work in close collaboration with Pakistan for economic development of the region. He expressed hope that industrial exchange programme between Punjab and Khorasan would help promote trade relations between the two provinces. He extended invitation to Pakistani industrialists to take part in international investment conference to be scheduled in Khorasan next month. Speaking on the occasion, Chief Executive Officer PBIT, Saadat Muzaffar said that the longstanding and historic ties between Iran and Pakistan will be translated to concrete economic ties though solidifying trade and economic opportunities between Punjab and Khorasan Razavi. He further said that this forum is an opportunity of branding both countries investment positives, which will result in multiple joint ventures, trade agreements and technology transfers between the private sector parties. He informed that trade volume between the two countries is currently about USD 1,300 million but economists say that the real potential of trade is no less than USD 1.5 billion if trade and non-trade barriers are eliminated. President Lahore Chambers of Commerce & Industry, Shahzad Ali Malik said that trade balance between the two countries is increasing constantly which is a very satisfactory sign. He further said that Pakistani investors should benefit from the expertise of Iranian companies. He informed that Iranian Consulate is helping Pakistani business community regarding issuance of visa, which would create close relations between the industrialists of both the countries. Minister Food Punjab Chaudhry Abdul Ghafoor, Chief Executive Officer PBIT Saadat Muzaffar, President LCCI Shahzad Ali Malik and Industrialists of Iran and Pakistan were also present on the occasion. The event highlighted investment and trade opportunities in Punjab to Iranian investors, where private sector delegates and government officials also discussed the most pressing projects that can be boosted though this visit. Pakistan-Iran Business Forum was a success both in terms of effective business matchmaking with Iran-based investors and the marketing of investment projects of Punjab. In this one-day forum, Iranian and Pakistani delegates showed vast interest in the breakout sessions in agribusiness, livestock & dairy, mines & energy, infrastructure, and tourism. The forum also allowed Iranian investors to determine the political will of Punjab Government to make investing easy and hassle-free. Through this business forum, PBIT, which is Punjab's premier investment promotion agency, provided a platform of linking the province with a vast network of progressive investors in Iran.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2011

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KESC to install three new power units at BQPP

Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) will install three new power generating units at Bin Qasim Power Plant (BQPP), Business Recorder learnt here on Monday. These three units would be operational in June, July and August 2011, respectively, with each having a capacity of 115 megawatt. Sources said that another electricity unit would also be installed in February 2012 having 180 megawatt capacity. This unit would be run on the steam of the three units without any fossil fuel expenses, they added. KESC is buying 700 MW from Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) and 248 MW from Independent Power Plants (IPP), Tapal and Gul Ahmad. The current power generation capacity of KESC's Korangi Thermal Power Station (KTPS) is 360 MW, capacity of five operational units of Bin Qasim Power Plant is 800 while the Korangi Gas turbine generate 90 MW. When KESC spokesman, Amin-ur-Rehman, was contacted, he said that the current electricity demand of the metropolitan was 2500 MW. When asked about the shortfall the utility is facing, he did not respond directly, saying that currently four to five hours load shedding is being carried out in city.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2011

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Rs 22 billion for PAEC projects in PSDP 2011-12 proposed

The government has proposed Rs 22 billion allocation for 26 (22 on-going, 4 new) projects of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) in Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) of 2011-12 fiscal year. According to documents available with Business Recorder, the government has proposed Rs 20.9 billion for ongoing and Rs 1.1 billion for new projects of PAEC in the PSDP. The PAEC requested Rs 45.91 billion for 26 projects but only Rs 22 billion has been proposed. The government has also included Rs 5.8 billion foreign loans in the total allocation. The government proposed Rs 15.5 billion (4.6 billion foreign loans) for on-going scheme of Chashma Nuclear Power Project (C3&C4) while the PAE requested Rs 39.2 billion for the project. Similarly, the government has proposed allocation of Rs 25.59 billion (1.2 billion) for on-going project of Chashma Nuclear Power Projects C-II, Mianwali in PSDP. The government also allocated Rs 430 million for on-going Acquisition/Development of land and construction of office building and accommodation of NP supplier of KANUPP UNIT-2 (K-2) project, Rs 264.667 million for on-going Benazirabad Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Radiotherapy, Rs 185 million for on-going MPS-3 Taussa-2 Uranium Mining Projects and others in PSDP for Budget-2011-12. For new schemes, the government has proposed Rs 920 million for Joint Pre-project Feasibility and Design Study of a 1000 MW Nuclear Power Plant for Karachi and Rs 100 million for Long Term Operation of KANUPP and other projects in the PSDP.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2011

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Forth Extension Project: Tarbela generation capacity to rise above 4,800 megawatts

Chairman Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) Shakil Durrani has said that total generation capacity of the Tarbela Hydropower Station would rise to 4828 megawatt (MW) after the installation of 1350 MW units as part of 4th Extension Project. He expressed this hope during his visit to the project. Tarbela Dam Project General Manager, Project Director and other officers concerned were also present during the visit. Terming it a significant development, the Chairman said that the consultants, engaged for preparation of detailed engineering design, tender documents and project cost (PC)-I, have established in their findings that three turbines of 450-MW each could be installed instead of two turbines of 480-MW each, as envisaged in a study conducted earlier in 90s. He said that the independent panels of international experts have also endorsed these findings. This is a good omen in view of the increasing requirements of electricity in the country, he added. Earlier, the Chairman visited Tunnel No 4 and proposed site of the powerhouse for Tarbela 4th Extension Project. He also visited Tarbela Power House to witness Unit No 4, that has recently been rehabilitated by WAPDA with financial assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). He appreciated the officials concerned for completing the rehabilitation work well before the target set for the purpose. It is pertinent to mention that Tarbela 4th Extension Hydropower Project is a part of least-cost energy generation plan, being implemented by WAPDA on priority basis to harness indigenous hydropower resources of the country with a view to improving the ratio of hydel electricity in the National Grid. Most importantly, the project will also provide a cushion to undertake rehabilitation and up-gradation of the existing Tarbela Power House during the lean period. The work on detailed engineering design, preparation of tender documents and PC-1 of Tarbela 4th Extension Hydropower Project, undertaken by WAPDA on fast-track basis, is expected to be completed by September 2011. Afterwards, this mega project will be available for initiating construction work, completion of which has been planned in a short span of four years. It is important to note that hydel is the cheapest source of electricity with an average cost of Rs 1.05 per unit.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2011

