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News Headlines for the month of
MARCH 2012

ABF for developing energy resources

The American Business Forum (ABF) has urged the government to facilitate investment in renewable energy projects. ABF President Salim Ghauri, in a statement on Thursday, said the widening demand-supply gap was posing a major challenge to the country's economy, as availability of electricity was vital for economic growth and development. He said that long power outages were badly affecting industrial growth and it was a high time to develop all available energy generating resources including hydel, thermal and wind. He said that the government could put the country's economy back on track by attracting international lenders towards hydel and wind generation projects. He appreciated the Sindh Board of Investment for expediting process for nine fast track wind power projects by allotting 347,434 acres of land under Renewable Energy Policy 2006.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2012

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South Korean company to invest in power project

A leading South Korean Company K-Water will invest in different hydel projects in Pakistan to generate around 3000MW electricity to help in resolving energy crisis. This was disclosed by Chairman Korean Water Resources Corporation known as K-Water Kim Kuen Ho while meeting with Prime Minister Gilani on Wednesday. Chairman Board of Investment Saleem Mandviwala was also present in the meeting. Prime Minister Gilani congratulated K-Water Chairman for forming consortium with other Korean companies for the implementation of various hydro projects in Pakistan. Other three important Korean companies are Daewoo Engineering and Construction and Sambu Construction Company have made Star Hydro Power Limited to invest in various energy projects in Pakistan.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2012

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Energy-starved country sees the light on solar power

From mosques, to homes and streets, Pakistanis are increasingly seeing the light and realising that year-round sun may be a cheap if partial answer to an enormous energy crisis. "It's the best thing I bought this winter," says Sardar Azam, a former civil servant retired to a river-side home in Pakistani-administered Kashmir, showing off his water-heating solar geyser installed on the terrace. "The biggest advantage is that you spend money once and it runs on sunlight which is free," Azam added. Pakistan needs to produce 16,000 megawatts of electricity a day but only manages 13,000 megawatts, according to the Pakistan Electric Power Company. The shortfall means that millions endure electricity cuts for up to 16 hours a day, leaving them freezing in winter and sweltering in summer while hitting industry hard, exacerbating a slow-burn recession. "I think all our friends are encouraged to understand the real energy crisis that is in Pakistan. We can't afford to be selective of where we receive our energy supply from," Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said this month. At the time, she was referring to Pakistan's determination to build a pipeline and import gas from Iran, regardless of US threats of sanctions, but the message was clear: on the energy front, Pakistan needs any help it can get. Arif Allaudin, who heads the Alternate Energy Development Board, would like to see more of that help coming from renewable sources, saying there was a 2.4 million megawatt potential for solar energy alone in Pakistan. Niaz Ahmed Kathia, director of private company Alternate Energy Systems, said abundant and free sunshine was the answer to Pakistan's energy woes. "Energy is our biggest issue, more than terrorism, and if we replace our one million tubewell pumps with solar ones, we can save 7,000 megawatts," Kathia told AFP at the demonstration of a solar well in the capital. The majority of Pakistan's tubewell pumps, which pump out underground water, run on the strained national grid or on diesel power. There is no pretence that solar power is the only answer, but this month the prime minister ordered the government to provide solar electricity in remote villages far from the national grid. The government described renewable energy as the "investor's choice" and said the private sector has offered to produce 1,500 megawatts a day.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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PCRET to install 368 biogas plants in rural areas

Pakistan Council of Renewable Energy Technologies (PCRET) will install 368 Biogas plants in different rural areas by the June 2012 under the project "Development and Promotion of Biogas Technology for meeting domestic fuel needs of rural areas and production of Biocfertilizer". This project was launched in 2008 through which 2500 family size Biogas plants are to be installed in the country, out of these 2132 plants have been installed and the remaining will be installed by end of financial year 2011-12.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2012

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World Bank approves $1 billion to boost power

The World Bank on Tuesday approved a $1 billion loan to Pakistan to boost electricity supply and improve farm irrigation methods, the global development lender said. The bank said $840 million of the loan will help boost capacity at the Tarbela hydro power project, north-west of Islamabad, by 1,410 megawatts. The project would shift capacity away from expensive imported fuel oil to low-cost hydropower, it added. "It will help Pakistan reduce the gap between supply and demand of electricity by maximising the benefits of existing infrastructure of Tarbela Dam without requiring any land acquisition or relocation" of people, said Rachid Benmessaoud, World Bank country director for Pakistan. The remainder of the funding, about $250 million, will improve irrigation on 120,000 acres of land in Punjab and cut wasteful water use, the Washington-based institution said. About 17,500 families in Punjab would directly benefit from the new irrigation systems, which would increase crop yields and promote water conservation, it added. Press release adds: The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors approved two projects totalling $1.09 billion aimed at supporting Pakistan's growth agenda for reducing poverty. The Tarbela IV Extension Hydro-power Project will add power generation capacity of 1,410 megawatts, and the Punjab Irrigated Agriculture Productivity Improvement Project is geared toward maximising water use efficiency for increased yield per unit of water. According to a press release of the World Bank (WB) issued here on Wednesday, the availability of electricity is of crucial importance for the economic growth and development of Pakistan. Widespread load shedding is disrupting the lives of ordinary Pakistanis and the economic impact of energy shortages is estimated at upward of 2 percent of GDP. By developing its vast hydropower potential - of which only 15% has been developed - Pakistan can significantly reverse the situation and reduce the cost of energy supply mix. The US $840 million Tarbela IV Extension Hydropower Project will use the existing dam, tunnel, roads and transmission line for generating additional electricity in summer months when demand for electricity and river flows are high. "The Tarbela IV Hydropower Project will enhance Pakistan's energy security by adding low-carbon, least-cost and renewable hydel power to its energy portfolio, said Rachid Benmessaoud, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan. "The beauty of this project is that it will help Pakistan reduce the gap between supply and demand of electricity by maximising the benefits of existing infrastructure of Tarbela Dam without requiring any land acquisition or relocation of population. The direct beneficiaries will be millions of energy users, including industry, households and farmers who would get more electricity at a lower cost and suffer fewer blackouts." The challenges in the water sector are equally daunting. Pakistan's water availability is shrinking while demand is increasing. Vast amounts of water are lost due to deteriorating watercourses and wasteful on-farm water use. Improved water use efficiency and new technology that promotes crop diversification will be critical going forward. The $250 million Punjab Irrigated Agriculture Productivity Improvement Program Project is aimed at getting maximum productivity out of every drop of irrigation water by weaning farmers away from the traditional and wasteful flood irrigation to more modern methods like drip and sprinkler irrigation systems, which in turn will encourage crop diversification. "High efficiency systems to be installed over 120,000 acres of irrigated lands in Punjab would promote water conservation and increase crop yields", said Masood Ahmad, World Bank's Lead Water Specialist. "This would have demonstrative effect and local industry would develop for installation of such systems as it happened in case of ground water development over the last three decades after installation of groundwater wells by the Government for controlling water logging and salinity." Tarbela IV Extension Hydropower Project includes US $400 million loan from the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). It is a fixed spread loan with a maturity of 21 years, including a grace period of 6 years. The remaining $440 million of Tarbela Project and US $250 million for Punjab Irrigated Agriculture Productivity Improvement Project are credits from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank's concessionary lending arm. These carry a 0.75 pc service charge, and 1.25 percent interest rate, 5 years of grace period and a maturity of 25 years.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2012

