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News Headlines for the month of
NOVEMBER 2012

Leading US-based companies keen to invest in oil and gas

Some leading US-based Exploration and Production (E&P) companies are keen to invest in oil and gas sector, Petroleum Ministry official said. According to official, in a recent visit of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources to US, some of the top US-based E&P companies - Lago Energy, Chevron, Exxon Mobil Corporation and ConocoPhillips have requested the government of Pakistan for provision of necessary petroleum exploration and production data. "The companies have approached the Director General Petroleum Concession (DGPC) for exploration & production data, which we have provided to them," the official said. The official added that the government needs to appoint competent professionals at the helm, especially, in petroleum along with other technical ministries. "We have asked the US companies to invest in the country's oil/gas sector, especially in offshore drilling, which is almost 100 percent unexplored having huge natural reservoirs, the official said. Pakistan is among the potential countries on account of making investment in oil/gas sector, as the country's latest Petroleum Policy 2012 is investor-friendly, full of incentives for E&P companies; with one of the world's best online data bank as Pakistan is having huge unexplored hydrocarbon potential, the official added. The country has one of the world's well-integrated gas infrastructure and a huge gas-starved market to absorb the production." Pakistan is struggling to meet domestic energy needs. A net importer of crude oil, Pakistan was producing about 62,000 barrel of oil per day in 2012, but consuming an average of 440,000 b/d the same year, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Production of dry natural gas has increased by more than 70 percent, going up from 23 Billion Cubic Meters (BCM) in 2002 to 39 BCM in 2013, all consumed domestically. "Pakistan's economy is primarily reliant on fossil fuels," the official said, pointing out the 66.02 million tons of oil equivalent, of which 32.17 percent is oil, and 49.02 percent gas, the country's energy total supply mix. "I can say that gas is the backbone of our economy. However, due to the depletion of gas fields, there is less exploration activity." Currently, 50 blocks are under award in four basins (Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, 8; Balochistan, 21; Sindh, 6; and Punjab, 15). But additional opportunities exist onshore and offshore. Although Pakistan has not announced a block sale, potential blocks could become available for bidding. The onshore blocks, according to Shah's presentation, include two in KP, four in Punjab and five in Balochistan. "The application for the grant of petroleum rights can be submitted by any E&P company over any open area at any time," he said. "We have 11 onshore blocks for which anybody can apply. But I think offshore is the area where we should be most focused." To stimulate interest, Pakistan highlighted some of the incentives in the country's 2012 petroleum policy, including: An increase in producer gas price from 31 percent to 68 percent for different zones; A bonanza of US $1/MMbtu given for the first three discoveries in an offshore area; The sale of a 90 percent share of pipeline-specification gas to the government of Pakistan and 10 percent by E&P companies to any buyer. The reduction in the windfall levy from 50 percent to 40 percent; and the renewal of a lease after expiry of the lease term for another five years subject to payment of an amount at 15 percent of the wellhead value. "It's a good incentive," the official said and added that "We also are focusing on tight gas. The initial term for development and production lease of tight gas has increased from 25 to 30 years. The renewal period has been increased from five to 10 years, and 40 of the applicable windfall levy on conventional gas has been waived off for tight gas. Third-party sale has been allowed at a mutually agreed price between the seller and the buyer, and a 40 percent premium over the respective zonal price of Petroleum Policy 2009 has been given for tight gas."

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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Pakistan, Qatar agree on cooperation in energy, trade

DOHA: President Asif Ali Zardari and Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabar Al Thani on Wednesday vowed to collaborate in diverse areas, mainly energy and trade for the mutual benefit of their people. The two leaders, in a meeting held at the Emiri Diwan – the office of Qatar’s prime minister, discussed ways to further promote trade and investment ties to add substance to bilateral relations. Both the leaders discussed diverse issues, including joint development of the hydropower sector, identification of sources of financing, exploration of investment opportunities in the energy sector, rehabilitation of existing hydropower plants and opening of Qatari bank branches in Pakistan. President Zardari expressed satisfaction that the Qatar Gas had signed a pact with two Pakistani gas companies, including Sui Southern Gas Company Limited and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited, for the supply of Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) up to 3.5mtpa (million tonnes per anum). He invited Qatari petroleum and gas companies to take advantage of the new policy and invest in Pakistan’s oil and gas exploration and production sector. The president offered Sheikh Hamad to employ Pakistani skilled and semi-skilled labour in his country, saying already 90,000 Pakistani expatriates were efficiently contributing to Qatar’s economy. He mentioned that more Pakistanis could effectively be part of Qatar’s demand of two million workforce for its infrastructure projects for FIFA 2022 World Cup to be held in Doha. President Zardari stressed the need for diversifying the trade potential between the two countries. He expressed satisfaction over remittances from Qatar that increased to $354 million in 2010 from $339.51 million in 2009. He mentioned that Pakistan was the fourth largest producer of milk in the world. In addition to agriculture, Pakistan offers investment opportunities in infrastructure, energy, mining, textiles, real estate and tourism, he said. President Zardari also invited Qatari businessmen to take advantage of investment and business-friendly policies of Pakistan by investing in various sectors, including energy, infrastructure, banking and agriculture. He said this while talking to a delegation of Qatar’s leading business tycoons led by Qatar’s Chamber of Commerce and Industries Vice Chairman Muhammad bin Ahmad bin Tawar Al-Kawari. President Zardari held a detailed interaction with the Qatari businessmen in a bid to strengthen trade and investment linkages with the energy-rich Gulf state. The president said all sectors of the economy were open to investment with maximum dividends being offered to the business community. He highlighted various incentives being offered to the investors, including investment in all economic sectors, allowing 100 percent foreign equity, equal treatment to foreign and domestic investments, allowing remittance of royalty, capital, profits and dividends and full legal protection to foreign investment. He said the promotion of public-private partnership patterns and encouraging joint ventures was another important feature of Pakistan’s economy. He said Pakistan with the marketplace of 180 million people was poised to serve a huge market of over three billion in its neighbourhood due to its unique geo-strategic location. The president also highlighted Pakistan’s inherent potential and competitive edge in various sectors, including textiles and clothing, sports goods, surgical instruments, carpets, marble items and tents. Muhammad bin Ahmad said his country was interested in benefiting from the investment opportunities in diverse sectors in Pakistan. Meanwhile, President Zardari left for Pakistan on Wednesday after concluding his two-day official visit to Qatar. The president was seen off by Qatar’s Justice Minister Hassan bin Abdullah Al Ghanim at the Doha International Airport. Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim accompanied the president. app