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Joint energy meeting with China soon: Masood

Pakistan's Ambassador to China Masood Ahmed Khan said on Sunday that Pakistan and China will have a joint meeting to evolve mechanism for energy production. He said that the meeting would be held soon in China to solve the energy problem in Pakistan. Talking to a news channel, the Ambassador said that the meeting would discuss energy production to meet the growing demand of the people and industries of Pakistan. He further said that Chinese companies would help build small dams in Pakistan. Replying to a question, he said that a prominent Chinese company will start work in Pakistan.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2011

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Energy projects: $6 billion investment likely from South Koreans: chief minister

A total of $6 billion worth of investment is expected from the South Koreans in various energy projects in the province, said Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah here on Sunday. "Korean Southern Power Company (KOSPO) has signed a MoU with Sindh Board of Investment (SBI) to establish wind power project in Gharo-Keti Bandar wind corridor to produce 2000MW electricity," he said, here Sunday at a press briefing about his 6-day Korean tour. South Korean entrepreneurs in private and public sector have shown interest in investing in the province, he said. Shah said that 20 representatives of private sector and 8 government officials represented Pakistan at the fair and meetings with Korean counterparts. "Koreans expressed their desire to invest in energy, coal field development, infrastructure and mass transit system," he added. He said an MoU was also signed between Sindh Board of Investment (SBI) and Korean Importers Association to boost export from the province. Shah said that on his invitation a delegation of Korean businessmen would soon visit Pakistan, particularly Sindh to explore investment opportunities. He said that the delegates also attended host of seminars and exhibitions organised by Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Pakistani counterparts had successful interaction with them. Speaking on the occasion, the Advisor to Chief Minister, Zubair Motiwala said that the Korean entrepreneurs have been invited to visit Pakistan and explore investment opportunities. He said that the Koreans will be given tax incentives in economic zones of the province.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2011

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2,000 megawatts wind power generation: Sindh, South Korean company sign MoU

In a major break through in the renewable energy, Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah witnessed the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with KOSPO (Korea Southern Power Company). The MoU was signed by the Secretary Investment Sindh Muhammad Younis Dagha and the Chief Executive Officer of KOSPO, said a statement issued here on Saturday. In consequence of the MOU, 2000MW wind power projects will be established in the Gharo-Keti Bandar Wind Corridor. KOSPO is one of the Six Public Sector Power Generating Companies in KOREA who have earlier visited Jhimpir for initial survey for the wind corridor. Their presence in Pakistan and development of Wind Power projects is a testimony of the investment friendly policy of the present Government. Later, Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah held a meeting with Chairman and President of Lotte Group for enhancing investment in Pakistan. Lotte Group has invested about 200 million dollars in PTA Plant at Port Qasim and after profitable operation within the last 2 years, are looking forward to diversify their investment portfolio by acquiring Kolson Food Industries. Chairman Lotte informed that he believes that Pakistan has a promising economic future. The Chairman assured the Chief Minister Sindh that since Lotte has been in profit due to enabling business environment and intends to expand their present plant capacity by injecting another 500 million dollars. They also showed interest in developing Kenjhar Lake Resort and other infrastructure projects.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2011

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'18 companies issued licenses to set up power units'

Sindh Secretary Environment Mir Hussain Ali has said that the government has issued licenses to 18 companies for establishing power units to generate at least 1,440 MW of electricity. Addressing the members of Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (Kati), he said that by the end of 2012, wind power generating units would start generating electricity. He warned the companies to initiate work on the units immediately, otherwise, plots allotted for the projects would be cancelled. Hussain Ali assured the Kati members that in future the copies of notices issued by Environment Protection Agency (EPA, would also be provided to the association. He also assured that the department would not adopt harsh measures against industrialists. However, he said that industrialists should also follow the rules and regulations. The secretary environment informed that the federal government had granted permission for establishing combined effluent treatment plant and work on the project would be initiated soon. Speaking on the occasion, Acting Chairman Kati Jawed Qureshi said that it was the responsibility of the government to dispose of garbage properly. Former chairman Kati Mian Zahid Hussain assured that the association would extend complete co-operation to EPA.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2011

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Alternate energy policy draft to be launched in June