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Sindh chief minister invites Chinese businesspeople to invest in energy projects

Chinese Ambassador Liu Jian on Tuesday has assured the Sindh government that various companies and firms of China will be asked to come ahead and invest in projects of Zulfikarabad City, Thar Coal and energy projects. This he said during a meeting with Sindh Chief Minister Seyd Qaim Ali Shah and others at Chief Minister's House. Five-member Chinese delegation led by Chinese Ambassador Liu Jian called on Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah at C M House. Senior Minister for Education Pir Mazharul Haq, Consul General of China at Karachi Zhang Jianxin, Vice Consul General of China at Karachi Pan Qing jiang, Counsellor Zhou Zhen Cheng, Third Secretary Tang Xin, Sindh Finance Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, Managing Director Zulfikarabad General Iftekhar Ahmed (Retd), Chief Secretary Sindh Raja Muhammad Abbas, Advisor for Special Projects Initiative Government of Sindh Fazalur Rehman, Secretary Education Sindh Muhammad Siddique Memon, Secretary General PPP Sindh Mr Taj Haider, Consultant Chinese Project Faiz Khoso, Secretary to C.M Sindh Agha Jan Akhter and others were present on the occasion. Syed Qaim Ali Shah welcomed the Chinese delegation and said that Pakistan and China have cordial relations and both countries have proved to be not only the neighbouring countries but also to be friends at even tough times. He said that it was Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who strengthened the bilateral relations with China and brought both countries nearer to each other. We want relations with China not only on political but also on economic and education lines, he added. Chief Minister invited investors of China to come forward and have investment in various projects of Sindh province including Thar Coal and energy project; ZulfiKarabad Development Project, Rehabilitation of Sukkur Barrage and other components. He further said that special economic zone is being developed near Karachi while basic infrastructure and facilities will be provided to investors for Zulfikarabad City project. The Managing Director Zulfikarabad Development Authority, General Iftekhar Ahmed (Retd) and Advisor for Special initiatives (Government of Sindh) Fazalur Rehman informed that a new modern city has been proposed in Thatta District comprising of 1.3 million acre of land, spread over about 3500 square K.MS near the coast. The meeting was informed that preliminary survey and initial master plan has already been prepared while after further discussion, consultations and deliberations, a consolidated master plan will be envisaged with all facilities available there. The meeting was informed that it will be a multiple project with centres of learning, University, Centre of I.T, Industrial Units, Residential modalities are being finalised, and actual structure will come up when a complete Master Plan comes up. It was further informed that once proposals are received, the Board of Investment will be inducted in the project, and public-private partnership Board will initiate accordingly where one- window operational service will be provided. Secretary Education Muhammad Siddique Memon informed the meeting that government of Sindh has approved a policy to introduce Chinese language in educational system of the province of Sindh, and Chinese language will be introduced from class VI to VIII in the first phase as non-credit subject. Incentives will be given to the students such as stipends, scholarships, recreational trips, distribution of free books etc. It will be introduced from class IX to XII, while Chinese language as subject will also be added/introduced at University level, and research work could be stated with the passage of time, as well as public and private universities would be requested to establish Chinese language faculty. Besides, initially teaching of Chinese language will be started in public and private centre schools in each district. The resource persons will train the Master Trainers and books will be printed arranged by Sindh Text Book Board. He said that conscious centres will be supported and scholarships will be provided to intending learners of Chinese Language. Chief Secretary Sindh Raja Muhammad Abbas General Secretary PPP Sindh Taj Haider and others also spoke on the occasion. Chief Minister Sindh and Ambassador of China for Pakistan also exchanged traditional gifts.-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2012

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Work on hydropower projects in Swat to begin next month: chief minister

Chief Minister, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Ameeer Haider Khan Hoti has said that the provincial government is going to start work on two hydropower generation projects in Swat next month while foundation stone of two more such schemes with one each in Swat and Chitral will be laid till June this year. Addressing a public meeting held in connection with launching work on Lund Khwar-Machai Branch Road in Lund Khawar, district Mardan, he said that the completion of the new hydropower projects will produce 2000 mega watt more electricity, which will not only arrest load shedding, but will also generate billions of rupees resources for the province. The road is named after old Khudai Khidmatgar Movement worker Zarin Khan that will cost Rs 100 million and will complete in a period of one year. District President, ANP Farooq Akram Khan presided the meeting while those present were included Engineer Abbas Khan, Ayub Yusufzai, Israr Hussein, Sabz Ali Khan, Nisar-ul-Haq, Haq Nawaz Khattak, Rehmat Bacha, Syed Gohar Shah Bacha, Javed, Gul Hameed Khan, Jehanzeb Khan and Haji Subhan Khan. The CM said that since coming to power, the provincial government beside restoration of peace has initiated development process in all corners of the province. He said that bringing backward rural areas at par with developed areas is the top priority of the government and had initiated revolutionary measures in this regard. He said that the present government had brought record 80 percent increase in the annual development programme (ADP) and the programme of current financial year is historically huge. He said before the establishment of ANP government, the income of the province from oil and gas was merely Rs 350 million to Rs 400 million, which now reached to Rs 16 billion. He said that the provincial government is utilising surplus resources on enabling the poor unemployed people in getting honourable employment and launched Rs 2 billion Bacha Khan Khpal Rozgar Scheme and Rs 1.3 billion Hunarmond Scheme for skilled youth. He said private sector schools will be utilised for provision of free education in all those union councils that lacking public sector boys and girls schools and the provincial government will bear the fees of the children. The CM said that Mardan is second largest district of KP, but in past it was deprived of its due right, saying the present provincial government in proportion to population had given it is due right. However, he said that it was not given on the cost of any other district.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2012