Daily Times - All Rights Reserved, 2012

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Global investors consider Pakistan as hub for solar energy power projects

The global investors consider Pakistan as the most potential hub in the region to generate electricity exploiting solar energy as it has immense capacity and potential to explore sunlight as compared with different part of the world. This was stated by Raphael Lechner, who is German national and lead trainer on the occasion of launching of 5-day training workshop on Solar PV System held here under the auspices of Renewable & Alternate Energy Association of Pakistan. The workshop was supported by Alternate Energy Development Board, Government of Pakistan, GIZ, IEP and energy update. He said the solar energy is one of the effective and immediate fields for Pakistan to overcome its worsening energy crisis along with different renewable projects side-by-side. Handsome investment in Pakistan will be landing in this sector if the government and private sector join hands to work on the fastest emerging technology and source of electricity production, Lechner said. So far many projects of solar energy in the pipeline but there is a need to plan a mega project which provides a lowest cost electricity to masses compared with different conventional sources particularly furnace oil and gas. Germany has achieved tremendous success for producing renewable energy and attained a status of top power producers through solar energy yet. Pakistan has much potential more than double of it tapping its natural resource for combating its power crisis, Lechner added. The investors of the Germany are taking keen interest to invest in the Pakistan as they have technology, expertise and equipment for generating power through solar energy, he further said. Lencher said that ecosystem should be developed for the promotion and development of solar-run energy projects. In this regard, human resource is top priority of the country to equip them with advance skills for implementation of successful and productive solar-run power projects. Dr Nasim Ahmed Khan, former Secretary Alternate Energy Development Board (AEDB), said that Pakistan government should support renewable energy with true letter and spirit through proper funding of research and development and human resource training. There are many small solar projects in the queue that will be established in the next few years but the development of this sector should be paced up for meeting the growing needs of electricity in the country. He said that several solar-run power projects have been installed for power capacity but there is a need to develop a mega project that will be exemplary and encouraging for paving trend of using solar energy in the country. He said that solar-run power system were planned for streetlights, masjids and schools at Federal level in order to create awareness among the masses for new source of energy however it should be implemented by provincial governments. Khan highlighted implementation of solar-run energy is challenging task to define its success though it could be accomplished till the human resource are enabled to handle the new technology. Mohammad Abbas Sajid, Chairman REAP, said that the training of the engineers, technician and scientists is the crucial part to develop renewable energy sector in this country. In this regard, REAP is working seriously to organise different training workshops along with stakeholders in different cities. He said the body should be extended to all engineering and related sector so that people will come on board and executive collective efforts for the cause of energy self-sufficiency.

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KESC signs Rs four billion contract with Slovakian company

Karachi Electric Supply Company has signed two additional strategic contracts with international vendors, for its generation fleet. These service agreements are aimed at augmenting the generation capacity and enhancing the efficiency of KESC's CCP Plant at Korangi. The agreement also ensures the provision of OEM maintenance spares for its plants in SITE and Korangi. KESC has signed a contract for the efficiency and capacity improvement project, with the Slovakian based, Istroenergo Group (IEG), which is well known for providing worldwide professional, technical and scientific services in the field of power generation. According to this contract, KESC will be converting two open cycle gas turbines at its CCPP-II Korangi, into combined cycle operation. IEG is the same company which had earlier designed the Phase-I of engineering, procurement and construction work of this power plant and would now be executing the current, strategically important closing cycle project at a cost of Rs 4 billion in a period of 18 months. The project would add 27 megawatts of electricity generation capacity to the Combined Cycle Power Plant at Korangi; enhancing its total capacity from 220 MW to 247 MW and at the same time increasing the complex efficiency from 42 to 45 percent. Simultaneously, KESC has also signed a 5-year Maintenance Spares Supply Agreement (MSA) with OES General Electric Jenbacher for its GEJB gas engines plants at Korangi and SITE areas. KESC has made strategic investments to secure these agreements with the core objective to increase efficiencies and availability of its generation fleet.-PR

