14TH INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION FOR THE ENERGY INDUSTRY

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News Headlines for the month of
JANUARY 2013

Chinese firms showing interest in energy sector: PCJCCI

The Chinese business corporations have shown their keen interest in establishing power plants in Pakistan. Founder President Pakistan China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCJCCI) Shah Faisal Afridi stated this in a statement on Wednesday. He said that the horrifying energy crisis had painted havoc on the horizon of Pakistan's economy and PCJCCI was lodging an impressive campaign to attract Chinese investment companies towards energy sector in Pakistan. The acquisition of appropriate technology from China in the field of renewable energy and alternative sources of energy like solar, Nano technology, wind power and run of the river power plants is the priority agenda of the PCJCCI, he said adding that a match making process was being planned to materialise the investment. He was confident that a delegation comprising representatives of such corporations would soon be invited to Pakistan to review joint venture opportunities available in the field of energy. President PCJCCI further said that he along with his team was endeavouring to increase China's stake in region that will ultimately help flourish Pakistan. At this juncture, the crippling economy of Pakistan can only be bailed out through enhancing the quantum of foreign direct investment besides promoting the exportable surplus from Pakistan, he added and assured to perform key role in bringing Chinese investment in the country. Shah Faisal Afridi stressed the need for establishing harmony relationships with Chinese business community through arranging business to business meetings of both countries' business fraternity with an increased participation in trade fairs and exhibitions. Pakistan China joint Chamber will provide the facility of video conferencing to its members for developing easy access trade channel besides imparting working knowledge of Chinese language. He said that with the active participation of our Chinese counterparts, areas of business interest for both countries' business people are being aggressively worked out. While answering the question of media representative, he said that Pakistan China Joint Chamber would be having representation of both countries. He especially accentuated to take advantage of Chinese experience of creating Special Economic Zones as the most economic growth of China has been experienced through these zones. He applauded the government for promulgating Special Economic Zone Act, 2012.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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USAID establishes computer centre for Pesco

The United States is strengthening Pakistan's energy sector and helping to end energy shortages. In this effort, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Power Distribution Program's Ewa Szajner was on hand to support the inauguration of a computer center at the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco). The Pesco CEO and Board of Directors Chairman were also present at the inauguration with senior management from the USAID Power Distribution Program. "Supporting the Government of Pakistan's efforts to improve the performance of the energy sector is one of our top assistance priorities," said Power Distribution Program Chief of Party Craig VanDevelde. The aim of establishing the computer center is to modernise the Planning and Engineering (P&E) sectors of government-owned power distribution companies (Discos), improving energy distribution across Pakistan. "I am confident that through this effort, Pesco will be better able to efficaciously supply electricity to consumers in Peshawar and surrounding areas," VanDevelde added. USAID has established similar computer centers at the Islamabad Electric Supply Company, Faisalabad Electric Supply Company, Lahore Electric Supply Company and at the Gujranwala Electric Power Company. USAID also provides training for engineers and technicians from all nine Discos and is introducing international best practices for public utility management. This initiative to equip Pakistan's power distribution companies with modern technology and training the human resource is just one part of a comprehensive United States' energy assistance program, which includes renovating the power plant at the Tarbela Dam, upgrading the Guddu, Jamshoro, and Muzafaragarh power plants, and completing the construction of the new Satpara and Gomal Zam dams. Together, these large-scale energy projects will add up to 900 megawatts to the power grid by 2013 - enough power to supply electricity to an estimated two million households.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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Assisting Discos: USAID to launch nationwide automated meter reading projects

The United States Agency of International Development (USAID) is in the final stage to rollout a nationwide installation of Automated Meter Reading (AMR) projects. The project is a continuation effort to assist government-owned power distribution companies (DISCOs) in loss reductions and revenue enhancements. Initially, the project would target the areas with high power thefts and significantly high line losses, said a news release issued here on Sunday. The AMR would provide highly accurate electronic meter readings with little human intervention, using computer technology to transmit meter readings data via GSM/GPRS and Radio Frequency. The installation of AMR meters would start in the first quarter of the year. This is the largest AMR rollout in Pakistan with almost 17,000 AMR meters being installed among all five DISCOs. The project is being launched as a model for the five DISCOs to showcase the benefits of the latest meter reading technologies. The program would also facilitate in establishing methodologies for energy accounting and cost of service studies for DISCOs. The USAID Power Distribution Program will also introduce new equipment specifically designed to reduce the frequency and duration of power outages.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2013

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Electricity generation from solid waste: KMC, Cook Consultant sign MoU