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Opportunities in energy sector attracting foreign investors

Pakistan is fast attaining the status of Business Opportunity Zone (BOZ) for potential foreign investors, as it is not only the energy sector where investments can be made but huge untapped mineral resources worth trillions of dollar also a great attraction for foreign investors. This was stated by President LCCI Irfan Qaiser Sheikh. He was talking to Canadian Asia division Analyst Christopher Martin, First Secretary Canadian High Commission John Gosal and Director Asia division Elyas Irfani, here on Saturday. He said that the agriculture sector also offers a huge potential particularly any investment made in livestock and dairy sectors is bound to make big gains. He said that economic indicators were fast turning positive, law and order situation was also improving while investment climate was picking up with every passing day. The availability of cheaper skilled and unskilled labour, low priced land as compared to other regional countries and infrastructure of international standards would definitely create a win-win situation for global investors. Sheikh urged the Canadian officials to send a business delegation to Pakistan so that it could have firsthand knowledge about the available opportunities. LCCI was also planning a sector-specific delegation to Canada in coming months, he added. Talking about the MFN status to India, the LCCI President said that Pakistan and India have much more to gain from improved bilateral trade. But the caveat is that the trade between the two countries is hassle-free, barrier-less and removed from historical baggage. In presence of core issues between the two countries and Indian NTBs, the desired economic results would be a day dream. Pakistan government would have to ensure a level playing field. Quoting an example of electricity tariff, he said how industry could remain competitive at high price of electricity when in India, for industry it is 10.5 cents, in Bangladesh 10.75 cents and Sri Lanka it is 10.75 cent. In Pakistan tariff is already 15 cents meaning that 45 per cent higher as compared to the other states of the region. The president LCCI made it clear that Pakistan government would have to address the concerns of the local manufacturers as a number of sectors including pharmaceutical, automobile, motorcycle, petrochemical, auto parts, sugar, textile, cooking oil and ghee industries have genuine reservations. Talking about the gas shortage, Sheikh said that the completion of Iran-Pakistan Gas pipeline project and the establishment LNG terminals in Karachi in another two to three years down the line would be a good breakthrough. He said at present, the official trade between the two countries is far below the true potential. Most of the Pakistan-India trade takes place via third countries, like Dubai. Transportation and communication links are far from being efficient. Pakistan and India together form the most populous and contiguous consumer market of world. Over 1.4 billion people or around 86 percent of South Asian population lives in these two countries. Two economies represent almost 95 percent of the South Asian GDP. The combined world trade of both countries stands at $682 billion while their current official bilateral trade is still below $2 billion. India exported over $251 worth of goods and service in 2011. Imports into India increased to $370 billion last year. The value of Pakistan's international trade is less than one tenth of India's global trade. Pakistan's exports increased to $25 billion first time in 2011. Imports into Pakistan increased to over $35 billion last year.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2012

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South Korea to help reduce energy shortfall

The Korean Ambassador to Pakistan Choongjoo Choi said on Friday that South Korea to provide full support to Pakistan to overcome energy crisis that has crippled the entire trade and industry in Pakistan. He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Byung Hoon Sung, Director, Korea Business Center (KOTRA) was also present. Choi said that the Korean government was well aware of the challenges being faced by the Pakistan's economy and would extend every possible co-operation at the earliest. He expressed the optimism that the volume of trade between Pakistan and South Korea was bound to increase as both the governments were taking measures to get desired results. He said that the unavailability of required trade-related information was the biggest hurdle in the way of South Korean investment in Pakistan. He admitted that South Korean investment in Pakistan was very little. Choi while identifying a number of areas for mutual co-operation said that there was a need for expertise-sharing as both the countries have a lot to learn from each other. He said that there was a big potential in SME sector therefore Pakistani business community could avail opportunities in this particular area. He urged the LCCI to arrange a business delegation to South Korea so that Pakistani businessmen could have first-hand knowledge about opportunities there. The President LCCI Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that Pakistan takes great pride in the fact that South Korea was an important trading partner and appreciated and acknowledged the economic growth and industrial development in South Korea in the last 25 years. He said that South Korea was reckoned among the 15 largest economies of the world having surplus balance of trade exported to the tune of $468 billion in 2010. It is indeed a role model for developing economies like Pakistan. Pakistan and Korea were not new to each other and did well through joint ventures in various fields like telecommunications, transportation, infrastructure, electronics, chemical industry, automobiles industry and etc. He said that Pakistan has a huge potential for Korean companies particularly for foreign investment in sectors like dairy, livestock, information technology, petrochemicals and electronics. Moreover, in the outskirts of Lahore, the prices of per acre agriculture land were cheaper as compared to our regional countries like India, Bangladesh and etc. By transfer of know-how and technology, both Pakistan and Korea could benefit because in Pakistan, skilled and semi-skilled manpower was available in abundance.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2012

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Coal conversion agreement: Chinese firm, KESC hold joint session

Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) and Bright Eagle Enterprises held their first joint session on Thursday to kick off the Joint Development Agreement for the conversion of KESC's 1,260MW Bin Qasim Power Station from residual fuel oil (RFO) fired to coal fired. The joint session was attended by a visiting 14-member high level delegation from Bright Eagle Enterprises, China Resource Power and China National Technical Import and Export Corporation, which aimed at setting up high level points to drive the project forward. The delegation under the leadership of Chen Ping, Chairman of Bright Eagle Enterprises, a company sponsored by Chinese and Korean investors that would be funding conversion of BQPS-I to coal according to the Joint Development Agreement signed last month, also visited the BQPS site to obtain a tangible perspective on this significant undertaking by KESC. The visiting delegation and KESC management had a productive dialogue aimed at strengthening the relationship between the partners and setting concrete milestones to achieve the desired goals. Both sides reiterated that the prospect of Pakistan-China friendship should be translated into joint ventures to undertake and complete projects, which also serves the larger public interests. Besides holding the position of Chairman of BEEGL, the delegation leader Chen Ping also serves as the Chairman of Sun TV Hong Kong and of Tidetime Group. The dignitaries also included Wang Yujun, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of China Resource Power, and LU Zhikang, Marketing Director of China National Technical Import and Export Corporation. For the purpose of setting the Joint Development Agreement in motion, Bright Eagle Enterprises has teamed up with leading energy companies from China, namely China Resources Power, and China National Technical Import and Export Corporation. China Resources Power, with a current installed capacity of 20,000MW, largely coal fired, is a subsidiary of China Resources Co Ltd, one of the conglomerates in Hong Kong and mainland China whose core businesses cover retail, power, breweries, real estate, food, medicine, textiles, chemical products and gas compressors, among other things. China National Technical Import and Export Corporation (CNTIC) is a state-owned foreign trade corporation, specialising in import and export of technologies and complete sets of equipment. The conversion project entails replacement of the existing 6 x 210MW RFO boilers with coal boilers as well as construction of coal and ash handling facilities in different phases and is the first of its kind in Pakistan. KESC is already in the progression of finalising its feasibility study through a reputed US-based consultant, 'Knight Piesold', having extensive world-wide experience in coal based projects.-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2012