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Government ready to implement all doable energy projects: Prime Minister

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has said that the government has reset its priorities by laying greater focus on improving law and order situation, equitable electricity load-shedding and promotion of private sector. The Prime Minister was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Tuesday. Federal Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo, Federal Secretary Commerce Munir Qureshi, Chairman FBR Ali Arshad Hakeem, Acting Governor Punjab Rana Mohammad Iqbal, were also present on the occasion. The Prime Minister said that the present government is ready to implement all doable energy projects without any let and hindrance because it believes in private sector growth. The government and the private sector are on the same page to rid the country of economic ills being faced today. He said that the government is working on a number of coal and solar power projects that are not that inexpensive as being portrayed, however, with the passage of time they would be in easy access of the consumers. He said that on the request of Dr Samar Mubarak Mand, the government gave immediate response to Thar Coal Gasification Projects, which are well on way. He, however, made it clear the projects entail a lot many things including power generation stations and transmission lines for their connectivity with the national grid. Raja Pervez Ashraf said that if the federating units develop a consensus on Kalabagh Dam today, the government would initiate construction of the dam. Prime Minister said that the government is also focusing on the hydel component of the electricity and has expedited work on all ongoing hydel projects as well as those on the drawing board. He said that it is not only the Pakistan but many other countries including India, Middle East, Bangladesh, Bhutan and other Saarc countries were also facing the demand and supply issue of the electricity. Prime Minister also announced to take LCCI as member in the Energy Crisis Committee under his chairmanship. With regards to trade with India, he said that government was committed to facilitate the business community, adding, "We are watching the entire development on the subject and will not compromise on the interest of the Pak business community, he said. Pervez Ashraf has said that country's progress and prosperity hinges on well being of the business community. If the business prospers, the country would automatically grow. "We believe in our people, particularly the businessmen and industrialist that together we will steer the country out of the prevailing challenges," he maintained. Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar said that the biggest problem of the business community and generally the whole of Pakistan faces is a severe shortage of energy. The brunt of this crisis is getting worse day by day. He said that we must adopt measures to address this issue urgently as it is crippling national economy. He stressed the need to make a substantial investment in the development of a power sector infrastructure that is capable of meeting our country's growing energy needs. He urged the government to allocate at the very least Rs 200 billion per year or 10 per cent of the total budget for energy projects such as Dasu power project, Diamer Bhasha dam, Munda dam, Kohala hydropower project and Kurram Tungi dam, in order to produce cheap energy. He said that none of these projects except Diamer Bhasha dam have a storage capacity for water. He said that Kalabagh dam is the most viable project to address the energy issue but unfortunately the project has fallen prey to politics. He said that Pakistan is a water stressed country. By 2025, our water storage capacity per capita is expected to drop to 700 cubic meters from the current 1,038 cubic meters and when this happens, we will be a water-scarce country. It is essential to act now to avert such a situation. Farooq Iftikhar said that the problem of circular debt must also be tackled on sustainable basis. He said that Pakistan has immense potential to produce cheap and reliable electricity through coal and proposed that sizeable funds be allocated for the development of Thar Coal project. Farooq Iftikhar applauded the government's decision to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) saying that it is expected to allow powerhouses in Pakistan to generate 2,500MW of electricity initially. He proposed that a handsome amount be allocated for construction of an LNG terminal at the port city of Karachi. He also urged the government to address the law and order situation in Karachi especially, as law and order is a major cause for the decline in local and foreign investment in Pakistan. He also called for cut non-developmental expenditures and adopting stricter financial discipline can decrease this deficit. He said though Pakistani entrepreneurs are ready to compete with Indian products and look forward to gaining access to a very large Indian market but the government would have to ensure that a level playing field be provided as presently there are significant differences between two countries in terms of cost of doing business, bank lending rates and economies of scale. He said that with regard to Pakistan's trade relations with China, it is suggested that the Pak-China Free Trade agreement which is now moving into the second phase, be revisited in consultation with the business community. Duties on Pakistan's exports are higher than desired under the current agreement. The rates should be structured in line with the China-Asean trade agreement. The LCCI President said that the survival of the industry in Pakistan is at stake due to multiple reasons. Besides energy issues, availability of cheap smuggled goods is a grave threat. We need to tackle this problem at various ends including reduction in custom duties, tightening the surveillance on borders and enforcement of custom law and regulations at the entry points.