The project of generating energy from the solid waste would prove to be a milestone for Karachi. This was stated by Sindh Governor, Dr Ishrat-ul-Ebad Khan, here on Friday. He said this on the occasion of the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the Governor House. The MoU was inked by the chief of the M/s Cook Consultant, Richard Cook, and Muhammad Hussain Syed of the KMC. The Deputy High Commissioner of UK in Karachi, Francis Campbell, Managing Director of KWSB, Misbahuddin Farid, and Principal Secretary to Governor, Noshad Shaikh, and Chairman KPT were also present on the occasion. The Governor said that removal of solid waste in Karachi was a problem and there was a need to dispose this of in an organised and scientific manner. He stated that it augurs well that electricity can be promptly generated from this project. This would provide uninterrupted electric supply to the desalination plant established in the Port Qasim Authority's industrial area. He said that initially the Cook Company has started preparing feasibility report for this project. A great deal of investment was expected for this very project depending upon the feasibility report, it was further stated.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2013

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Over 500 villages to be electrified through solar energy

More than 500 villages will be initially electrified though promotion of clean and renewable solar energy through photovoltaic process. Talking to APP here on Monday Director General Pakistan Council of Renewable Energy Technologies (PCRET) Khalid Islam said that social and political struggle for economic development cannot be fully realised without active support and co-operation of research and development organisations. He said leadership at all levels have to enhance and promote science and technology (S&T) in tangible shape. "Incumbent government is fully aware of the need and necessity of development of S&T infrastructure, strengthening of the research and development institutions and raising the educational standards," he added. Khalid Islam said that it is heartening to learn that PCRET has already taken some serious programs regarding the development and use of renewable energy technologies including solar energy, wind mills, bio gas and thermal solar devices. "New energy policy of the government also envisages the harnessing of this new and clean source of energy to support conventional methods". The basic objective of this project is up gradation of silicon crystal growing and wafering, cell fabrication and lamination facilities. It will enhance the indigenous production of solar cells and modules up to 80 kW per annum along with promotion of clean and renewable solar energy through photovoltaic process. Photovoltaic (PV) is a clean and environment friendly technology that converts the sun energy directly into electric power. DG PCRET said during last five years, the PV sector has seen a growth rate of about 50% per year. There is now awakening realisation in Pakistan about the importance of the use of PV, for providing electric power to the people living in far flung area to improve their socio-economic conditions.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2013

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Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to establish thermal power plant, urea refinery

The provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has decided to establish a thermal power plant and urea refinery in the oil and gas producing districts of the province, stated a document on the performance of Oil and Gas during the last four and half years. The document said that the PC-II of the project would be submitted soon to the appropriate forum for approval and accordingly a consultant would be hired to carry out the feasibility study for the establishment of the plant. It said that a study would also be conducted soon to have a 200 MW thermal power plant, based on flared gas from the oil field. Similarly, the present ANP-led provincial government has also decided on the establishment of its own urea refinery in the Oil and Gas producing districts of the province. In this connection, a PC-II will be submitted soon to the appropriate forum for approval and accordingly a consultant would be hired soon to carry out the feasibility study for the establishment of the Urea Refinery Gas is the main ingredient for urea fertiliser. Furthermore, the provincial government has also decided to establish its own Oil Refinery for the crude oil available in the province. The signing of a formal memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this regard is in the final stages of signature. The project would be implemented as a joint venture by the Provincial Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Pakistan State Oil (PSO) and a private sector investor. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has already established an Oil & Gas Limited Company for participation in oil and gas exploration businesses like OGDCL, MOL and PPL etc. The mandate of the company would be to initially provide service to companies, who have taken blocks and are unable to carry out 2D/3D seismic data acquisition. The KPOGDLC will have its own equipment to carry out work on 2D/3D seismic on payment and after getting experience for 2-3 years, will enter into exploration process as operator. The provincial government has also made efforts for exempting the province of gas load shedding. As per Article 158 of the Constitution, priority of requirements of natural gas, the province where a well-head of natural gas is situated shall have precedence over other parts of the country in meeting the requirements from the well head, subject to the commitments and obligations as on the commencing day. In this connection, the provision government is protecting the rights of its people by defending the case in Supreme Court of Pakistan and has hired the services of Senior Lawyer, Wasim Sajjad. It is the reason that gas load shedding is avoided in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Department of Energy and Power, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is also making efforts for utilisation of alternative energy sources and renewable energy. For this purpose, it has also decided to carry out feasibility study for determining solar and wind potential in the province for establishment of power generation plant based on renewable energy. The PC-II in this regard will be submitted soon to the appropriate forum for approval and accordingly a consultant would be hired soon to carry out the feasibility. Sources in Energy and Power Department, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa say that the provincial government is utilising the powers granted under 18th Constitutional Amendment in Oil and Gas Sector. Under the Article 167 of the constitution, the province are now allowed to raise domestic or international loans or give guarantee on the security of the provincial consolidated fund within such limits and subjects to the conditions as may be specified by the National Economic Council (NEC). Similarly, under Article 172, sub-clause "3" mineral oil and natural gas within the province shall vest jointly and equally in that province and the federal government, which was previously fully owned by the federal government. After getting this right on natural resources in the oil and gas sector a lot of exploration activities are going on in the province, which will help generate maximum benefits for the locals of the area. The provincial government is likely to receive a royalty to the tune of Rs 22.157 billion from the hydrocarbon sector during the current financial year 2012-13. It will include a royalty of Rs 11.747 billion on crude oil, Rs 4.241 billion on natural gas, Rs 2.468 billion in head of excise duty and Rs 3.700 billion in head of gas development surcharge. For getting maximum benefits from the potential of hydrocarbon sector, the Director General Petroleum Concession (DGPC), which is regulating, monitoring and granting body for issuance of licenses has been re-organised and under the new policy the provincial representation is made part of it. The new policy has improved the role and voice of the province in the institutional structure and now it is part of decision making process.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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Design of 7,100 megawatts Bunji project to be completed by end March: Wapda

The Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) Chairman Raghib Shah has said that water sector projects are vital for sustained economic development, poverty reduction and social uplift in the country, particularly the remote areas of Gilgit-Baltistan. He expressed these views in a meeting on Friday with GB Chief Minister Syed Mehdi Shah at Wapda House. Speaking on the occasion, the Chairman said that Wapda is implementing a number of mega and medium-sized projects in GB including multipurpose Satpara (generation capacity 17MW, water storage capacity 0.093 million acre feet) and Diamer-Basha (generation capacity 4500 MW, water storage capacity 8.1 million acre feet), 7100MW-Bunji, 34 MW-Harpo, 80 MW-Phandar and 40 MW-Basho hydropower projects etc. Apprising the Chief Minister of the progress on the projects, he said that Satpara Dam Project has substantially been completed. The construction work on 13 contracts for Wapda offices, colonies, contractors' camps, model village for victims, roads and infrastructure in the project area of Diamer-Basha Dam - a priority project - is progressing at a good pace. The process to acquire land is continuing, while expressions of interest (EoI) to appoint consultants have also been called. Various financial options are being analysed for funding of the project, he added. The Chairman said that detailed engineering design and tender documents of Bunji Hydropower Project will be completed by end March this year. He further said that the two European Development Agencies namely AFD of France and KFW of Germany have shown interest to provide funds for Harpo Hydropower Project. Dilating upon their benefits, the Chairman said that these multi-purpose projects will ensure availability of water for irrigated agriculture, help mitigate devastating floods, and generate low-cost hydel electricity. In addition, a number of employment opportunities will also be available to the locals in GB during construction as well as operation and maintenance phases of these projects, he further said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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Improvement in power sector: Wapda seeks control of NTDC, Gencos and CPPA

Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda), has proposed ouster of the Ministry of Water and Power (MoWP) from day-to-day affairs of the power sector and taking control of the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC), Generation Companies (Gencos) and Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA) aimed at improving the system. Wapda distributed these recommendations amongst the Members of the National Assembly''s Special Committee on Energy Crisis, headed by Engineer Usman Khan Taraki, which met here on Monday. According to the Ministry of Water and Power, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank have spent billions of rupees to unbundle the power sector as an integral component of sectoral reforms. Critics maintain that Pepco, NTDC and CPPA are currently being run by bureaucrats'' loyal to the Secretary Water and Power, Nargis Sethi, and in spite of her strict directives to cut power supplies of all government departments/entities which do not clear their bills there has been no improvement in load shedding or power sector management. Wapda''s Member Power, Qasim Khan floated the following recommendations/ suggestions in writing, a copy of which is available with Business Recorder. "CPPA, NTDC and Gencos should be placed under administrative control of Wapda. Till such time our recommendations are implemented, Chairman Wapda may be appointed as Chairman Board of Directors (BoD). Having dissolved Pepco, performance monitoring cell of Discos may be created under the control of Wapda," said Wapda in the brief. Such an arrangement, Wapda maintained, would help the Ministry of Water and Power to focus on policy matters and strategic issues, whereas day to day control of operational matters and implementation of improvement schemes will rest with Wapda. Wapda, in its recommendations for improvement in power sector, noted that high level Energy Conferences are held to increase generation and instead urged measures to control theft of about 4000 MW. All Discos must be monitored through a Co-ordinator reporting to the Chairman Wapda. This chain would control political interference and provide better results in reducing line losses and improvement in recovery. Expressing displeasure over prevalent accountability mechanism in the power sector, Wapda has suggested that a fair accountability system should be implemented. Proficient CEOs may be posted only on merit and must be evaluated on a quarterly basis. Wapda maintained that one senior departmental nominee be made member of the BoD of Discos, NTDC and CPPA to report performance to Chairman Wapda. This correspondent sent an SMS to the Chairman Wapda, Syed Raghab Abbas for his comments on power sector reforms, and his response was that he was in the Dera Bugti area for the Prime Minister''s scheduled visit. Pepco, in its presentation informed the committee that Pepco''s total installed generation capacity is 20,415 MW, of which 6516 MW is hydel, 4,829 MW Gencos and 9,070 MW IPPs. The present generating capacity is as follows: (i) hydel- 2,324 MW;(ii) Gencos, 2,057, IPPs 5,016 MW. Additional Secretary Water and Power, Arshad Raza, in his briefing to the committee said that the public sector owes Rs 119 billion to the power sector, of which Rs 7 billion was due from the federal government, Rs 19 billion from AJK and Rs 93 billion from the provincial governments. The Private sector is a defaulter to the tune of Rs 250 billion. Total outstanding dues against public and private sectors are Rs 426 billion. In reply to a question, he said that presently 1100 MW electricity was being generated by using High Speed Diesel (HSD). The price of electricity generated through diesel is about Rs 22 per unit. He said an amount of Rs 8 billion of Discos'' is stuck after the Islamabad High Court suspended the monthly fuel adjustment mechanism. Answering a question, he said that Iesco is selling electricity to AJK at Rs 3.59 per unit. CPPA is installing digital meters on different feeders to monitor transmission of electricity. Arshad Raza further stated that the government is doing away with free electricity to Wapda''s present and retired employees and for this purpose allowance would be given to the employees of grade 1-16. In reply to another question, he said that presently 45 per cent electricity was being stolen, the cost of which was in billions of rupees. Project Director, Neelam Jhelum Hydropower Project, Muhammad Zubair briefed the committee that 42 per development work on the project has been completed and the project is expected to be operational prior to the start of the operation of the Kishanganga hydroelectric project by the Indian government in Held Kashmir. In reply to a question, he said that the issue of insurance of Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) has been resolved and soon the machines would commence work.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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'Thar coal project has potential to change energy landscape'

Despite all the derelictions, delays, handicaps, claims and promises of all kinds, the Thar Coal Project which has the potential to change the energy landscape of Pakistan continues to moving slowly the good intentions of the Prime Minister and the country's economic managers notwithstanding. Stakeholders believe that vested interests are ensuring it does not happen. The cost of the project is a big issue as it would require initial funding starting from one billion dollar to three billion dollars plus the infrastructure cost the Government will have to incur in developing the barren region. Out of all the projects Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC), a joint venture company between the Government of Sindh and Engro Powergen Limited, is the most advanced, but it is now faced with a situation where funding, policy and political will is required at all levels of Government. Experts claim that to overcome the current energy crisis, Pakistan has no other alternative except development of indigenous energy resources. Thar coal fields have estimated lignite reserves of 175 billion tons which is equivalent to total oil reserves of Iran & Saudi Arabia combined that could be utilised to produce 100,000MW of power for 200 years. Furthermore there is so much coal that it could even be exported it to India. Thar coal based power tariff will be much lower than RFO based power tariff, which means that general consumers could get electricity at much cheaper rate than what they are paying right now. Thar Coal is also competitive viz-a-viz imported coal and LNG. Currently, Pakistan's effective power generation capacity stands at 14,000MW. At the current growth rate, Pakistan will require 26,000MW by 2020 out of which around 10,000MW could be produced from Thar Coal. Primary objective of Thar Coal development is to provide affordable, reliable and sustainable electricity to consumers using indigenous resource. Reliance on indigenous fuel will help save billions of dollars in foreign exchange which are currently being spent on import of expensive RFO (Refined Furnace Oil). A recent study by Pakistan Business Council estimates the import bill for petroleum products will reach over 120 billion dollars by 2020. For Thar Coal to really start and change country's destiny, the Government of Pakistan (GOP) needs to figure out how it is going to finance it. In principle the Government has developed public private partnerships such as SECMC and brought in parties such as UK based Oracle and a Chinese Group. The challenge is to attract foreign investment from international institutions to raise up to three billion dollars towards the project cost. And what primarily GOP needs to do is to project Pakistan as a country which could attract foreign investment. Already SECMC and the GOP have been meeting with Chinese banks and Asian Development Bank to see what the opportunities are. Chinese banks would like the Government to give them a sovereign guarantee as they are wary of circular debt issues and failure of the Government to deliver even though there are contracts in place. A prime example is Engro which is having a tough time raising financing for SECMC due to its staggering Rs 65 billion debt due to unprecedented gas cuts to its new fertilizer plant, which was established with an investment of over 1.1 billion dollars based on a water tight contract with SNGPL. Hence being able to attract foreign investment for Thar Coal is becoming next to impossible as international organisations question why they should invest in another project in Pakistan when a leading blue chip Pakistani company is already suffering. In the coming months with an interim government expected around the corner, the Government both at the federal and provincial levels needs to work hard to start executing the Thar project. For without Thar, Pakistan will succumb to international oil pressures and have an energy mix with very little indigenous component.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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Wapda chairman meets USAID director