The draft of new alternate energy policy, which included other renewable resources, is ready and will be launched in June this year. This was stated by the CEO Alternate Energy Development Board (AEDB) Arif Alauddin while talking to media persons on the 3rd and concluding day of POGEE Conference 2011 on "Energy Solutions" at Karachi Expo Centre on Thursday. He said the new expanded alternate energy policy also accommodates other renewable resources like baggass, hydel, off-grid and net metering technology to give a bigger canvas for investors. All the imports relating to renewable energy have been made duty free, he added. He said that AEDB has cancelled all the allotments of land of those wind energy projects, which failed to meet deadlines and these lands have been re-allotted to 13 potential investors who have deposited guarantees. About 17, out of 20 allotments were cancelled for not meeting deadlines and 13 of them were restored upon the payment of $250,000 for a new deadline of August 31, 2011, he added. He pointed out that 7 to 8 wind projects will be having a financial close this year and about 20 more wind energy projects are in the pipeline. Alauddin said that the financial close of Fauji Foundations wind energy project will be achieved next week as they have signed most of the necessary agreements including purchase power agreement (PPA), bank guarantee. Tapal and Beacon are also in the process of financial close, he noted. Similarly, China Wind Electric (CWE) has signed production contract and they will start manufacturing of turbines in Pakistan. To a question, he said that India had started renewable energy project in 1982 and they had developed a full-fledged manufacturing facility for wind and solar technology long ago. He said that the implementation of upcoming wind projects could be delayed, if land was not provided to them by Sindh government, in time. Earlier, speaking at the conference, Alauddin said that political support and public support was vital for the take off of renewable energy in the country. Senior Vice-President, Delta Engineering San Diego USA Zahoor Abbasi, while speaking on Thar coal as an alternative energy resource, said that about 38 trillion cubic feet of coalbed methane can be extracted from Thar coal field. Quoting a report prepared by a Canadian firm, the said that this means that about 900 million cubic feet of natural gas per day can be injected to the existing piped gas network, he added. He said that USA was getting 7.1 billion cubic feet of gas per day from two coal fields in Colorado and Wyoming states. The USA is driving 10 percent of natural gas from coal, he opined. Citing data, he said the cost of energy from Thar coal will be about $1.8 mmBTU. This is lower than the cost of natural gas, which is $3.5 per mmBTU. The production cost of coalbed methane is $3 per mmBTU, he added. He said the water from Thar coalfield can be desalinated for drinking and irrigation purposes. About 10,000 acres of land can be cultivated from this desalinated water, he observed. A wind energy consultant Furqan Habib said that Pakistan can start local production of wind turbine with foreign collaboration under technology transfer or licensed production. Director AEDB Imran Ahmed talked about the investment opportunities and policy support in the renewable sector and said that lucrative incentives are offered under renewable energy policy. National network co-ordinator of ENERGIA Pakistan, Sherin Fayyaz said that mostly women are victims to indoor pollution caused by the use of inferior mode of energy in the country.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2011

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Prime Minister seeks investment in energy sector

Prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani Thursday called on Chinese firms to invest in his country's energy sector, in a bid to boost a moribund economy hit by massive floods last year and weak Western investment. "There is great potential for the participation of Chinese corporations in the development of the energy sector in Pakistan. This includes hydro, thermal and renewable," Yousuf Raza Gilani told a joint business forum in Beijing. "Joint ventures, with equity participation of Chinese corporations and financial institutions, can transform Pakistan's economic landscape and would certainly prove to be a win-win scenario," the visiting prime minister said. "I would urge Chinese corporations to focus on Pakistan in their strategic business plans." Gilani is on the third day of a trip to China that follows the May 2 killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by US special forces on Pakistani soil-a raid that has rattled US-Pakistan ties and pushed Islamabad closer to Beijing. Gilani and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao, whom he met Wednesday, have both made a point of lauding mutual ties, just as Pakistan finds itself under pressure about whether its security services knew where bin Laden was. The two countries have growing commercial links-two-way trade totalled $8.7 billion in 2010, up 27.7 percent on-year, according to Chinese data-and have also collaborated extensively in the energy sector. Only last week, Pakistan opened a nuclear power plant built with China at Chashma in central Punjab province, and said Beijing had been contracted to construct two more reactors to ease energy shortages. Pakistan, whose crippling power shortages restrict production to around 80 percent of the country's needs, requires such energy deals to boost its economy. In November 2008, the Islamic republic was rescued from the brink of bankruptcy thanks to a rescue package from the International Monetary Fund that hauled it back from inflation at a 30-year high and fast-depleting reserves. But the nation's economy is still struggling, with consumer prices still high and a budget deficit growing to 5.5 percent of gross domestic product, above a 4.9 percent target for the current fiscal year to June 30.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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Germany ready to extend cooperation in renewable energy sources

Germany, for being world leader in the renewable energy, is ready to extend co-operation to Pakistan in bridging gap between the demand and supply of electricity in the country which is passing through worst energy crisis at the moment. The Ambassador of Germany Dr Michael Koch stated this while speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Wednesday. He said the renewable energy sources could help protect Pakistan government against cost increase, as has recently been experienced in case of crude oil. Pakistan could avail German expertise for installation renewable energy projects to overcome acute energy shortage it is facing now-a-days, he added. On the trade between Pakistan and Germany, the Ambassador said that concerted efforts were being made to take the two-way trade volume to new heights and in coming days the situation would take a positive turn. He said German market open for investment practically in all industry sectors, and business activities are free from regulations restricting day-to-day business. German laws make no distinction between Germans and foreign nationals regarding investment or the establishment of companies, thus Pakistani businessmen could initiate joint ventures with their German counterparts, he added. While terming the vocational training as cornerstone of economic development of any country, the Ambassador said that Germany is and would continue to extend every possible help to Pakistan for strengthening of its human resource. He said that Pakistan's agriculture sector has a very huge potential, as Pakistani fruits are best of the best in the world. He said that Pakistan could earn much-needed foreign exchange by exporting its fruits to Germany. The Ambassador emphasised the need for a rapid exchange of delegations and a frequent interaction among the business communities of the two countries to give considerable boost to foreign direct investment in Pakistan. Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President said that continuous fall in bilateral trade is calling for appropriate sector-specific, result-oriented measures by both the countries, as the existing volume of $1.9 billion has no match to the great potential of business the two countries have. He said Pakistan's exports have come down from $880 million in 2008 to $719 million in 2009, whereas the similar trend has been noticed in imports from Germany, which fell from $1.47 billion to $1.27 billion in the same period of time. Shahzad Ali Malik said that Pakistan offers a great potential for foreign investment. It has a strategic location with abundant raw materials. Any investment made in Pakistan will automatically find its way to the regional countries, which goes to the extent of Commonwealth of Independent States famously known as CIS countries. Today, Pakistan is severely hit by a horrifying energy crisis that has badly affected its industrial sector. "We have never been as much in need for renewable energy sources as today" he added. The LCCI President said that Germany is meeting its energy needs with no trouble by using wind technology and solar electricity systems installed all across the country in addition to hydel resources. In this scenario, he said, Pakistan presents a huge scope for German investors to set up projects of producing alternate energy. He said that the other important sectors where German investors can benefit a lot are telecommunications, oil and gas exploration, food and food processing, cold chain system, agriculture tractors and machinery, dairy processing and equipment, engineering and services etc. Moreover, Pakistan largely produces the finest quality of rice, fruits, vegetable, leather goods, fish, textile products, readymade garments and bed linen. These products can find good markets in the member countries of European Union that surround Germany. Apart from trade and investment, the other area where Pakistan can benefit from German experience of economic growth in organising international fairs and exhibitions as Germany has acquired the status of a world leader in this connection. He said the LCCI appreciates that the German skill development infrastructures like GTZ has been quite active in passing on technical knowledge to the Pakistani industry in both formal and informal way. On the same pattern, LCCI wants to expand this co-operation in the field of Human Resource Development. Considering the educated youth of Pakistan, Germany can establish more such institutes here to train them to fulfil the manpower requirement of their own country at much competitive rates, he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2011