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Prime Minister forms committee to devise energy security plan for industry

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has constituted a high-powered committee to devise and streamline the energy security plan for the industry in order to keep production capacities operational during the winter season in country. He, himself, will chair the committee with APTMA, Ministry of Water and Power, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources on board. He constituted the committee during his meeting with APTMA top leadership at the Governor House on Tuesday. Chairman APTMA Ahsan Bashir led the delegation, comprising of Group Leader APTMA Gohar Ejaz, Chairman APTMA Punjab Shahzad Ali Khan, Central Vice Chairman APTMA Wisal A Monnoo and other senior members of the Central Executive Committee. According to APTMA sources, the Prime Minister has also taken APTMA on board for strategizing the way forward on market access to the European Union from 2014 onward with a view of expediting the necessary steps in this regard. In addition, the Prime Minister also assured the APTMA leadership of measures for encouraging further investment under the textile policy for creating jobs and production of exportable surplus in country. Earlier, Chairman APTMA exchanged the issues and problems faced by the textile industry in running smooth operations due to energy constraints.

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Nizam Energy, Canadian Solar Inc to launch quality solar modules

Nizam Energy (Pvt) Limited on Monday announced its strategic partnership with Canadian Solar Inc with a view to launch quality solar modules and provide best quality solar energy products in Pakistan. Speaking at a joint press conference at a local hotel, Director Nizam Energy (Pvt) Limited, Usman Ahmed and Global Emerging Markets Sales Director (Corporate) at Canadian Solar, Bob Zhang expected a better growth in the solar energy production in Pakistan. They were hopeful of the government's 'hard work' to facilitate the companies who intend to provide solar panels for energy generation to the commercial, agriculture and domestic consumers. He cited his firm's meeting with officials of Board of Investment, Irrigations Department and Alternative Energy Department to negotiate its plans of introducing the panels, and said the government was reducing duties on its import. "It is a favourable time for Pakistan" to acquire the technology as the cost of solar energy production has declined drastically in the last two years, he indicated, saying "the price of solar panel has fallen 50 percent in the last two years." He said the EU and US had increased their import tariffs on Chinese solar panels which allowed Pakistan to acquire the technology at lower rates, adding the efficiency of solar panels energy production had increased to 21 percent at present from 12 percent two years back. "These low quality products are leading to loss of confidence in solar energy among the people. In these times of dire energy issues, there is a need for a long-term sustainable solution in our country and alternative energy is the answer," said Usman. He pointed out that Nizam Energy offered its solar panel products at competitive prices which Canadian Solar Global Warranties backed. Global Emerging Markets Sales Director (Corporate) at Canadian Solar, Bob Zhang said Pakistan had a huge amount of sunshine which provided the opportunity for energy generations through solar technology. He gave example of EU, North America, China, Japan, India and other countries where sunshine was greatly utilised to make electricity, and showed satisfaction over the Pakistani government's efforts for overcoming the energy crisis. He was of the view that the conversion of solar energy into electricity was a "good" choice, and said the solar panel systems of his firm were available in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. "Nizam Energy and Canadian Solar are creating a large local network of sub-distributors across the country to provide quality solar products, ranging from Solar Power Plants, water pumps and tube-wells to hybrid systems for commercial and residential applications and solar home systems for rural electrification," said Bob.

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Punjab, German firm to launch three solar projects

Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that solar units will be set up in Punjab with the cooperation of German companies and it has been decided in principle to start three solar projects in Bahawalpur, Rawalpindi and Lahore as joint ventures. These views were expressed during a meeting with a representative delegation of German solar energy companies on Monday. Directors Aros Energy and Solar Technik, Aydin Karaca, Michael Bierend, Director Alex Solar Company, Michael Barth, representative of Aros Energy Abid Naseer Akhtar, Special Assistant Zaeem Husain Qadri, Co-ordinator to Chief Minister in Germany Shahid Riaz Gondal, Chairman P&D, Secretary Energy Punjab and other concerned officials were also present on the occasion. Talking to German delegation, the Chief Minister said that the Punjab government and a German company have agreed to launch solar project. He said his recent visit to Germany has started yielding positive results and German solar companies are keen on to invest in Punjab. In this purpose, foundation stone of the first solar project with the cooperation of German company will soon be laid. Progress is also being made on a solar project of 50 MW by a German company. The Punjab government is taking initiatives for controlling energy crisis in the province. The German delegation gave a detailed briefing to the Chief Minister and expressed its desire to invest in solar energy projects in Punjab.

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Szabist installs 'first' wind power turbine in Gharo

Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (Szabist) has inaugurated its first Wind Turbine in Gharo, a village in southern part Sindh under its project for 'Development of Renewable Energy. Szabist has installed its first ever indigenously designed and locally fabricated wind turbine at its Gharo Research Center, which has the capacity to generate 6KvA electricity. Addressing the inaugural ceremony of the wind turbines at the center, Azra Fazil, chancellor of Szabist said that the work and research on energy related subjects and programme were being carried out under Centre for Renewable Energy Research (CRER) programme. She announced that the institution was going to make a separate department and section for study of 'renewable energy' by January 2013. Saqib Rizvi, President of Szabist said that the renewable energy project was one of the subjects the organisation was dealing with in the area for providing social services and wellbeing of the people. Addressing the gathering, Dr Imran Amin head of the technical side of the energy project, said that this Wind Turbine was designed and fabricated by CRER and a team of engineers and technicians of Szabist Karachi. According to him, the design of the wind turbine meets all the international standards and has been using the modern technologies available. The composite blade design of a wind turbine is superior to most wind turbines available in the market and is also low cost. Its aerodynamics design, testing and quality control has also been conducted by CRER Team. The organisation was also working on solar, wood gas and other subjects. Brigadier Dr Naseem A khan (Retd), a renewable energy expert said that government needed to focus on the wind power in the southern part of Sindh having the capacity to generate around 50,000 megawatts in order to deal with the ever increasing energy demand of the country. India and other countries were working on the energy mixed and renewable energy projects on fast tracks.

