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News Headlines for the month of
JUNE 2013

Coal-fired power plants: Pakistan seeks UK expertise

President Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday said that sustained efforts should continue to go beyond the target of £2.5 billion set under 2012 Pakistan-UK Trade and Investment Roadmap. The President said that there is a huge scope of UK Foreign Direct Investment in energy, infrastructure development, agriculture, agro-industry and mining. He said that Pakistan looks forward to UK''s investment especially in the energy sector. Highlighting the investment-friendly regime of the country, the President said that Pakistan would welcome both types of UK investors - those who want partnerships and those who want to operate independently. "We are working simultaneously on coal mining and coal-generated power plants and would welcome UK expertise," he said. The President said this during his meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron here at Aiwan-e-Sadr on Saturday night. While thanking the British Prime Minister for his personal efforts in securing trade concessions for Pakistan in the EU and UK''s advocacy for Autonomous Trade Preferences for Pakistan, the President said that Pakistan was keen to be included in the GSP Plus Scheme in 2014. He said that Pakistan would greatly welcome UK assistance for early consideration of its request by the EU. The President said that GSP Plus would create jobs and economic opportunities for Pakistan''s unemployed youth which is the most effective tool to neutralise the threat posed by militants and extremists. President''s Spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar while briefing about the meeting said the President said that Pakistan is a staunch supporter of peace and stability in Afghanistan and it would continue to support every effort aimed at restoring sustainable and long-term peace to the war-torn country. The President emphasised a constructive approach. He believes that dialogue and reconciliation was the only war forward towards ensuring durable peace in Afghanistan. The President welcomed efforts being made for finding a peaceful solution to the long drawn conflict in Afghanistan. He expressed the hope that the efforts made would also take into account legitimate concerns of all the stakeholders. Discussing bilateral relations, the President said that Pakistan considers the UK as a friend and genuine development partner. He said that it was a matter of great satisfaction that Pak-UK Enhanced Strategic Dialogue (ESD) covers entire spectrum of bilateral relations and has institutionalised our consultation process in all areas of mutual interest. Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the British Prime Minister at the very outset of the meeting congratulated the President for overseeing a smooth transition from one democracy to another and observed that the smooth transition of the Government reflected a measure of maturity achieved by the country and augurs well for further strengthening of democratic traditions in the country. President Zardari while thanking the visiting dignitary remarked that the credit for smooth transition went to all political parties, the Parliament and above all the people of Pakistan for participation in the electoral process despite threats from militants and anti-democratic elements. He said that the smooth transition of the Government as a result of the electoral process was a clear demonstration that the ethos of our people was democratic and that was why dictatorship failed to take roots in the country. Spokesperson said that two rounds of talks were held - one at the delegation level and the other a one-on-one meeting. Pak-UK bilateral relations and the regional situation was discussed during the meetings with special reference to some recent developments aimed at bringing peace in the neighbouring country. Discussing regional situation, the President recalled the three Trilateral Summits that were facilitated by the United Kingdom and appreciated its role towards promoting reconciliation in Afghanistan. He reiterated that Pakistan considers regional peace and security vital for its own socio-economic interests and it would continue to support every effort aimed at restoring peace, stability and development in Afghanistan and in the region. The President also appreciated UK assistance especially in the education sector and poverty alleviation. Those who were present at the meeting included Saeeda Warsi, Sir Kim Darroch, National Security Advisor, British High Commissioner Adam Thomson, and Ed Lewellyn. Pakistan side included Sartaj Aziz, Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Spokesperson to the President Senator Farhatullah Babar and Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani. Earlier, British Prime Minister David Cameron on Saturday arrived in Islamabad on an unannounced visit for wide ranging talks with the country''s leadership on bilateral co-operation and regional situation. He was greeted at the airport by Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid. The British Prime Minister arrived here after an unannounced visit to Afghanistan. Officials said that the visit could not be made public in advance because of security reasons. On the first day of the visit, the British Prime Minister called on President Asif Ali Zardari. He is also expected to hold talks with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday (today). The sources said that David Cameron is likely to discuss the Afghan reconciliation process, Doha talks, regional peace and the post-2014 scenario. The sources said that both sides would also exchange views on ways and means to diversify Pakistan-UK co-operation. The two sides, the sources said, would also exchange views on the regional situation and trilateral mechanism of Afghanistan, United Kingdom and Pakistan for reconciliation in Afghanistan and peace in the region. British soldiers could remain in Afghanistan until 2020 to help support the Afghan National Army to fight against insurgents. The sources maintained that Prime Minister David Cameron would also meet business leaders in Islamabad, besides discussing new avenues of bilateral co-operation for enhancing trade and investment. He will also meet students. A joint statement is expected to be issued at the conclusion of his visit on Sunday (today).