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Work on solar energy gadgets initiated, National Assembly told

The National Assembly was informed on Thursday that keeping in view the energy shortfall, work on manufacturing of solar energy gadgets including solar streets lights, water heaters and fans, has been initiated. Minister for Science and Technology, Mir Changez Khan Jamali said National Institute of Electronics is also working on the design and development of LED lights to be illuminated through solar energy. Minister for Defence Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar said that more aircraft will be inducted into the fleet of Pakistan International Airlines to avoid flights delay and provide better travelling facilities to the passengers. Besides, he said the government is encouraging the private airlines and licenses to them are issued to them within forty days. Minister for Law, Moula Bakhsh Chandio told the House that credible and error free electoral rolls are being prepared in collaboration with Nadra which will be used for next general elections. He said the final electoral rolls are expected to be published by the end of May this year. The minister said eunuchs have been given the right to cast vote in the general elections. As many as 782 eunuchs have so far been enrolled in the electoral rolls. Replying to a question, the minister said the government has finalised the new petroleum policy to expedite oil and gas exploration. He said under this policy licenses will be issued for drilling of 150 blocks. He said the government is committed to Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project and work on it will be completed well before 2014. Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar said rules will be followed for the purchase of new aircraft for PIA. In the first phase, we will get aircraft from Boeing on lease while in the second phase aircraft will be procured from Airbus. To another question, he ruled that PIA has failed to follow Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) Rules, 2004 in letter and spirit saying that being a public sector corporation, the airline has followed PPRA Rules 2004 in letter and spirit. He said an agreement was signed with MIS Transworld Aviation (TWA) FZE, Jabel Ali Free Zone P.O Box 61002 United Arab Emirates for the provision of spare parts for aircraft. He said that it was not a fact that the firm failed to comply orders of PIAC. Initially, he said that PIAC issued purchase order of 2500 Nos. of different items, out of which approximately 500 Nos. of items have been received. The remaining items are expected to be received by the end of March. 2012, he added. He said that steps which are being taken by PIAC to make the deal transparent include international open competitive bidding as per PPRA Rules 36, tender was published in newspapers besides uploading tender documents on electronic media, proposal was discussed extensively at proper forum and central purchase committee recommended for PIA board of directors' approval and finally the board approved the proposal.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2012

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Plan prepared for generating 2,000 megawatts of electricity: Hoti

Chief Minister, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Ameer Haider Khan, said that the provincial government has prepared an action plan for generating 2,000 mega watt electricity, besides meeting supply and demand, to generate financial resource also for the province. Addressing oath-taking ceremony of the Khyber Union of Journalists (KhUJ) and Peshawar Press Club (PPC) here on Tuesday in Chief Minister's House, he said that work on Matalitan and Lawi projects will be started shortly. Those present on the occasion included Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Information Mian Iftikhar Hussein and Secretary Information Azmat Hani Orakzai while a large number of journalists attended the ceremony. He said that Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has huge natural resources, but these were not explored. He said that due to outdated mechanism of exploration instead of benefits, natural resources are being destroyed. He said that for establishing access to such areas they are constructing roads and providing modern equipment to minimise the loss. The Chief Minister said that beside it, the province also has potential in tourism, agriculture and water sectors and their utilisation could bring unprecedented increase in the revenue of the province. He said despite difficulties and challenges the province also offered huge opportunities. He added further that during last two years, the province has received additional resources in head of National Finance Commission (NFC) and net-profit on hydro-power generation. He said that the oil and gas sector of the province is also registering growth, saying during first year of the present government they received an amount of Rs 300 million to Rs 350 million and this year they will receive Rs 17 billion and consecutive increase is being made in it. However, he said that they will not limit themselves to only this and will utilise the resources to increase income of the province. The Chief Minister said that business management is the responsibility of private sector and of government and will establish Oil and Gas Development Company on the basis of Public-Private Partnership (PPP). He said that they are in touch with the Federal Government for the establishment of at least one oil refinery in any of the southern districts of the province. He said that for bringing increase in the proportion of hydro and other resources of power and maintaining consistency in the policies, they consulted all political parties to incorporate their proposals. He said that work on the short-term projects will be started soon. The Chief Minister said that the two self-employment schemes of Bacha Khan Khpal Rozgar Scheme and Hunarmand Rozgar Scheme, initiated by the provincial government, are transparent and clean from any political interference and ratio of the return is 99.5 percent.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2012

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Trial production in June: ground-breaking of first 50 megawatts wind power project performed