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Energy sector commercial officials: US sponsors study tour

A group of senior commercial operations and customer service officials from Pakistan's power distribution companies (DISCOs) will travel to the UAE from November 10, 2012 to November 16, 2012 to visit the utilities in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. This exchange tour is organised by the US government to strengthen commercial operations and customer service functions at DISCOs. "The US government is committed to assist the Government of Pakistan in improving the power distribution system in the country," said Matt Lannon, Energy Office Representative at the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission to Pakistan. "We work with public sector power distribution companies to improve their operations, reduce losses, and ultimately, to make sure that consumers have a more reliable supply of power." During their exchange visit to the UAE, DISCO managers have an opportunity to observe operations at several well-run power utilities. The programme will include presentations, site visits, and roundtable discussions to address specific topics related to customer service and commercial management at distribution companies. The USAID under its Power Distribution Programme has previously conducted five exchange programmes to Turkey, South Africa, USA and Australia. Approximately 12 DISCO managers were selected for each exchange programme. These managers were nominated by IESCO (Islamabad), MEPCO (Multan), GEPCO (Gujranwala), HESCO (Hyderabad), LESCO (Lahore), PESCO (Peshawar), FESCO (Faisalabad), QESCO (Quetta) and SEPCO (Sukkur). The main focus of the programme in Turkey was Commercial, Financial and Customer Information Systems, and for South Africa the Program focused on Engineering, Planning and Operations. The US exchange focused on HR and Change Management and the visit to Australia focused on Distribution Engineering and Management. Recently the Exchange Programme conducted in the US was focused on Distribution Systems Design and Operations. During these visits the delegates were given presentations, site visits were conducted and roundtable discussions held to address specific topics in DISCOs, such as engineering planning and designing, loss reduction initiatives, business plans and models, HR practices and customer service enhancements. The four and half year USAID Power Distribution Programme was announced by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2009 as one of the US government's efforts to support Pakistan's energy system.

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FFC develops first 50 megawatts wind power project at Jhimpir

FFC Energy Limited (FFCEL) has developed Pakistan's first 50-Megawatt wind power project at Jhimpir, District Thatta, in Sindh. Established with an investment of 134 million dollars, the grid interconnection facilities for this project were energised on October 30, whereby the wind farm is now connected with the national grid. This major milestone was achieved by the co-ordinated efforts of CPPA/NTDC, Hesco & FFCEL. The project is thus ready to play a revolutionary role in strengthening Pakistan's wind-power sector. Brigadier Tariq Izaz (Retd), Project Director, said, "All 33 individual Wind Turbine Generators (WTGs) and ultimately the commissioning of the whole wind farm is planned to commence from November 7, and FFCEL expects to begin commercial operations by mid-December. However, FFCEL will endeavour for early completion of WTG commissioning activities, ahead of above schedule, by deploying more resources, wherever possible."-PR

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TUSDEC, GIZ join hands to boost renewable energy sector

Technology Upgradation and Skill Development Company (TUSDEC) has joined hands with GIZ, Pakistan to foster the renewable energy sector in the country by developing skilled force in various disciplines of solar technologies. The programme is being implemented under the implications of FIT (Funds for Innovative Training), Green Skills initiative. A company spokesman said on Wednesday that TUSDEC will enroll 125 candidates in 5 batches to be trained in various areas of Photovoltaic and Solar Water Heating Systems. The overall programme duration is stretched over one year where each course will be for a span of three months. The spokesman further shared that state-of-the-art facilities of NIDA Lahore centre will be utilised to administer the theoretical as well as practical trainings sessions, while on-site demonstrations will be organised specifically in the disciplines of Water Pumping and Solar Dryer where proficient master trainers will deliver the lectures, employing the originally deployed infrastructure. According to him, TUSDEC has conducted an acute baseline analysis comprised of rigorous focus groups with major enterprises (Suppliers, Manufacturers and Assemblers) of solar power equipment and solar heating systems that has divulged huge dearth of trained manpower in the industry. TUSDEC experts' panel has contrived market-oriented and internationally accredited training curricula, which will enable the trainees to serve productively in the approaching industry. TUSDEC further aims to nurture the diverse areas of renewable energy sector in Pakistan with the provision of immensely adroit and skilled manpower. Pakistan is experiencing approx 12 percent increase in its energy consumption with each passing year. The prevalent situation suggests a dire need of infrastructure investment as well as manpower cultivation in various alternate energy sources to effectively impede the resultant economic revolt, he said.