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Public-private partnership: ADB to set up solar energy projects in Punjab

Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Punjab government have agreed to enhance co-operation in energy sector. ADB would set up solar energy projects under public-private partnership in Punjab. The first project of solar energy will be completed within a year whereas ADB will complete 2000MW solar energy projects within two years in Punjab. Besides solar energy, ADB will also extend co-operation in coal, biomass, biogas and hydro energy projects. It was agreed during a meeting between Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and ADB delegation at Model Town on Saturday. Senior Advisor of Asian Development Bank for Public Private Partnership, Central and West Asian Department Chin Fong, Nianshan Zhang, Adrian Torres, Shauzab Ali, Provincial Minister for Energy Sher Ali Khan, Chief Secretary, Advisor Azmul Haq, Secretary Energy and experts were present on the occasion. Talking to the delegation, Shahbaz said that setting up of solar energy projects in Punjab by ADB is a good step. He expressed his desire that the work should be started on these projects expeditiously and completed at the earliest so that people could get rid of electricity crisis. He said that PML-N government has made a promise to the people to reduce energy crisis and it will have to fulfil this promise at all cost. He said that besides solar energy, ADB should also extend co-operation in coal, biomass, biogas and hydro energy projects and result oriented steps should be taken speedily in this regard. He said that load-shedding has caused irreparable loss to agriculture, industry and economy. Shahbaz Sharif said that we have no other option except to reduce energy crisis and have to march forward with supersonic speed for this purpose. He said that if Punjab government can complete gigantic metro bus project with 11 months, then there is no reason that energy projects could not be set up at the earliest. Senior Advisor Asian Development Bank Chin Fong said on this occasion that besides solar energy, ADB would also extend co-operation in coal, biomass, biogas and hydro energy projects and try its best to complete the first project at the earliest.

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Punjab to provide solar-powered tube-wells to farmers: minister

Punjab government will provide bio-gas and solar-powered tube-wells to the small farmers of the province with a cost of Rs 7.5 billion. This was disclosed by Punjab Minister for Agriculture, Dr Farrukh Javed at a meeting held at the Agriculture House to review the project of distributing bio-gas and solar-powered tube wells on subsidy to the small growers of the province on Saturday. Project Director Dr Ghaffar Dogar briefed the participants of the meeting about the utility of bio-gas and solar-powered pumps. Speaking on the occasion, the provincial minister said that objective of the government is to introduce alternative and cheaper quality method of irrigation. He said that this will not only provide cheaper energy to the people but they will also be able to dispose off cow dung in a better way. He said that solar powered pumps and bio-gas powered pumps will be provided to farmers across the province according to their requirement. He said it will be provided to farmers having land from 5 acres to 12.5 acres of land. Participants of the meeting were of the view that these sources are not only environment friendly but can also meet the energy requirements of 65 per cent population.

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USAID, Pesco join hands to minimise loadshedding

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Thursday launched two new activities to minimise unscheduled loadshedding for Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) and customers, while enable better planning around shortages. Currently, unplanned loadshedding is one of the leading irritants in the country's power crisis, impacting two percent of Pakistan's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and an estimated 400,000 jobs in 2012. Loadshedding is a consequence of the imbalance between power generation and a growing demand. Unscheduled loadshedding, however, is the result of a lack of information and can be reduced by improving real-time knowledge of the loads of individual power distribution companies, according to press release issued here on Thursday. "The US government is committed to assisting the Government of Pakistan in improving the power distribution system in the country. We work with public sector power sector distribution companies to improve their operations, reduce losses and ultimately to make sure that consumers have a more reliable supply of power," said US Consul General Robert Reed. "The Load Data Improvement (LDI) and telemetry activities are two of several efforts that USAID is undertaking in co-operation with Pesco to better manage power delivery to the people and businesses of Fata and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa," said Ms Melissa Knight, USAID Energy Office Director during her visit. This assistance to Pesco is one example of US support to increase the power production and improve its delivery to consumers. The US is funding completion of Satpara and Gomal Zam dams, supporting renovation of Tarbela, Guddu, Jamshoro, and Muzaffargharh power plants, and working with all nine government-owned power distribution companies to modernise their operations. Together, these efforts have already added almost 900 megawatts to the national power grid, an amount sufficient to provide electricity for 14 million homes and businesses.