Pakistan can significantly reduce its oil import bill by shifting to renewable energy and can meet its rising industrial and domestic energy demands without burning fossil fuels in thermal power plants, the most expensive form of fuel. With the ground breaking of country's first 50 MW wind power project, Pakistan has taken first step in wind energy to bridge the current energy shortfall, which is adversely effecting the national economy. These views were expressed by Chief Executive and Managing Director of Fauji Fertiliser Company, Ltd (FFCL). General Malik Arif Hayat (Retd), while addressing the ground breaking ceremony of the 50 MW wind power project by FFC Energy Limited, a subsidiary of FFCL, at Jhampir, District Thatta here on Friday. The project is nearly 60 percent complete and will start its trial production in June 2012, which would be provided free of cost till the start of commercial operations in November 2012. He said that Pakistan was currently meeting 70 percent of its power need by burning fossil fuel despite the fact that soaring oil prices in the last few years had made it very difficult to economically generate power with current energy mix and consequently sustain economic growth. He emphasised that Pakistan needs to devise a multi-pronged strategy to deal with energy challenges. "We need to increase our power generation capacity, reduce cost of electricity and decrease dependence on fossil fuels, all at the same time," he added. Renewable energy resources like wind, solar, hydel and biomass are indigenous, abundant and green by their very nature. Moreover, project development time for wind and solar power projects is significantly lesser than coal or large hydel power projects, he added. On this occasion Project Director of FFCEL's wind energy project, Brigadier Tariq Izaz said that initially the tariff determined for the wind energy project will be perceived as exorbitant from point of view of end power consumer but analysing the situation in the large perspective, the growth of renewable resources of energy would surely help the national economy by slashing the import bill of furnace oil and subsiding the persisting problem of circular debt in the energy sector. He said the Gharo-Jhimpir-Keti Bandar wind corridor in which the FFCELís wind power project is being established carried a massive potential of energy production as feasible wind conditions are available here in consecutive nine months of the year except from a period from January to March. According to the Alternative Energy Development Board, the Gharo-Keti Bandar wind corridor spreading 60 kilometres along the coastline of Sindh and more than 170kms deep towards the land alone has a potential of approximately 50,000MW. As many as 75 countries around the globe are actively implementing this technology for commercial power generation and 22 of these have already crossed 1000 MW installed capacity. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory USA, Pakistan has a potential of 346 GW of electricity that can be generated only from wind and if only 10 percent of that ie 34GW is achieved in the next 15 - 20 years Pakistan will be on its way towards energy security. FFC's investment in the ongoing project of 50 MW is $135m. However, the company has committed to put up more wind farms with total capacity of 250 MW. In the current project the company is installing 33 wind turbines of 1.5 MW each out of which 8 turbines have already been installed and the remaining will be installed within next three months. The equipment is being procured from Nordex of Germany, a renowned company in the field of wind energy, which has over 4800 turbines with total output of 7500 MW installed in 34 countries of the world. Arif Aludin of AEDB and others also spoke on the occasion.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2012

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56 megawatts wind power project: Turkish Zorlu Enerji to start generation from December in Jhampir

Turkish wind power project of 56MW will start generation from December 2012 in the coastal area of Jhampir (Sindh), says a press release. This was told by a three member delegation of Zorlu Energy Group of Turkey led by Ibrahim Sinnon Ak, which called on the Federal Minister for Water and Power, Syed Naveed Qamar on Thursday. Sionnon said that financial close of 56MW wind project has been achieved besides other requirements and construction on site has begun. According to an official statement, Turkish investors are satisfied with the investment friendly environment of Pakistan and are planning to establish another wind project of 200MW work on, which has also been started. He appreciated the co-operation extended by the government of Pakistan, Ministry of Water and Power and AEDB for setting up of the wind farms in Pakistan to generate clean and cheaper energy. The delegation also requested minister for provision of land in the wind corridor in coastal area of Sindh for their 200MW wind project. Naveed Qamar appreciated the Turkish investment in the alternative energy projects and said that it will attract more investors in this sector. He said that the government has planned to generate 1500MW on fast track basis from wind energy and upfront tariff has been announced in this regard to facilitate the investors.-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2012

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Mahal hydropower project: Wapda, PPIB at loggerheads over execution control

Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) and Private Power Infrastructure Board (PPIB) are reportedly scuffling with each other to take execution control of 590MW Mahal hydropower project, jointly established at the boundary of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJ&K) and Punjab, well informed sources in PPIB told the Business Recorder. The sources said the controversy on Mahal between PPIB and Wapda was witnessed in the 90th meeting of PPIB Board presided over by the Minister for Water and Power Syed Naveed Qamar. The MD PPIB briefed the board that the 590 MW Mahal hydropower project is located on Jhelum River 4-5 km upstream of the confluence of Mahal River with the Jhelum River. The project is located on the dual boundary of AJK and Punjab. In 2008, the project was advertised by the Government of AJK for development through Public Private Partnership (PPP), however, the project could not move forward. The Board of Investment (BoI) convened a meeting in November 2009 which was attended by the Prime Minister of AJK and the Wapda team wherein it was decided that the project should be implemented by PPIB as an IPP, upon receipt of NoC from the AJK government. Later on, it was decided that project would be developed by Wapda through PPP mode with the concurrence of the AJK and Punjab governments. However, the modalities and a clear-cut road map to implement the project have not been finalised amongst the stakeholders, even after the passage of about one year. The MD PPIB asked the board that due to locational issues in the project and financial constraints in public sector, the PPIB should be allowed to develop Mahal project as an IPP in consultation with the governments of AJK and Punjab pursuant to article 157(1) of the Constitution of Pakistan. Chairman Wapda, Shakil Durrani stated that Wapda had the required expertise and was best-placed to implement the project in PPP mode. He did not agree with the proposal of processing the project in the private sector by PPIB. He revealed that the AJK government had already authorised Wapda to undertake the project on PPP basis with a share in equity being offered to the Punjab government. He argued that Wapda should be allowed to develop the Mahal project on PPP basis. Minister for Water and Power, Syed Naveed Qamar, who is also the chairman of the board inquired about the availability of funds with Wapda for equity contribution in Mahal and other projects being implemented by Wapda. Chairman Wapda stated that funding of projects was not a problem for Wapda. The representatives of the AJK and Punjab governments supported implementation of the project on fast track basis for which a firm timetable and the availability of resources needs to be ascertained. According to the PPIB, it accomplished a landmark achievement with the financial closing of its first hydro IPP. The 84 MW New Bong Escape Hydropower Project of Laraib Energy Limited (with major shareholding of HUBCO) achieved financial close on 4th December 2009. New Bong Hydropower Project is Pakistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir's first hydropower project in private sector and was termed "Project Finance Middle East Deal of the Year" by Euromoney in year 2009. The power project is located 7.5 km downstream of Mangla Dam, in Azad Jammu & Kashmir and is expected to be commissioned by May 2013. The New Bong Escape Hydropower Project assumes further importance because of its security package which has been prepared by PPIB, and it has been accepted by international investors and lenders and will now form the basis for future hydropower projects.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2012

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Pakistan begins importing 70 megawatts power from Iran