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Nigerian envoy meets Dr Asim

Dr Asim Hussain Advisor to the Prime Minister on Petroleum and Natural Resources has said that the Government of Pakistan has provided friendly opportunities to foreign investors in the oil and gas sector under the new Petroleum Policy 2012. He said this in a meeting with the Ambassador of Nigeria to Pakistan Dauda Danladi, who called on the Advisor here on Tuesday. The Nigerian Ambassador apprised the Advisor that Nigeria is enriched with oil and gas resources and it has an estimated 184 TCF gas reserves. The Government of Nigeria supports deregulation of the petroleum sector so that healthy competition is encouraged. Dauda Danladi, while referring to the recent D-8 conference, emphasised that in the spirit of mutual co-operation direct intervention on government to government basis is required in the oil and gas sector. The ambassador also informed that Nigeria has established Free Zones for International E&P companies, which provides beneficial opportunities for Pakistani companies. Dr Asim Hussain welcomed the interest shown by Nigerian Government to enter into dialogue regarding possible co-operation in the oil and gas sector. The advisor also suggested to explore vistas of co-operation in the downstream oil and gas sector including refining. Dr Asim accepted the invitation to visit Nigeria.-PR

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PSO to set up refinery in KPK, 100 LPG outlets across country: MD

The Pakistan State Oil (PSO) will set up 100 Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) auto filling stations in the country within a year, besides initiating construction of a modern crude oil refinery in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, which would be completed in four years, PSO's Managing Director Naeem Yahya said at a press conference here on Tuesday. He said that the company had signed a contract with Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) for importing furnace oil in a bid to save valuable foreign exchange. Highlighting PSOs future plans and strategy, Mir said that PSO had decided, in principle, to set up an oil refinery in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa and in this regard the company had requested the provincial government for allocation of land. He dispelled the notion that the PSO had violated any rule while signing a contract with Bakri Trading Company Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd (BTCPL). He stated that as part of PSO's vision, the company was aiming at making the national giant an integrated energy company by incorporating all aspects of supply chain, including exploration, refining, distribution and shipping. In this way, he said, the company would minimise dependence on foreign supply chains. Mir said that PSO could only achieve this by connecting with upstream partners, introducing innovative ideas to beat the competition downstream and establishing control of its own product supply chain. Furthermore, the MD said that PSO intended to set up itself as the leading company in Pakistan within two years, a regional player in four years and a member of global oil conglomerates within the next six years. He cited the signing of a Contract of Affreightment (COA) with Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) for importing furnace oil, development of a new oil tanker mooring point and storage facility at Hub, which will increase the national storage capacity and reduce congestion at existing jetties, establishment of over 100 LPG autogas stations over the next year and agreements with Parco, Byco and Bakri Trading for acquisition of POL products. Other major projects listed at the conference included establishment of a modern Euro IV capacity refinery in Khyber Pakhtunwa, acquisition of a refinery in the south of the country and setting up a Base-II lubricant refinery. PSO, he said, also planned to establish a regional Joint Venture (JV) aviation company in the Middle East and was looking to expand it into the coal business in partnership with other companies. Furthermore, the MD stated that the PSO had initiated a plan to eliminate the role of middleman along with cost rationalisation. He stated that by eliminating the addition of detergent additives in Mogas and Diesel, the Company would save approximately Rs 635 million per year, savings of Rs 450 million each year will also be expected through the stoppage of war premium insurance payments on POL product imports. Additionally by uplifting products from local sources/refineries, foreign exchange of approximately $200 million would be saved annually and a further Rs 500 million will be saved by engaging the national flag carrier PNSC for transport of furnace oil. He further spoke of PSO's enhanced customer focus activities which consisted of establishing VIP lanes for motorcyclists at retail outlets and development of a flagship retail outlet designed for premium customers which would offer only HOBC and branded consumer items at its store shop. He also commented on some of the company's recent CSR initiatives including the establishment of 10 (two in each province) Corporate Social Pumps (CSP) in low-income areas in partnership with local populace and development of two streets in every province with state-of-the-art infrastructure and facilities in developing areas under its Street Support Program. Commenting on the Transparency International's objections over PSO's agreement with Bakri Trading, he said: "I must assure you that there is no irregularity in this contract." He said that the PSO awarded the contract directly to the BTCPL without issuing any tenders. The agreement is valid for a period of five years and may be extended after the expiry of this period. Under the agreement, PSO will purchase 1.4 million tons of furnace oil from the BTCPL annually.