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WAPDA begins work on Jabban Hydropower Rehabilitation Project

Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) has initiated construction work on Jabban Hydropower Rehabilitation Project at a cost of Rs3.7 billion, which is scheduled to be completed in one year and nine months. AFD, a financial institution of France, is providing 25 million Euros for the project. Once rehabilitated 22-MW Jabban Hydropower Project will contribute 122 million units of electricity per annum. WAPDA Chairman Shakil Durrani, in connection with initiation of rehabilitation works on the project, said that WAPDA is implementing a two-prong-strategy for optimum utilisation of the indigenous hydropower resources to cope with growing demand of electricity in the country. On one hand, WAPDA is constructing a number of new hydropower projects on priority; while on the other hand, it is also engaged in executing refurbishment and rehabilitation of its aged hydel power stations. This strategy will help improve the ratio of low-cost hydel electricity in the National Grid so as to stabilise the power tariff, he added. The Chairman said that hydel power projects with a cumulative generation capacity of more than 1400 MW are under construction, while work on 4500-MW Diamer Basha Dam - the largest project in the history of Pakistan - will soon be started. He said that consultancy agreement to carry out feasibility study for up-gradation of generating units of 1000- MW Mangla Power Station was awarded last month. The Chairman further said that selection of the consultants for rehabilitation and refurbishment of 243-MW Warsak Power Station is also under process. It is pertinent to mention that Jabban Hydropower Station was established in 1937 with a generation capacity of 9.6 MW.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2011

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'Government intends to accelerate work pace for Thar coal'

Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Qaim Ali Shah on Saturday chaired the 12th meeting of Thar Coal and Energy Board (TC&EB) at Chief Minister House here. Addressing the meeting the Chief Minister said the Sindh Government intends to accelerate the pace of work for Thar Coal and Energy Board so as to make successful efforts for power generation, which is essential for progress and prosperity of the country, particularly, for Sindh, said a statement. He said that President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani have stressed to pay full attention towards this important project, which will also generate large number of job opportunities. The Board was given a presentation by Convenor of the Evaluation Committee, Muhammad Zubair Motiwala regarding International Competitive Bidding for Thar Coal Blocks, which was constituted in the Board's last meeting.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2011

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Third 330 megawatts Chashma Nuclear Power Plant Unit-1 (CHASNUPP-2) nuclear plant becomes operational