Pakistan has started importing 70MW electricity from Iran which is being supplied to Makran Division of Balochistan province. A spokesman of the Ministry of Water and Power said on Wednesday that after enhancing the transmission lines capacity, Iran has increased its power supply upto 70MW to Pakistan from February 26. Earlier, Pakistan was getting only 35MW from Iran. All the power, coming from Iran is being supplied to the Makran division include Gwadar Deep Sea port, Gwadar district, Turbat, Panjgur, Mand and other areas of the division. This 70MW will meet next five years electricity demand of the division. All the division has been made load shedding free area. Federal Minister for Water and Power, Syed Naveed Qamar has said the government was taking all steps to facilitate the people of Balochistan. On the directions of the President and the Prime Minister, special efforts were made to upgrade the transmission network within shortest possible time. He said that industrial, commercial and domestic consumers of the area would get benefit from this power of power and there would be also economic development. The spokesman further said that overall demand of the Makran division is 55MW in summer season and 40MW in winter season. The Quesco was doing 10 to 12 hours load management in all the areas of the division in summer to keep intact the system. All the areas now are load shedding free in the Division. The spokesman stated that two separate projects of import of power from Iran, 1000MW and 100MW were in the final stages and construction of transmission would be started as early as possible.-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2012

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TAPI gas pipeline: final round of talks in Kabul on 19 April

Final round of talks among the four participating counties of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project would be held in Kabul on April 19 to finalise the structure of the much-needed energy project for India and Pakistan. Federal Secretary Petroleum Mohammed Ejaz Chaudhry, after his return from India where he attended 7th Asia Gas conference, stated this while talking to a group of journalists here on Wednesday. Ejaz said Pakistan has requested Turkmenistan for the same gas price which it had agreed with Afghanistan, adding that the price would be around 50 cents per Million British Thermal Units (mmbtu). He maintained that India has also appreciated Pakistan's suggestion regarding pricing of TAPI gas but has not yet accepted the proposal. The 1,680-km long TAPI gas pipeline is targeted to bring 3.2 Billion Cubic Feet per Day (bcfd) of natural gas from Turkmenistan's gas fields to Multan and end at the north-western Indian town of Fazilka. Pakistan also intends to import 750 million cubic feet of gas daily for 25 years from Iran, according to the terms of the agreement. The secretary said that a high level Pakistani delegation will also visit Russia on April 2-3 to invite Russian Gas Company Gazprom to bid for the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project. Gazprom has submitted the Expression of Interest in response to Inter Sate Gas Company's invitation in August 2011, Ejaz said and added that Pakistan and Gazprom signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2005. He said Afghanistan has refused to purchase TAPI gas, however would allow the gas to be transited through their country to India and Pakistan. This implies 750 mmcfd destined for Afghanistan would now be available for Pakistan and India. Talks between the two nuclear rivals on this are expected on 19 April. According to Ejaz, Gazprom has expressed an interest in the construction of IP as well as Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline projects. On a question, he said if the relevant authorities approve Pakistan could import petroleum products from India. Ejaz said Pakistan will also invite Indian oil/gas exploration and production companies to invest in Pakistan's oil/gas sector, but it is subject to the approval of relevant authorities. The government has asked the two parties to import 400 mmcfd of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) each and the Petroleum Ministry would soon issue tender. He said the government would provide offtake guarantee to the importers of LNG. On a question regarding high price of LNG which stands at $18 per mmcfd, Ejaz said the government would utilise LNG for power generation and has asked the interested companies to set a price of LNG less than furnace oil.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2012

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Government plans to allow petrol imports from India

The government is expected to bring out a notification next month allowing import of certain goods, including petrol and food items from India, Energy Secretary Ejaz Chaudhry said on Friday. Pakistan agreed last November to open up more trade with India by replacing a list of items its bigger neighbour can sell across the border with a shorter list of items that cannot be traded - a move regarded as key to improving commercial ties. Pakistan has agreed in principle to grant access to imports from India under the Most Favoured Nation status, but has yet to fully implement the change. "We have granted the Most Favoured Nation status to India. Our cabinet has approved it," Chaudhry told reporters in the Indian capital. "Our commerce ministry is in the final stage of documentation of a notification to bring out certain items from negative list, including petrol," he said. "The notification should be out in 14 to 15 days." Pakistan currently bans imports of Indian gasoline. It allowed diesel imports from India in 2009, but no Indian supplies were sent in the face of preferential prices offered by Pakistan's allies such as Kuwait. India's oil minister S. Jaipal Reddy said in January that the country was examining a proposal to export petroleum products and gasoline to neighbouring Pakistan. Chaudhry said Pakistan was aiming to build its first liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, which it hopes to commission in the second-half of the next year. Four-to-five companies, including global oil major Royal Dutch Shell and South Korea's Daewoo, have shown interest in supplying LNG to Pakistan under a tender seeking 500 million cubic feet a day (MCFD) gas, he said. The government plans to award the tender in one month, Chaudhry said.

Copyright Reuters, 2012

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Two major US oil companies interested in TAPI pipeline

Two major US oil companies are interested in a four-country pipeline that would ship gas worth billions of dollars from Turkmenistan to India and Pakistan, a US government official said on Friday. The building of the US-backed "TAPI" pipeline through some of Afghanistan's most volatile regions presents a major challenge, adding to the project's other hurdles such as gas pricing and transit fees. "A couple of major US oil companies are interested," said Daniel Stein, senior advisor to the special envoy for Eurasian Energy in the United States. "We would like to see a US company involved at some point in TAPI." He declined to name the companies. The governments of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India are aiming to sign by July 31 the TAPI pipeline deal.

Copyright Reuters, 2012

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Gazprom's involvement in IP gas line project likely: team may be sent to Russia

The government is likely to send a high-level delegation to Russia for exploring the possibility of Gazprom's involvement in the construction of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, it is reliably learnt. According to sources in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, Russian oil and gas giant Gazprom has indicated its interest in constructing IP as well as TAPI gas line projects. Gazprom submitted Expression of Interest in response to Inter Sate Gas Company's invitation in August 2011, the official added. Pakistan will import 750 million cubic feet of gas daily for 25 years from Iran according to the terms of the agreement. "The government has many financial options to complete the IP project and we have sent a final letter to Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) requesting a final answer about its willingness to remain in the project or not," the official added. IP pipeline is planned to be laid along the Balochistan coastline up to Nawabshah, Sindh from where it will be linked to the national gas transmission network. Pakistan as per the project documents committed to obtain 750 Million Cubic Feet per Day (mmcfd) from the IP gas pipeline and 1.25 Billion Cubic Feet per Day (BCFD) from TAPI project. Pakistan and Russian authorities have held initial level talks on Gazprom's involvement in the construction of gas pipeline, sources revealed. At present Pakistan is facing a gas shortfall of 2 BCFD with estimated domestic gas production at 4.2 BCFD against requirements of 6.2 BCFD. According to official estimates, gas shortfalls are estimated to reach 2.5 BCFD in 2014-15, 3 BCFD in 2015-16 and 3.5 BCFD in 2016-17. The gap is estimated to peak at 5 BCFD by 2020-21, unless major discoveries/field developments and/or imports are made in coming years.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2012