Wapda Chairman Raghib Shah met with USAID Director Jonathan Conly and Assistance Co-ordinator Richard Albright and discussed financial plan for water and hydro-power projects. The United States is one of Wapda's major donors. Over the past four years, USAID has provided over $300 million to support the modernisation of equipment at Tarbela and Mangla, completion of the multipurpose dams and irrigation systems of Gomal Zam and Satpara. These investments are made to increase electricity supplies, provide water for irrigation over 200,000 acres of land and controlling floods in Pakistan. Wapda Chairman said that Pakistan has a potential of generating about 100,000MW of hydro-electricity, and to harness this potential, Pakistan will need to raise billions of dollars. He said that Pakistan's top hydro-project development is Diamer-Bhasha and the US has agreed to work with us, as we examine our options on how to raise the billions of dollars that are needed to make Diamer-Bhasha and other hydro-projects a reality. Diamer-Bhasha dam could add as much as 4,500MW to the power grid and provide critical water storage capacity, 6.7 million acre feet, for the country. He further said that the US and many other international donors have supported Wapda, as we have successfully harnessed our rivers to power economic growth. Our partnerships with these donors have been successful and we hope to continue these partnerships.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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MFN status to India: Cabinet directs implementation of steps, says Kaira

The Federal Cabinet has constituted another committee to finalise policy guidelines regarding fixation of CNG price with the directives to submit report within three days. This was stated by the Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira while briefing media about the Cabinet''s decision here on Thursday. He said that the Cabinet also considered the policy guidelines under Section 21 of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) Ordinance, 2002 and after in-depth discussions decided to form three-member committee to finalise policy guidelines. The members of the committee included Farooq H Naik, Minister for Law & Justice, Nazar Muhammad Gondal, Federal Minister for Capital Administration Development (CAD) and Rana Muhammd Farooq Saeed Khan, Minister for Climate Change. To a question about giving Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India, he said that the Cabinet directed implementation of steps for granting MFN status to India. Pakistan wanted to establish cordial relations with all the regional countries and last date of MFN was December 31 2012, he said adding that there was a delay of few days but it would be implemented. The Cabinet considered and accorded its approval to the ratification of mutual agreement between the State Archive and Administration of China and the National Archives of Pakistan for the year 2012-13. The purpose of this agreement is to encourage relations in the field of Archives between the two countries, on the basis of mutual interest and reciprocity. The Finance Ministry gave a presentation to the Cabinet on the consumer price index in the country to oversee and discuss the trend of price of essential commodities. The Cabinet expressed satisfaction that consumer price index remained in single digit during the month of December 2012. The Cabinet also discussed and accorded approval to the Amendments to the Pakistan Institute of Fashion and Design Act, 2011. According to the proposed amendments to the Act, the Vice Chancellor of the Institute will be Chief Executive Officer and Principal Accounting Officer having all powers prescribed for this purpose. The Cabinet also accorded its approval to start negotiations on Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the Field of Disaster Management between the Civil Defence of the Republic of Cuba and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Pakistan. Both the countries can benefit from strengthening bilateral co-operation in sharing expertise in disaster risk reduction, information and scientific research, multi hazard risk mapping, exchange of scientists, training of technical experts in Disaster Risk Management (DRM) institutions and enhancing co-operation in establishment of field hospitals for medical care during emergencies. The Cabinet also accorded approval for signing of Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Kyrgyz Republic and NDMA, Pakistan on Disaster Prevention and Elimination. Both the countries will benefit from mutual collaboration, share experience and offer assistance to each other during mutual disasters. The Cabinet considered and accorded approval for ratification of MoU on Defence Co-operation between Italy and Pakistan. The agreement envisages co-operation in the fields of security and defence policy, peacekeeping and humanitarian operations, military training and exercises, defence industry and procurement/exchange of defence equipment etc. The Cabinet also accorded Ex-post facto approval of signing of the agreement on Defence Co-operation between the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Pakistan. The Cabinet also accorded its approval for signing of agreement between government of Thailand and Pakistan on mutual exemption of visa requirements for the holders of diplomatic passports. The Cabinet also considered and approved signing of MoU by National Language Promotion Department and the Academy of Persian Language and Literature (Farhangistan-i-Zuban-o-Adab-i-Farsi), Islamic Republic of Iran. According to the agreement, both the organisations would launch bilateral co-operation programmes to strengthening their friendly relations and institutional capacities. For the purpose, joint training programmes, joint research, joint seminars and exchange of delegation are proposed. The Cabinet considered and accorded approval to the ratification of South Asian Association of Regional Co-operation (SAARC) Agreement on multilateral arrangements on recognition of conformity assessment and SAARC agreement on implementation of regional standards. The Cabinet considered and accorded its approval to the annual report of the National Economic Council (NEC) for the financial year 2011-12. The Cabinet also granted ex-post facto approval for signing of joint declaration on co-operation between Pakistan and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) member states. The Cabinet approved the draft agreement between the Government of Turkmenistan and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on joint Inter-Governmental Commission on Economic Co-operation. The Cabinet considered and gave its approval for ratification of agreement for co-operation in the legal field between the Government of State of Qatar and the Government of Pakistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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45 wind power projects under process: minister