CHASHMA (May 13, 2011) : Pakistan's third nuclear electric power plant went operational on Thursday, pumping another 330MW into the national grid in a bid to help meet country's growing energy demand and cut down the shortfall. Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani inaugurated the Chashma Nuclear Power Plant Unit-1 (CHASNUPP-2), located near Chashma Barrage on the left bank of River Indus, 32 kilometres south of Mianwali city and, 280 kms south-west of Islamabad. Minister for Water and Power Syed Naveed Qamar, Acting Speaker National Assembly Faisal Karim Kundi, Chairman Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission Dr Ansar Parvez accompanied the prime minister. Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Khalid Shamim Wyne, Lieutenant General Khalid Ahmed Kidwai (Retd), Director General, Strategic Plans Division and Pakistan's ambassador to China Masood Khan were also present. Addressing the gathering, the prime minister termed the moment as a proud day for Pakistan and its civil nuclear energy programme. He said the completion of Chashma-2 three months ahead of the scheduled time was a reward for the joint efforts of Chinese and Pakistani teams, the benefits of which will go directly to the people of Pakistan. He regarded it yet another illustrious example of the Pakistan-China co-operation in the field of nuclear science and technology. "Completion of this project takes to even greater heights the long and time-tested friendship between the two countries and their peoples," he said. Gilani lauded the CNNC and other Chinese teams and Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission for their excellent planning and execution. He assured that his government would strongly support the efforts of PAEC in developing the nuclear power programme of the country. He said the government was fully conscious of the sufferings of the people and the adverse effects of electricity shortfall on industrial production and economic growth of the country. "We are duty bound to make every effort to overcome the prevailing crisis by exploiting all the available sources and avenues of power generation in the shortest possible time," he said. The prime minister said the generation of additional 330MW electricity would provide immediate relief to a section of consumers, adding that two more power plants C-3 and C-4 already under construction at this site would help in paving the way for PAEC to meet the government assigned target of 8800MW by the year 2030. "In fact, I will encourage you to look beyond 2030, say to 2050, and provide Pakistan with far greater capacity than 8800MW. I am sure, you will accept the challenge," he said. Gilani also emphasised on paying full attention to the safety of the current and the future nuclear power plants of the country and expressed satisfaction on undergoing a review of safety assessment and emergency preparedness of their plants in the wake of nuclear accident in Japan. The prime minister urged the international community to eliminate discrimination between nations and make this promising technology accessible to Pakistan for peaceful use like power generation. He pointed that Pakistan has been consistently complying with the requirements of nuclear safeguard agreements signed between the government of Pakistan and the International Atomic Energy Agency - and said this would continue to be the practice for all the civil nuclear power plants to be built in Pakistan in future. He said building and operating nuclear power plants was vital to the interest of the people of Pakistan because as the country was suffering from severe energy deficiency and needed more power plants. Gilani acknowledged China for the strong support in this area, adding that he would visit China shortly and would take this opportunity to personally thank the Chinese leadership for their strategic support in helping Pakistan meet its nuclear energy targets. Earlier, the prime minister took round of various sections of the power plant and expressed satisfaction over the level of technological expertise. Chairman PAEC Dr Ansar Parvez said two more plants C3 and C4 had already been planned in accordance with the safeguard agreements with IAEA approved by the its board of governors in March. He said first concrete of the nuclear island has been poured for C3 and the plant will come on line in 2016. He said the ground-breaking for C4 will take place next month and will come on line 10 months later. He said this would lay the foundation towards the target to produce 8800MW by year 2013. He said PAEC had put in place systems to ensure safe, reliable and economic operation of the plants, under the regulatory requirements of Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority. He said the events at Fukushima nuclear power plant had been closely monitored and where required, additional measures would be taken to further improve safety and emergency planning. Dr Ansar said plans were also afoot to develop the required human resource to increase indigenous capability of equipment manufacturing and to enhance fuel cycle handling capacity. He said the C1 has operated with better than 98 percent availability factor and a capacity factor above 95 percent. He said according to the tariff settled by Nepra is Rs 4.6 per unit or 5.5 cents. He said the project had also impacted the socio-economic conditions of the people living in adjoining areas. He said direct job opportunities had been created and 40 percent employees belonged to Mianwali district. Vice Administrator of SASTIND Wang Yiren congratulated Pakistan on ahead of schedule completion of the plant and said the ties between the two countries were solid as a rock. He said both countries need to strengthen co-operation in nuclear safety and hoped that the joint Pakistan-China team would deliver on time completion of C3 and C4, while ensuring all safety parameters and write new chapters of friendship between the two countries. Later, Prime Minister Gilani gave away honorary shields to the Pakistani and Chinese engineers who contributed to the project. The construction on the Pressurised Water Reactor, built with the Chinese assistance, began on December 28, 2005 and was connected to the electricity grid on March 14, 2011. Being operational from today (May 12), the plant has a net capacity of 300MW, and a gross capacity is 325MW. With the Chasnupp-2 operational the country's nuclear energy generation would rise to 725 megawatts. Current nuclear power generation stands at a mere 2.8 percent of electricity generated in the country. The IAEA Board of Governors had unanimously approved the Safeguards Agreement between Pakistan and IAEA in respect of CHASHMA-2 nuclear power in November 2006. Pakistan 's two research reactors (PARR-I & PARR2) and two nuclear power plants (KANUPP & CHASHMA-1) are already under the IAEA safeguards. CHASNUPP-2 is part of Pakistan's "Energy Security Plan", that envisages an increase in nuclear power generation from the current 425 MWe to 8800 MWe by the year 2030 to meet country's growing energy demands. Pakistan had termed the agreement with IAEA a success for Pakistan and recognition of its non-proliferation commitments. Pakistan has a small nuclear power program, with 725 MWe capacity, but plans to increase this substantially. The country's first Canadian pressurised heavy water reactor (PHWR) at Karachi - KANUPP, with a gross capacity of 137 MWe is generating net 125 MWe and is under international safeguards. The second unit is Chashma-1 (CHASNUPP-1) in Punjab, a 325 MWe (300 MWe net) 2-loop pressurised water reactor (PWR) has been supplied by China's CNNC under safeguards. The main part of the plant was designed by Shanghai Nuclear Engineering Research and Design Institute (SNERDI) and it started operations in May 2000. It also has a design life of 40 years. Work on the Chashma-3 and Chashma-4 reactors with 300 MWe each is also under way and would nearly double this capacity, adding another 600 megawatts to the grid. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency's Power Reactor Information System there are 443 nuclear power reactions in operation, with a total installed capacity of over 375 GW(e) around the world.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2011

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Pakistan, Russia sign four MoUs on energy, other sectors

MOSCOW (May 13, 2011) : Pakistan and Russia on Thursday signed four Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) on energy co-operation, air space, promotion of investment and co-operation in agriculture sectors. The MoU on air services was inked by Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar and Russian Transport Minister Igov Levttin. The MoU on energy co-operation was signed by Advisor to Prime Minister on Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain and Russian Minister for Energy Sergei Shnatro. The MoU on agriculture co-operation was signed by Russian Acting Minister for Agriculture Kovolev while Pakistan Minister for Agriculture and Food was represented by Pakistan envoy in Moscow Mohammad Khalid Khattak while the MoU on promotion of investment between the two countries was signed on Wednesday between the two countries by Chairman Board of Investment (BoI) Salim H. Mandviwala and chairman Russian National Investment Agency. President Asif Ali Zardari and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev witnessed the signing ceremony. The MoU in energy fields would encourage development of Pakistan's oil and gas fields, development of petroleum and natural gas storage in Pakistan, improvement of Pakistan's natural gas infrastructure, project for using natural gas as a motor fuel. A Russian Company Stroytransgaz, as said in the joint communiqué, has expressed keen desire to build transitional gas pipeline projects of Pakistan from Turkmenistan, Iran or Qatar. Similarly, Gazprom Geoservice Petroleum Company has agreed to construct oil and gas storage facilities and would also help in the training of Pakistani oil and gas experts and the experts of leading Russian companies have already visited Pakistan. For promotion of agriculture in Pakistan, the main Russian automobile manufacturers are interested to invest in Pakistan and the MoU on agriculture sector would promote the agriculture sector of Pakistan. For the promotion of investment in Pakistan, Lada is interested to manufacture cars of 1300 cc, Samara to manufacture cars of 800 cc, Nova group to manufacture 800 cc cars. There is also a proposal by Russian companies Chelyabinsk and Traktorexport for manufacture of Russian tractors in Pakistan. The Russian businessmen are keen to invest in Pakistan in telecommunication, banking, energy and infrastructure building and expansion of Pakistan Steel Mills Karachi.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2011