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27 exploration licences awarded under new petroleum policy

The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources has awarded 27 exploration licences under the new Petroleum Policy 2012 and will award another 20 licences within the next three months. A senior official of the ministry told Business Recorder here on Wednesday that the Ministry was making all-out efforts to explore local oil/gas reservoirs and in this connection work on offshore drilling would also start within a year. The official said that under the new petroleum policy the government had approved attractive incentives for the investors which included gas wellhead price for onshore at $6 per Million British Thermal Unit (MMBTU), $7 per MMBTU offshore-shallow and $9 per MMBTU for deep offshore. Under the new Petroleum Policy, so far, investors had made an investment of $148 million, the official said and added that the investors had welcomed the incentives given by the government. Keeping in view the energy crisis, the ministry had directed the quarters concerned to expedite drilling activities and by the end of 2012 Pakistan would have up to 1,000 Million Cubic Feet per Day (MMCFD) gas, sources added. At present, the country is facing a gas shortfall of 2 Billion Cubic Feet per Day (BCFD) and by the end of December 2012 it will be reduced by one BCFD. Moreover, the public sector gas exploration and production company Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) during the on-going financial year has so far operated in 34 exploration blocks, which resulted in two oil/gas discoveries during first half of 2012. OGDCL has already completed Phase-I of Kunnar-Pasaki gas field with a natural gas production of 100 MMCFD and 1,000 barrels per day of crude oil and 15 MMCFD gas from Badin gas field will be added to the system within the next few weeks. Work on the phase-II of the project is under implementation, the field has a capacity to produce a cumulative 284 MMCFD of gas, 4,400 barrels per day of crude oil, 400 barrels per day of NGL and 387 M.Tons per day of LPG by February 2014. Sinjhoro development project will be completed in two phases. The first phase will be completed by June 2012 and the second phase will be completed by December 2012 adding a cumulative production of 3,000 barrels per day of crude oil, 25 MMCFD gas and 120 ton per day production of LPG. About 15 MMCFD gas is expected from Jhal Magsi development project which is anticipated to be completed in February 2013. Under Uch-II development project, drilling of fifteen (15) planned wells for the project has been completed and after the completion of project 160 MMCFD gas would be added to the system. Nashpa development project is expected to be completed by May 2013 and is anticipated to produce 60-80 MMCFD of gas and 140-160 tons of LPG per day. Mela project is expected to be completed by June 2013 and upon its completion, production of 18 MMCFD of gas and 40-50 tons per day of LPG is expected.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2012

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Eight months of Fiscal Year 2012: 12 exploratory wells drilled

The search activities of exploration and development companies for new hydrocarbon reservoirs in Pakistan has started to show some signs of recovery as 12 exploratory wells were drilled in the first eight months of FY12 as against seven wells spudded in the same period last year, analysts said. "Though encouraging, the activity levels are still far below the levels witnessed in FY05-08", they added. "The heightened security environment particularly in KPK and Balochistan along with the strained liquidity position because of notorious circular debt have cautioned the oil and gas explorers to remain conservative in their drilling approach", Nauman Khan, an analyst at Topline Securities said. Their focus continues to remain on maximising production profile of their existing fields while minimising their risk through Joint Ventures, he said adding that the sector drilled 19 development/appraisal wells similar to number witnessed last year. "Though we expect exploration and development (E&P) activity to remain subdued in coming days, but we maintain 'Over-weight' stance on the sector on account of favourable pricing scenario and sector's ability to yield optimal production profile from existing reservoirs", Nauman said. During the eight months of FY12, the sector has drilled a total of 31 E&D wells accomplishing only 41 percent of the full year target of 76 wells, faring a little better than last year. In the same period last year, the sector accomplished only 33 percent of its target of 80 wells while ended up completing only 60 percent of the target in the full year. The bifurcation of the numbers further reveal that activity is slanted towards development wells with 19 development well drilled versus the full year target of 45 wells. On exploratory front, 12 wells have been spudded as against target of 31 wells in FY12. Amongst the listed companies, POL is in the process of drilling two exploratory well however, it has not drilled any development well so far in the year. The company's Dhulian Deep-01 is in the testing phase and any positive news flow can positively affect the company's profitability going forward. PPL is on the other end of the spectrum has not initiated any new exploratory well while has drilled only one development well in its own operating lease. However, company has a share in additional four wells through its joint venture (JV). OGDC, country's largest explorer, seems to be the hardest hit by the circular debt. The company initiated only one new exploratory block against the target of 12 wells and has spudded seven development wells against the target of 15 wells. As regards to new discoveries, this year so far has remained uneventful for the listed sector. A total of four discoveries, predominantly gas with small discovery size, so far have been announced in the year all from carry over wells of last year. The major excitement of the year has come from discovery of augment in reservoir size from Tal and Naspha block, with PPL and POL standing as prime beneficiaries, Nauman said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2012

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1.39 million new gas connections provided in four years

Sui-Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and Sui-Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) have provided a total 1.39 million new gas connections during the last four years due to political compulsions and in defiance of economic compulsions, it is learnt. According to sources in the Petroleum Ministry, despite the fact that the country remained in the grip of serious energy crisis, which forced major textile industries to shift their plants to other countries especially Bangladesh, both gas utility companies over the past four years inexplicably provided 1.368 million domestic, 19,323 commercial and 2,558 industrial gas connections. Sources said that SNGPL which was facing a more serious gas shortage provided 0.97 million domestic gas connections, 13,379 commercial and 1,693 industrial connections, while SSGCL over the four years provided 0.397 million domestic gas connections, 5,944 commercial and 865 industrial gas connections. The SNGPL has laid 15,200 kilometres of pipelines during three years 2008-11 against a total planned network of 25,640 kilometres. According to official documents available with Business Recorder, the company has completed 1,682 schemes so far, while work is in progress on 1,110 schemes. The company is also procuring engineering drawings and material for an additional 458 schemes. During the past four years (2008-12) SNGPL has supplied gas to five District Headquarters (DHQs) Bahawalnagar, Bhakkar, Narowal, D G Khan and Hangu. In addition it has supplied gas to 14 Tehsil Headquarters (THQs), 38 new towns and 955 new villages have been connected to gas network. SNGPL's 2,189 schemes received Rs 32.71 billion from March 2008 to date under PWP-II and 16,100 kilometres of supply network is required for their completion: 1,061 schemes worth Rs 7.513 billion was transferred to sitting parliamentarians from KPP-II involving 9,540 Km network to be laid for their completion. The above 3,250 schemes worth Rs 40.22 billion required SNGPL to bear the cost of Rs 27.187 billion whereas Rs 13.036 billion was allocated by GoP. The SNGPL's per annum capacity is to lay up to 5,000kms of pipeline, while SSGCL during the same period has so far undertaken schemes worth Rs 2.9 billion for providing natural gas to different towns and villages, the sources said. By laying 823km of various diametres of pipelines the SSGC completed the schemes in 340 towns and villages at a total cost of Rs 1.89 billion. The work on another 95 schemes worth Rs 780 million is expected to be completed by March 2012, while the remaining schemes worth Rs 230 million, will be executed during the period of January to June this year.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2012