Federal Minister for Water and Power, Ahmed Mukhtar has said that 45 wind power projects of around 3,200MW capacity are under process with 106MW ready for commercial operation with another 150MW wind projects under construction. The minister was addressing the launching ceremony of commemorative postal stamp on inauguration of Pakistan's first 50MW wind energy project by FFC here on Wednesday as chief guest. He said next year at least 10 more projects will be in progress with an investment of over $2 billion. Mukhtar said that commencement of commercial operation of FFC wind farm is the beginning of exploiting the wind potential of renowned GharoKeti Bandar Wind Corridor- an area that alone offers power generation potential of 50,000MW. "I feel exalted that many more wind power projects are in pipeline and would commence their commercial operations one after another in the coming months," he added. Mukhtar said that Pakistan is an energy deficient country and with rising population growth and growing economy Pakistan's energy demand are continuously rising. He said that the present government has added generation to the national grid by completing thermal and small hydro plant but admitted that there is a gap between demand and supply. "We have made a comprehensive plan to change our energy mix to generate cheaper electricity," he continued. He further said that next year the projects from "waste to energy", "small hydro", and "sugar co-generation" will be in place. He said Fauji Fertiliser will be adding 10MW solar pv to the 50MW wind project, making this a hybrid - base-load plant, adding that he has directed Nepra to announce the feed-in-tariff for the solar plants as early as possible. CEO, AEDB Arif Allauddin in his welcome address said that the country would see more new projects in the alternative energy sector. Managing Director of FFC, Lieutenant General R Khalid Naeem Lodhi also spoke on the occasion and said that the company is planning to invest more capital in the power sector and other wind projects with Chinese collaboration are under construction and would soon be completed.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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Hungarian envoy for more trade, investment

Hungarian Ambassador to Pakistan Istvan Szabo has said that water management, livestock and agriculture are common grounds between the two countries which can further be explored by sharing knowledge and expert skills in key areas of co-operation. He also commended the efforts of Hungarian petrol company for establishment of three gas plants in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) with the investment of US $1.4 billion. Hungarian ambassador made these remarks during a meeting with Chief Executive Officer Punjab Board of Investment and Trade (PBIT), Javed Akbar and his team held at PBIT office. Hungarian envoy was accompanied by Szanto Attila, First Secretary Embassy of Hungary and Mahtab Mohiuddin, Honorary Consul General of Hungary. Hungarian diplomats were enlightened about the unmatched potential of Punjab as a province. Szabo also took the opportunity to officially request PBIT CEO Javed Akbar to engage Punjab-based businesses and NGOs to attend a major international water event (Budapest World Water Summit) in October 2013. CEO PBIT Javed Akbar along with PBIT directors also identified Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation as key areas for co-operation between the two countries. He said that Hungary has the strategic knowledge and expert skills of Animal Breeding while Pakistan has the World's 3rd largest livestock population. Lending a hand in shaping the future of trade and investment between the two countries, PBIT also offered to host and facilitate the Hungarian delegation scheduled to visit Lahore in February. Hungarian diplomats were also presented with PBIT shields as souvenirs.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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Gwadar Port transfer to China approved by Cabinet: IP gas project gets formal go-ahead