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Power generation from Thar coal: Chinese company, Kingho Group, keen to invest $15 billion

KARACHI (May 09, 2011) : The Chinese largest private sector company, Kingho Group, has shown interest to invest $ 15 billion in power generation sector from Thar coal. "It would be the highest ever foreign investment from any single country in the history of Pakistan," Zubair Motiwala, Advisor to the Sindh Chief Minister on Investment, announced at 'Diplomatic and Foreign Investment Award 2010' ceremony here on Saturday. The ceremony on 'The role of foreign investors and diplomats in the economic development of Pakistan' was organised by Diplomatic Call International. Zubair said that the Kingho Group's proposed power generation project from Thar coal would have capacity to produce 10,000 mw electricity by year 2020. He said that the present government has devised a business-friendly investment policy to attract more foreign investors in various sectors of the economy. "Sindh province is the most resilient and attractive investment destination for international and local investors", he said, adding that Karachi, having large agricultural, industrial and aqua culture base as well as emerging opportunities in energy sector, provides the province with unmatched competitive advantage to attract investment. In order to capitalise on this competitive advantage, he said, Sindh Board of Investment (SBI) has been established to strengthen business-friendly environment in the province with efficient mechanisms of governance to enhance comfort level of the investors by acting as a bridge between the government and the business community. Engr M A Jabbar, a former chairman of Site Association of Industry (SAI), said that diplomats are playing an important role for bringing foreign investment and they are contributing in the economic development of Pakistan. "There is a reason to encourage investors and sensitise diplomats to play their role in considering and promoting Pakistan as the appropriate place for more investments due to ample opportunities including strategic location to enhance business in various sectors especially in IT, health and housing projects", he said. Abdul Qadir Patel, MNA and chairman of NA Standing Committee on Interior, said that the government is determined to protect life, property and investment of the foreign investors and their investments are fully protected under the law. Muhammad Farooq Afzal, Chairman of Pak-Russia Business Council, said that foreign investors have been playing a pivotal role in the economic development of Pakistan. They are also providing strong support to social development sector as they are making huge grants to improve human and social indicators. He said that the objectives of the award ceremony were to give confidence to foreign investors by recognising the role of multinational companies, to recognise the role of foreign diplomats in the development of Pakistan, to build a softer image of Pakistan and to provide a platform to the government and private sector to discuss issues related to foreign investment. Shahid Jawed Qureshi, President of Pakistan-Malaysia Friendship Association; Muhammad Asif Haroon, General Secretary of Diplomatic Forum, and others also spoke on the occasion. Later awards were given to top 25 companies who invested more in Pakistan last five years. The winner companies included Bank Al Falah, Barclays Bank plc, Byco Petroleum Pakistan, BP Pakistan Exploration and Production, Coca Cola Beverages Pakistan, ENI Pakistan, Habib Metropolitan Bank, Karachi Electric Supply Company, Lakson Tobacco Company, Makro Habib Pakistan, Metro Cash and Carry Pakistan, NIB Bank, Pak Oman Investment Company, Pak Brunei Investment Company, Pak China Investment Company, Pakistan Mobile Communications Limited, Premier Oil Pakistan Holdings B V, Faisal Bank, Shell Development and Offshore BV, Standard Chartered Bank, Telenor Pakistan, Tethyan Copper Company Pakistan, Tetra Pak Pakistan, Uch Power and Warid Telecom. In the award winner consuls general, Platinum Trade and Investment Award conferred to the Consuls General of USA, UK, UAE and the Netherlands. Diamond Trade and Investment Award was conferred on the consuls general of Malaysia, China and Switzerland. Gold Trade and Investment Award conferred to Japan, Germany, Kuwait and Oman while the Diplomatic Relation Trade and Investment Award was conferred on consuls general of Iran, France, Turkey, Bangladesh, Korea, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Sri Lanka, Russian Federation, Thailand, Afghanistan, Italy, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2011

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1,100mw Kohala hydel project: Wapda, AJK Prime Minister lock horns