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Import of CNG kits, cylinders by OEM: ECC likely to take up issue

The Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) is likely to take up the issue of banning import of CNG kits and cylinders by the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). Indus Motor Company's Chief Executive Pervez Ghias disclosed this while talking to a select group of reporters in Lahore. The OEM representatives held a meeting with the Federal Minister of Industries a day earlier wherein issue was discussed in detail. The representatives while terming the ban an explicit discrimination demanded of the government to immediately review its decision. It is pertinent to mention that the OEM imports just 0.2 percent of the total consumption of CNG kits and cylinders whereas commercial import still continued that has created imbalance between the industry and the commercial importers. As a result of ban, the CNG kit and cylinder prices have reportedly gone up by Rs 20,000 in the market and same is the case with resale of the used cylinders and kits, he added. The OEMs were restricted to only import CNG kits who's L/Cs were opened before December 15, 2011. He further revealed that the Ministry of Industry has fully supported the OEMs stance and resolved to put up the case before the Economic Co-ordination Committee. To a question, he said that Pakistan Automobile Manufacturers Association did not oppose including CKD in positive list, as their import from India could be beneficial for the local industry. The CKD of the same company having same quality would be cheaper, as it would help save freight cost if price remains the same, he maintained. The import of completely built unit (CBU) was included in the negative list because of strong opposition from the stakeholders in the perspective of trade with India under the MFN status. He, however, ruled out any fear regarding the CBU import from India and argued that its import was already allowed from China and Korea that has no significant impact on the local industry. Similarly, CBU import from India would not be cheaper and thus there would be no harm to the local industry, he maintained. He further contended that there was no concept of negative list in presence of MFN status and we would have to be competitive in the coming days, as negative list has to be phased out by the end of this year.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2012

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KP oil, gas sector: Azerbaijan invited to explore investment opportunities

Deputy Chairman Senate Jan Muhammad Jamali has said that Pakistan values its relations with Azerbaijan and underlined the need for joint ventures in various sectors development and co-operation in socio-economic sectors. During the meeting of Pakistan-Azerbaijan Friendship group both sides agreed to exchange of visits, not only for political purpose but also for the economic development of both the countries. A delegation of the Pakistan Senate, led by Deputy Chairman Jan Muhammad Jamali presently in on visit to Azerbaijan. The delegation held meetings with Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Elmar Mohammadyarov, Speaker of the National Assembly of Azerbaijan, Pakistan-Azerbaijan Friendship Group and State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR). The Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan welcomed the delegation and highlighted the relations of Azerbaijan with Pakistan and thanked Pakistan for its support on various issues particularly their conflict with Armenia on Nagorno-Karabakh. He said that Pakistan was the third country who immediately recognised Azerbaijan which shows Pakistan's love for Azerbaijan. He also stressed upon the need to further cement Pakistan-Azerbaijan relations through people to people. Speaker of the National Assembly of Azerbaijan thanked the Senate of Pakistan on adoption of resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh and Khojly genocides. He underlined to further promote exchange of delegations to support each other on international forums and reiterated that their co-operation and stance on the core issue of Kashmir. Deputy Chairman Senate, Jan Jamali described Azerbaijan as second home for Pakistanis and thanked for their warm welcome and hospitality in Baku. "We also need help of Turkey in development of our socio economic as well as political relations", Jamali added. Senator Salim Saifullah Khan suggested Azerbaijan government to explore the possibility of direct flights from Islamabad to Baku once a week. "Pakistan and Azerbaijan are the victims of aggression and they need to overcome these conflicts with the help of each other", he said. On the direction of the President of Azerbaijan, a special meeting of delegation was organised with State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) to explore possibilities of investment in oil and gas sector in Pakistan. Senators Haji Adeel and Haji Ghulam Ali invited SOCAR to invest in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa oil and gas exploration in public as well as in the private sector. The Vice President of SOCAR agreed to the proposal and asked them to send a concrete proposal to them. He also offered facility to train Pakistani workforce in exploration sector, in Azerbaijan. The Senate delegation comprises Senator Mir Jan Mohammad Jamali, Senator Salim Saifullah Khan, Chairman, Foreign Relations Committee; Senator Haji Ghulam Ali and Senator Haji Mohammad Adeel.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2012

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Petroleum Policy 2012 to help attract new investment: Asim

Dr Asim Hussain, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Petroleum & Natural Resources on Thursday said the new Petroleum (Exploration & Production) Policy 2012 would help attract new investment into the economy and give boost to oil & gas exploration activities to address the energy shortage. He was chairing a meeting with provincial representatives regarding Petroleum Policy 2012. Muhammad Ejaz Chaudhry, Secretary Petroleum & Natural Resources, Nasir Mehmood Khosa, Chief Secretary Government of Punjab, Additional Chief Secretary Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, senior officers from governments of Sindh and Balochistan and senior officers of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Resources attended the meeting. Asim Hussain said that the new policy would prove to be a milestone for the oil & gas sector of Pakistan as it has been finalised in consultation with all the stakeholders and is based on international best practices. Provincial representatives expressed their confidence that the new policy would help provinces in fulfilling their respective roles in an effective manner. Secretary Petroleum said issues pertaining to royalties, zoning and wellhead pricing have been mutually agreed upon and provinces have expressed agreement on these issues. The Council of Common Interests (CCI) accorded "in-principle" approval to the Petroleum (Exploration & Production) Policy 2012 in its meeting on 9th February, 2012.-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2012

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