The federal cabinet on Wednesday formally approved the signing of agreement to construct Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline and constituted a ministerial committee to explore avenues for arranging funds worth $1.5 billion for the project. Briefing media persons after the Cabinet meeting, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said that the meeting, which was presided over by the Prime Minister, approved the signing of the agreement with Iran on the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) work along with financing for the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project (Pakistan Segment). He said that a ministerial committee, comprising Ministers for Finance, Law, Petroleum and National Resources and the Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, was also constituted to analyse the project and determine ways to arrange funding for the project. Kaira said that the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project would help minimise energy problems. In reply to a question, he said that Pakistan would arrange $1.5 billion funding for the project. The Minister also dispelled the impression that the construction of pipeline had been completed on the Iranian side, saying that Iran had not yet completed construction of gas pipeline on its side. To a question about Strategic Trade Policy Framework 2012-15 (STPF-2012-15), the Minister said that the cabinet had granted approval to the trade policy and a detailed briefing would be given by senior officials of the commerce ministry on Thursday (today) to explain various dimensions of the policy. Kaira said that the federal cabinet also approved the transfer of Port of Singapore Authority shares to China Overseas holding company for early completion of the Gwadar port project. He stated that the Cabinet also accorded permission to allow the transfer of concession agreement of the Gwadar Port from the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) to the China Overseas Port Holding Limited to amend the concession agreement and SRO''s accordingly for early completion of the Port. The Federal Cabinet also approved Ombudsman Institutional Reforms Bill 2013 subject to vetting by the law ministry designed for empowering the federal ombudsman. The minister said it would be mandatory for all the public sector and public funded organisations to comply with orders of the federal ombudsman within 15 days. The proposed legislation for granting financial and administrative autonomy to Ombudsman was aimed at providing justice to the common man. The Cabinet also approved for starting negotiation on an MoU between the Philippines and Pakistan for defence co-operation. The Cabinet also approved the starting of negotiation on the draft of an MoU between the governments of Pakistan and the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland for enhancing co-operation and co-ordination in the field of narcotics control. Replying to questions, Kaira said that five members committee would try to develop a consensus among all stakeholders within eight to 10 days regarding dissolution of assemblies and for holding of elections on National Assembly and provincial assembly seats on the same day to save expenditure. The Minister claimed that the government had not backed off from implementing the Charter of Democracy (CoD). He acknowledged the increase in inflation, but claimed that people''s salaries had also been raised proportionately.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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$3.34 billion released for the fuel sector in 12 years: Pakistan receives $7.2 billion as BoP support

Pakistan received $7.2 billion for balance of payment support and $3.34 billion for the fuel sector between the fiscal years 2000 and 2012 from external sources, Business Recorder learnt on Sunday. Data obtained by Business Recorder shows that for the past 12 years, Pakistan received $3.3 billion for the power sector, $2.6 billion for transport and communication sectors and $2.3 billion was disbursed for Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation. Data also shows that over the past five years, Pakistan received loans worth $14.4 billion from multilateral and bilateral donors. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) remained the major loan provider between the fiscal years 2007-08 and 2011-12, releasing $5.1 billion. The Bank released $1.8 billion in 2007-08, $1.5 billion in 2008-09, $921 million 2009-10, $478 million in 2010-11 and $402 million in the previous fiscal year. International Development Association (IDA), a subsidiary of the World Bank, released $261 million in 2007-08, $847 million in 2008-09, $700 million in 2009-10, $775 in 2010-11 and $567 million in the previous fiscal year. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) disbursed $352 million to Pakistan since 2008. Islamic Development Bank (IDB) released $699 million in 2007-08, $655 million in 2008-09, $569 million in 2009-10, none in 2010-11 and $149 million in 2011-12. Japan released loans amounting to $470 million during the past five years while the US released nothing as loan assistance to Pakistan during this period: all its assistance was grant assistance during the period under review. China released loans of $2.2 billion, Saudi Arabia $754 million while Germany disbursed $64.2 million over the past five years.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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Byco's new refinery completes initial run

Byco's newly completed oil refinery successfully completed its initial run of about 48 hours and was able to produce on-spec HSFO, HSD and naphtha. This initial run was conducted during the course of pre-commissioning and commissioning activities. Following this activity, the new refinery will shortly be put to continuous 72 hours trial run. This is yet another milestone achieved which is a step forward towards smooth and safe commercial production. Qaiser Jamal, CEO, Byco Oil Pakistan Limited, said, "This is yet another significant achievement by our commissioning and operations teams. With the blessings of Almighty Allah, we are close to the commencing of commercial production from country's largest oil refinery." The new refinery with a crude oil processing capacity of 120,000 barrels per day will be the largest in the country. Based on full throughput it is expected to produce on annual basis about 1.6 million tons of HSFO, 2.4 million tons of HSD and 1.1 million tons of MS. As all these products are in deficit and are being imported therefore, production from this new refinery will replace import and thus help save foreign exchange for the country. Byco group has already installed and commissioned first ever SPM in the country. This is located at approximately 10.5 kilometres into the Arabian Sea, off the refinery's Mouza Kund site, in Balochistan. The SPM facilitates larger sized tankers to take berth and meet the crude oil processing requirement of the two Byco refineries.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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TAPI gas line, ATT vital: Pakistan can become trade, energy hub: US