ISLAMABAD (May 09, 2011) : The Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) and Azad Kashmir Prime Minister have reportedly locked horns over the 1100 mw Kohala hydropower project, sources told Business Recorder here on Sunday. Wapda and the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) are of the view that the project should be awarded on ICB, whereas the PPIB, the AJK Prime Minister and the Law Ministry argue that PPRA Rules are not applied in AJK. Hence, the project should be awarded to China International Water and Electric Corporation (CWE), the sources added. The issue was placed before the Economic Co-ordination Committee of the Cabinet on May 7, 2011, but the decision was deferred because Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani wanted to go through the details of the entire issue. Sources said that the ECC on October 15, 2010, had considered a summary submitted by the Ministry of Water & Power in relation to development of 1100 mw Kohala Hydropower Project in Azad Jammu & Kashmir. After due deliberation, the ECC constituted a committee comprising of Minister for Water and Power, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Secretary Finance, Secretary Economic Affairs Division, Secretary Water & Power and Managing Director of PPIB with the following Terms of Reference (ToRs): (i) to examine all matters related to 1100 mw Kohala Hydro Power Project and submit a way forward for its further implementation keeping in view the commitments of Chinese firm; (ii) for streamlining the development and implementation of the much-needed hydropower projects in private sector, and to attract foreign investment and; (iii) suggest a simplified mechanism for fast track induction of cheaper hydropower in the national grid. Accordingly, two meetings of the committee were held on November 23, 2010 and January 15, 2011, wherein legal issues pertaining to development of the project in the light of the commitments made by the Government of Pakistan (GoP) with CWE under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of October 17, 2008 and legal framework applicable to the project were discussed threadbare. It was decided in the meeting that a reference be sent to Ministry of Finance regarding applicability of Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) Rules to the Project; and PPIB to solicit feedback from the sponsor regarding option of first right of refusal in International Competitive Bidding (ICB). Pursuant to the directions of the committee, a reference regarding applicability of PPRA Rules was sent to Cabinet as custodian of Public Procurement Regulatory Authority/PPRA) and Law Justice and Human Rights Divisions. The Law Division found correct the viewpoint of PPIB and concurred with the opinion that the project is not hit by the PPRA Rules 2004. However, the Cabinet Division (PPRA), contrary to the viewpoint of Law Division, said that PPRA rules 2004 are applicable on the subject matter. PPIB also requested the sponsor for its views on 'first right of refusal'. In response, the sponsor through its letter of January 22, 2011 stated that; (i) the MoU, enabling foreign private sector investment in the project, has een duly approved by the Cabinet; (ii) due recognition and acknowledgement has been accorded by GoP to CWE as the sponsor of the project; and (iii) in the event of any re-determination of sponsors for the project through ICB, the sponsor is likely to be aggrieved and suffer consequential loss. Therefore, the sponsor strongly insists that in light of the commitments made by the GoP under the MoU, the project is approved for further implementation at the earliest through CWE. Wapda through its letters of June 8 and November 18, 2010, conveyed that in December 2005, on Wapda 's request for development of the project in public sector was approved by the GoAJK and subsequently approved by the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) on August 23, 2006. Accordingly, Wapda had completed feasibility studies of the project and, detailed engineering design and tender documents by November 2009. Wapda further contended that approval of Ecnec was based on approval of Government of AJK permitting it to develop the project in public sector and there was a legal requirement for de novo approval from the Government of AJK. Moreover, PPRA Rules were applicable since the feasibility studies and detailed engineering design and tender documents were fully financed out of public funds. In addition to that, Wapda had also assessed that the cost of the project worked out by the sponsor was higher by $ 344.32 million than cost estimations by Wapda. Therefore, awarding of project to CWE was a violation of PPRA act; so the project be offered through International competitive bidding (ICB). Conversely, the PPIB is of the view that since the project is being implemented on 'Build, Own, Operate and Transfer' (BOOT) mode in the private sector within the territorial jurisdiction of AJK, pursuant to the AJK interim Constitution 1974, the AJK Council has the exclusive competence, powers and jurisdiction to exercise 'Executive Authority' in relation to the subject of electricity. Accordingly, the AJK Council through its letter dated 31st July 2009 approved the development of the Project through PPIB in accordance with the terms of the MoU. As far as the applicability of PPRA Rules is concerned, PPIB is of the opinion that such Rules are not applicable on the following grounds; (i) project is being implemented in the territories of AJK under the laws of AJK wherein the AJK Council has exclusive territorial, constitutional and legal rights, competence and jurisdiction; (ii) project is not financed either wholly or partly out of 'public funds' (as such term is defined in PPRA Ordinance 2002) and therefore PPRA Rules are not applicable as no taxpayers' money or guarantees are involved for its financing and any costs incurred by Wapda in carrying out the feasibility studies and the detailed engineering, design and tender documents shall be reimbursed by the sponsor; (iii) project is to be entirely funded (after financial and technical due diligence of project costs carried out by Nepra on touchstone of economic procurement and prudence of costs) through project financing/private capital on non-recourse basis by project company with the participation of international investors and lenders; and or (iv) implementation of the project through CWE is pursuant to a binding and enforceable MoU and being an international obligation or commitment of the GoP provides primacy to such obligations or commitments if in conflict with the PPRA Rules as recognised by Section 5 thereunder. It is pertinent to add here that the former Prime Minister of AJ&K in a letter addressed to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on July 5, 2010 had conveyed that :- "In light of the above situation, it is proposed that the subject project may be withdrawn from private sector as it was handed over to private sector in contravention of Power Policy 2002 and Wapda should be authorised to develop this project with the collaboration of Government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir." Most recently, the Prime Minister of AJ&K wrote another letter to Prime Minister Gilani, saying that keeping in view the supreme national interests, the Go AJ&K is issuing letter of support (LoS) to CWE, who have given firm commitment to bring $2.5 billion to development 1100 MW Kohala hydropower project in the soonest possible time to meet energy shortfalls in the country". The Ministry of Water and Power has submitted two options to the ECC, as follows: (i) the decision of the AJ&K Council may be concurred for development of 1100 MW Kohala Hydropower Project under policy for power generation 2002 as per opinion given by Ministry of Law Justice and Human Rights and; (ii) or the project may be awarded as per PPRA rules 2004.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2011

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Uch Power Project gains financial closing