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Local companies asked for exploring investment opportunities in Indonesia

Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Monday asked the Pakistani oil and gas companies to operate in Indonesia and make reasonable profits. Energy demand in Indonesia is growing by 7 per cent per annum, which has created demand for foreign capital and expertise in oil and gas and renewable energy sectors, said Atif Ikram Sheikh, Chairman Co-ordination FPCCI Capital office. Speaking to business community, he said that oil and gas companies in Indonesia will invest $32 billion in two years to drill for energy but there is a lot of room for more investments. Atif Ikram Sheikh who is also Senior Vice Chairman of Pakistan Vanaspati Manufacturers Association said that Pakistani energy companies are already working in many countries but they have yet to step into lucrative Indonesian market. Southeast Asia's largest energy producer and consumer is ready to welcome Pakistani companies, give them profitable oil blocks, and support them through exemplary oil and gas regulations and enabling investment laws, he said. The consumption of oil in Indonesia stands at 1,500,000 barrels per day (bpd) a day with local supply recorded at 900,000 bpd while rest of demand is fulfilled through imports, he added. Atif said that Pakistani banking companies can also expand their overseas operations to the largest Asean economy as Pakistan's entire palm oil imports worth over 2 billion dollars will be shifted to Indonesia from Malaysia within months. Indonesia, world's third largest rice consumer is also short of rice supplies which can be exploited by Pakistani exporters, he said. Pakistan can also seek help from Indonesia, which has remained the third-largest generator of geothermal power after US and the Philippines, he informed.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2012

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Turkmenistan pushes TAPI gas pipeline

Turkmen-istan is pushing ahead with plans to build a hugely ambitious pipeline to transport its gas through conflict-torn Afghanistan to India and Pakistan, despite concerns about the viability of the project. Turkmen officials speaking at this week''s Oil and Gas Conference in Ashgabat took every opportunity to talk up the pipeline while showing less interest in a similar project that would transport gas across the Caspian Sea to the EU. The TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) natural gas pipeline, which is backed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), is regarded with suspicion as a wildly ambitious pipedream by some analysts. "The realisation of the TAPI pipeline project will allow an increase in exports of Turkmen gas," President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov was quoted as saying in a formal statement for the conference. Sakhatmurad Mamedov, head of the state-owned company Turkmengaz, announced that the project had been "successfully pushed forward" in roadshows held in September with potential investors in Singapore, New York and London. "The realisation of the TAPI project will give an impulse to the development of the countries taking part in the project and will also strengthen stability in the region as well as creating new jobs," he said. The 1,700-kilometre (1,050-mile) pipeline aims to transport more than 30 billion cubic metres of gas annually from Turkmenistan to consumers in Pakistan and India and relieve shortages in Afghanistan. Turkmenistan in May inked sale-purchase agreements with India and Pakistan for the yet-to-be-built pipeline in a move hailed by the United States as a boost for regional integration. Much of the pipeline will go through Afghanistan which neighbours both Turkmenistan and Pakistan but remains wracked by violence and instability. According to the ADB, the TAPI in 2008 was estimated to cost at least $7.6 billion (6.0 billion euros) and the partners now face the task of attracting commercial partners to build, finance, and operate the pipeline. The project enjoys the support of the United States, which is keen to deter subcontinent states from dependency on energy supplies from its arch foe Iran. Deputy Assistant Secretary at the US State Department Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Lynne Tracy told the conference that Washington welcomed the progress made on the project even if the road ahead was a long one. "The road ahead is long for this project, but the benefits could be significant and are certainly worthy of the diligence demonstrated by these four countries so far," she said. She said the project would diversify Turkmenistan''s energy market options, provide revenue and jobs for Afghanistan and bring clean fuel to the growing economies of Pakistan and India. According to British auditors Gaffney, Cline and Associates, Turkmenistan has the second largest gas reserves in the world. These are being eyed eagerly not just by Asian states but also the EU which wants to reduce its dependence on Russian imports. Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and the EU are continuing to negotiate an agreement for construction of a TransCaspian pipeline for exports of Turkmen gas to Europe and the EU''s special representative for Central Asia Patricia Flor urged an acceleration of progress. She said it would be better to sign long term contracts now than in five years time and there was no need to "excessively drag out the talks". Yet discussion of the TrasnCaspian pipeline, a project that would be a rival for Russia''s South Sream, was absent from the speech of Turkmen officials, in contrast to their enthusiasm for the TAPI project. Tracy said the United States also supports this pipeline and in a veiled reference to Russia said that if Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan agree on a pipeline crossing only their territorial waters, no other country has veto power over that decision. Turkmenistan is also keen on diversifying its export routes which remain dependent on its former Soviet master Russia with whom it has occasionally had prickly relations and has already begun exporting gas to China. Berdymukhamedov has embarked on cautious economic reforms and sought to attract foreign investment in the energy sector since becoming president following the death of his eccentric predecessor Saparmurat Niyazov in late 2006. Yet the country remains one of the world''s most isolated states with opaque decision making and Berdymukhamedov has faced criticism for failing to implement extensive political reform after the excesses of the Niyazov era.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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Argentina to support development of CNG sector: envoy