The United States on Saturday said that Pakistan could become a trade and energy hub of this world, adding that TAPI gas pipeline agreement and Afghan Transit Trade can play a vital part for achieving this goal, Aaj News reported. The US ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson said the US had paid $1.8bn to Pakistan during last year for Coalition Support Fund and paid over $10bn for war against terror. Talking about importance of Pakistan, the ambassador said that US would not left Pakistan alone as Pakistan is a very important country for the US. Commenting on India-Pakistan talks over LoC, the US ambassador said both the countries should ensure transparency for cease-fire. He further said that Pakistan''s invitation to India for dialogue over Kashmir issue is a positive step.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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Separate Sui gas region to be established for Sialkot: Dr Asim

Minister of State for Petroleum Dr Asim Hussain has said that strenuous efforts were being made for resolving the problems being faced by the industrial sector of Sialkot. Sialkot is an export-oriented city and hub of cottage industry and playing tremendous role in strengthening the national economy, Hussain said while addressing a public meeting at Saidpur on Sunday. He announced to establish a separate region of Sui Gas for Sialkot to facilitate the industrial sector of Sialkot. Dr Asim further stated that the energy crisis would be resolved within next two years, adding that main reason of energy and gas crisis was to provide 3000 megawatt electricity to the consumers. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was facing series of conspiracies but with the active support of the people all such conspiracies would be foiled, he added. Speaking on the occasion, AJK President Sardar Yaqoob Ali Khan said that Kashmiris were struggling for the liberation of their motherland from the Indian yoke since long, adding that innocent Kashmiris were facing barbarism and Indian occupation forces were committing serious human rights violations. The refugees settled in Pakistan will take active part in fast approaching election of Pakistan and they will vote for Pakistan People's Party, he added. The AJK President said that problems being faced by the refugees settled in Sialkot would be resolved at earliest possible. Federal Minister for National Regulations and Services Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said that "Long March" is conspiracy against Pakistan and it will be a complete failure and faces of anti-Pakistan elements would be exposed.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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PPL to start drilling in Arabian Sea

ISLAMABAD, Jan 8: The Pakistan Petroleum Limited, in collaboration with ENI, a foreign exploratory firm, is set to start drilling of a well in the Arabian Sea along Pakistani waters for discovery of oil. The PPL has acquired exploration rights in a block located at 100km from Baghdad for oil exploration and it is hopeful about discovery of oil. In a briefing to Senate Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources at the Parliament House, the PPL MD, Asif Murtaza, informed that drilling of exploratory well has already started in the block acquired in Iraq and there are bright chances of oil discovery. In case of major success, the Pakistani company would benefit. The company is already working in Yemen on two blocks. Regarding previous attempts made by the company to find oil from the sea, off Pakistani coast, the PPL MD informed the committee that in Mekran deep sea, some 12 exploration wells were drilled, but none succeeded. The committee, which met with Senator Mohammad Yousuf in the chair, was informed that many foreign exploration companies still have interest in drilling of exploration well in Mekran Deep Sea. However, drilling has been delayed for one year due to various reasons. Additional Secretary of Petroleum Naeem Malik informed the committee that drilling of an exploration well in deep-sea requires at least $100 million investment and foreign companies take decisions with due care. The federal government recently announced new exploration incentives and the companies which would make first three discoveries in deep-sea would be given extra benefits with incentives to encourage more companies to come forward. The PPL MD informed that PPL is working in Zandan Block (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and is planning to acquire five more blocks in KPK as Tal Block area has great potential of discoveries. To exploit un-conventional gas reserves in the country, some seven exploratory wells, eight appraisal wells, and 19 development wells have been planned in the next five years and the expected outcome would be 150bcf shale and tight gas production in the country. He informed that shale gas and tight gas price approval has been sought from the regulator to speed up exploration activity. He further informed that some seven pilot projects have been planned for exploration of shale and tight gas reserves. He further informed that in Kirthar block, one exploratory well Rahman-1 is under way. He informed that Hala, Kotri, Notari North, Jangshahi, Gambat and South blocks are potential areas for discovery of shale and tight gas reserves. The committee was informed that PPL has geared up its seismic survey in the country and some 780sq kms were surveyed in 2011-12, while during the current fiscal year, some 1,400sq km have been surveyed.During the meeting, it was informed that District Kohlu (Balochistan) has huge gas reserves and due to law and order situation, exploration companies do not go there. The committee was informed that the federal government was collecting 12.5 per cent royalty on gas production and the entire amount is transferred to provinces and if any provincial government is not spending the amount on welfare of its population or in the relevant district, where oil and gas have been found, it is their internal issue.

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