ISLAMABAD (May 08, 2011) : Uch Power Project-II of 375 MW (gross 404 MW) which will attract $500 million foreign investment has achieved financial closing one month later than the timeline agreed with the government. The combined cycle gas turbine project will be established near Dera Murad Jamali, District Nasirabad, Balochistan, and is based on indigenous low btu gas from Uch gas field. On March 3, 2010, Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) and Uch-II Power (Private) Limited, an affiliate of Uch Power (Pvt) Limited, signed a Letter of Support (LoS) for a 404 MW (gross) capacity power project Upon financial closing, PPIB also issued sovereign guarantee on behalf of the Government of Pakistan (GoP) in favour of project company to secure the payment obligations of power purchaser. Official sources told Business Recorder that PPIB Board in its meeting in April, presided over by the Minister for Water and Power, Naveed Qamar granted relaxation of one month to the project. According to the rules PPIB imposes penalty on the project for not achieving financial close as per the agreement. The project is expected to be commissioned by December, 2013. The OGDCL will supply gas to the project from low btu Uch gas field under a long term Gas Supply Agreement (GSA). The electric power generated from the project will be sold to NTDC under a 25 year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). The project will bring foreign investment of around $500 million to the country. The project is being financed through debt equity ratio of 75:25. The International Power UK which is a blue chip international investor with vast experience of developing power projects around the world is main sponsor of the project. The sponsors are investing $124 million through equity. Debt financing of $371 million for the project would be provided by foreign lenders including (i) Asian Development Bank (ADB); (ii) International Finance Corporation (IFC); (iii) Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and (iv) Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM). Financial closing of a large IPP requiring investment of around $500 million demonstrates the confidence of international investors and lenders in the economy and power sector. According to an official statement, in view of the prevailing power shortage and increasing dependence on imported fuel oil, the Uch-II power project based on indigenous low btu gas is very important from energy security and economic perspective. "The project will not only help in curtailing the present power shortage but also provide cheap electricity to the consumers and save precious foreign exchange in oil imports. In addition, the project will also bring revenue generation for OGDCL as the low btu gas cannot be injected to national gas pipeline system and could not be used for any other purpose except power generation," the statement added. The project located in remote and under-developed area of Balochistan, will work as a catalyst for socio-economic uplift of the area. This will generate economic activities and create employment opportunities for the people of the area. The Project will also entail improvement of the basic infrastructure in the vicinity and will be helpful in poverty alleviation of the people of the remote area. The implementation of Project shows the seriousness of Government of Pakistan to develop Balochistan and eliminate the hardships of the people, sources maintained. PPIB with proven track record of successful induction of 25 Independent Power Producers (IPPs) totalling around 6500 MW capacity with investment of around $7 billion has achieved another major milestone with the financial closing of its largest gas based IPP under the current policy of government for private power projects.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2011

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1966 megawatts power to be added to national grid by December, Senate informed

Already hit by 4500-5000 megawatts shortfall, the government has decided to add more than 1966 megawatts to the system by December this year to overcome electricity load shedding. The Minister for Water and Power, Naveed Qamar, in a written reply informed the Senate on Friday that power project of 2009 mw has already been added to the system since June 2008 and projects of more than 1966 mw are being added through Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) in private/public sector, which will be completed by December 2011, and about 1541 mw during the next three years. He said that work was underway on 11 mw hydel power projects in various parts of the country under long-term strategy and all of these projects are expected to be completed by 2017. He said these projects, on completion, would generate over 8000 mw electricity. He said that besides new projects, work was also underway on feasibility to expand Tarbela dam hydel power project. The Minister told the House that India was contemplating construction of hydropower projects on western Rivers. "India has so far constructed total 30 hydroelectric projects on our western rivers (Indus, Jhelum and Chenab) since the Indus Waters Treaty 1960," he added. He said that the government was making concerted efforts to enhance hydel and thermal power generation to overcome electricity load shedding at the earliest. Qamar said that a five-member delegation is scheduled to hold meeting with Tavanir of Iran in Tehran soon. The agenda includes enhancement of power from 39 mw to 70 mw for Makran, Balochistan, he added. He further said that power demand of Makran is up to 48 mw and currently 39 mw power is being imported from Iran. He informed the House that the federal government has provided special funds to complete 31 irrigation and water projects in Sindh province to ensure improved water supply for irrigation and drinking purpose.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2011

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Energy cooperation Pakistan and Kuwait set to sign MoU

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Kuwait will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on energy cooperation, under which Kuwait will extend financial and technical assistance for two major gas import initiatives – Iran-Pakistan (IP) and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline projects. The MoU will be signed during the official visit of President Asif Ali Zardari to Kuwait beginning May 7. Pakistan is currently importing oil from Kuwait on 60-day deferred payments. Pakistan had earlier required extension in oil import on the deferred payment facility from 60 to 90 days but Kuwait declined the request. Sources said the petroleum ministry had no proposal during the president’s visit to seek extension in oil imports on deferred payment and that it had already discussed with the Kuwaiti government financing for IP and TAPI gas pipeline projects. Under the MoU, Kuwait will also extend cooperation with the Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP) and will invest in oil and gas sectors to increase output to meet domestic requirements of Pakistan. Pakistan has signed Gas Sales Purchase Agreement (GSPA) with Iran for the IP pipeline and awarded a consultancy contract to Germany-based firm ILF, which would work with the National Engineering Services of Pakistan (Nespak). The consultancy contract has been divided into two phases, costing $55 million. Iran has laid a 900-kilometre pipeline and has completed a survey to lay pipeline on the remaining 250 km to connect with Pakistan’s border. Pakistan will lay a 785km pipeline that would cost $1.24 billion. Under the IP project, 750 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) of gas will be imported from Iran to generate power. Under the TAPI gas pipeline, 3.2 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of gas will be imported from Turkmenistan – which will be shared by Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. The project is estimated to cost $7.6 billion. All participating countries are scheduled to meet in Afghanistan on May 13-14 to resolve the issue of gas pricing and finalise GSPA which will be signed by July 31.

Copyright The Express Tribune, 2011

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Uzbekistan offers electricity on reasonable rates

Ambassador of Uzbekistan, Oybek Arif Usmanov here on Wednesday said that his country was ready for providing electricity to Pakistan via Peshawar on very reasonable rates. He said that it would also help Pakistan for seeking access to surplus Central Asian electricity to overcome energy shortages. While talking to a delegation of Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), he said that Uzbekistan was already providing power to Afghanistan. He further said that they were looking forward for further enhanced exchange of business delegation and increased co-operation in sectors like textiles, leather, cotton, pharmaceutical and agriculture. Uzbekistan is the world's second largest cotton exporter and sixth largest cotton producer, it can share expertise on insect-resistant cotton and anti-cotton virus technology, he added. At the occasion head of FPCCI delegation Raza Khan lauded the reform process in Uzbekistan and demanded that it should offer electricity on most affordable rates so that the economy can be bailed out without burdening other sectors. He said that cargo transportation, transit, telecom, IT and public health engineering are some sectors that need attention of the policy makers of both countries. Malik Sohail praised the favourable business conditions, stable gold and currency reserves and steps for protection of investors as well as investments. He said that Uzbekistan should offer extra tax breaks for Pakistani investors.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2011

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