Ambassador of Argentina Rodolfo Martin Saravia has said that Argentina was ready to support Pakistan in development of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) sector. He stated this during a meeting with the members and office-bearers of Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry here on Thursday. Chamber's President Dr Mohammad Yousaf Sarwar, Vice Presidents Malik Ifitkhar Awan, Mohamamd Anees, and executive body members were also present. Both sides agreed to take joint steps for provision of clean drinking water in flood-hit areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and to further strengthen trade and economic ties between the two countries. The envoy said that huge investment opportunities existed in Pakistan particularly in hydel power generation and tourism sectors of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said that Argentina would carry out joint ventures with Pakistan in agriculture, renewable energy, pharmaceutical, textile, CNG buses, surgical goods, marble and other potential sectors. The Ambassador agreed with the chamber's proposals and suggestions for boosting trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Argentina. He assured that his country would extend every possible support to Sarhad Chamber for provision of clean drinking water to the flood-affected people of KP. Earlier, the chamber's chief asked the Argentina businesspeople to invest in hydel energy sector. He stressed the need for further strengthening economic and trade ties by easing visa regime between the two countries.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2012

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''Tight gas'' from Kirthar block: Polish firm, SSGC sign GSPA

A Polish oil and gas production firm and Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGC) on Tuesday singed Gas Sales Purchase Agreement (GSPA), adding 30 Million Cubic Feet (MMCFD) of ''tight gas'' from Kirthar block in Sindh in SSGC''s system. After the signing ceremony, Dr Asim Hussain, the Prime Minister''s adviser on Petroleum and Natural Resources, told reporters that this is the first-ever ''tight gas'' GSPA in Pakistan. The agreement was signed by Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL), Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) and Polskie Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo (PGNIG). The agreement signing ceremony was witnessed by Dr Asim Hussain, Dr Waqar Masood, the Secretary Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources and other officials. The Kirthar block is jointly owned by the Polish firm and Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) and production from the field would start in May next year. Officials said that the price of ''tight gas'' would be $6 per mmbtu, which would be much higher than the current gas price. Hussain said that ''tight gas'' production would start in May 2013 and SSGC would lay a 52-kilometre-long pipeline at an estimated cost of Rs 325 million, carrying gas from the Suleman Range to the Nooriabad industrial estate. He said that production from two wells that would produce 15 million cubic feet gas per day (mmcfd) each. He said that the Polish firm and PPL would further provide gas to the Sui Southern Gas Company limited and supply it to industries in the Nooriabad industrial estate in Sindh. Hussain said that polish firm had invested $40 million to explore tight gas from Kirthar block in Dadu district while $20 million would be further invested. "The Polish firm has explored ''tight gas'' from two wells. It will also dig other wells to explore more gas," Hussain said He rejected reports that Pakistan was facing any external pressure against the Iran-Pakistan gas project, adding that the nation would soon hear "good news" about this project. Hussain reiterated that the agreement was a significant step in the implementation of Pakistan''s Tight Gas Policy announced in 2011 for providing economically viable sources of energy. He stressed that the government had introduced incentives and investor-friendly policies for boosting investment in the Oil and Gas sector for substantially bridging the demand and supply gap of natural gas. Waldemar Woiciech Bak, Managing Director of PGNiG Pakistan thanked MD PPL for the support PPL has extended as a joint venture partner throughout this period to bring the project to its current status. MD PPL Asim Murtaza Khan hoped that the timely completion of Rehman project will increase the gas supply significantly. He assured POL''s full support in this endeavour. MD SSGCL Zuhair Siddiqui appreciated JV partners for leading the industry in unconventional gas production and hoped that they will be bringing in more gas to the system in near future. An agreement between the Polish firm and SSGCL for laying the 52-kilometre-long pipeline from PGNIG''s Rehman Field to Naing Value Assembly of SSGCL in Dadu, was also signed on the occasion. SSGCL was awarded the contract for laying the pipeline. The project is likely to be completed by April next year.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2012

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Iraq inks exploration deal with Pakistan Petroleum

Iraq on Monday signed a five-year deal with Pakistan Petroleum for the company to explore a massive tract of land believed to contain gas, the latest step in Baghdad''s efforts to boost energy output. Under the contract, the firm must invest at least $100 million to explore the 6,000 square-kilometre (2,300 square-mile) block covering the provinces of Wasit and volatile Diyala. "The oil production (and) the gas production from this block will not only help the Iraqi economy, it will help the Pakistani economy also," Pakistan Petroleum chief executive Asim Khan told reporters. "It will be a step forward from this project to other projects at national level. Inshallah (God willing), this is the beginning and we would like to see more projects." Khan said he was not concerned by instability in Diyala province, which remains one of Iraq''s most violent even as attacks have lessened nation-wide in recent years compared to the country''s bloody sectarian war from 2006 to 2008. "These are not going to stop or hinder our work programme," he said. "We will overcome the security." Pakistan Petroleum won the contract in a May 30-31 public auction, agreeing to remuneration of $5.38 per barrel of oil-equivalent eventually extracted from the block, which is thought to contain gas. Baghdad is looking to increase its gas production to help power electricity generation stations. The country is suffering from a years-long electricity shortfall that is a persistent complaint of Iraqis. Iraq has proven reserves of 143.1 billion barrels of oil and 3.2 trillion cubic metres (111.9 trillion cubic feet) of gas, both of which are among the highest such deposits in the world.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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