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USAID assists Discos to use HHU device for metre reading

Kamalabad subdivision has become the first subdivision of Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) to implement Hand Held Unit (HHU) devices for the metre reading. The project was carried out with the support of USAID Power Distribution Programme to cut Iesco's losses and improve revenues in Kamalabad subdivision. The entire consumers of Kamalabad subdivision received bills that were read by using HHUs which has tremendously reduced customer complaints of incorrect billing. USAID has implemented similar project in other Discos including MEPCO. Commercial department in Discos is responsible for revenue collection from end consumers. This process includes metre reading, bill printing through bill collection. The current metre reading practice at Discos is paper based. This process is very time consuming and is vulnerable to errors. Human intervention at multiple levels within billing process leads to manipulation of data and results in incorrect billing. This increases the number of customer complaints and delay in bill collection and often results in losses to Discos. The USAID Power Distribution Programme has successfully implemented a metre reading project at Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) to improve the metre reading practices by introducing technology. Power Distribution Programme in close consultation of IESCO management identified a low cost activity that helped to replace paper based metre reading practices with electronic metre reading such as the introduction of handheld devices for metre reading. The project has been implemented at IESCO Kamalabad subdivision. Subdivision metre readers were provided on field training about the new metre reading techniques and devices. Meter reader has to take the metre snap after manually punching in the metre dial value. Kamalabad subdivision consumers received the bill for the month of May that was read by using these new devices. The Subdivision Officer (SDO) of Kamalabad, Mohammad Riaz while talking about this activity expressed his gratitude to USAID Power Distribution Program for introducing technology in metre reading practice that has helped in reducing customer complaints. He remarked that the intervention helped his staff to work more efficiently while saving on average 2-3 hours per day of each metre reader. He envisaged that in next step if this system was implemented on Division and Circle level it would help to reduce the billing cycle. This intervention ensures the correct and timely bill to consumer. HHU has helped in identifying the under billed consumers by introducing integrity in metre reading process and helped in improvements in the revenue collection of the subdivision Kamalabad. IESCO has shown interest in this project and likely to expand this activity to other divisions and circles.

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Energy, mass transit: Pakistan, China sign MoU

Pakistan and China on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for co-operation in the fields of energy, mass transit, industrial cities and road sector projects. The MoU was signed between Ministry of Water and Power and China-based M/s Norinco International, as the company''s delegation headed by its Vice President Wang Yitong is currently visiting Pakistan. Amid presence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Wang Yitong of M/s Norinco and Anwar Ahmed Khan, Secretary Water and Power signed the MoU. According to the MoU, M/S Norinco and the government of Pakistan would pursue co-operation in the fields of mass transit, energy projects specifically solar in different provinces. The company would also help the host country for setting up industrial cities along Motorways, solar irrigation and road sector projects. The Chinese company undertook to facilitate financial assistance from Chinese government on a fast track basis. Under the terms and conditions of the MoU, Pakistan would utilise financial, technical and managerial expertise of M/s Norinco International in the aforesaid fields and other such sectors which may be identified from time to time with mutual consent of both the parties. The Chinese company would try to provide financing and technical support, assistance and services pertaining to the said sectors to Pakistan''s government. The specific mode for implementing the projects would be developed and finalised on the basis of mutual consent between the parties. The MoU would come into force at once and would remain valid till such time as agreed to by the parties. Among others also present during the signing ceremony were Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar, Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif and Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal.-PR

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EDB unveils CWS technology

Amid ongoing zest for locating an economically and environmentally viable coal technology to address the looming energy crisis, the Engineering Development Board (EDB) has identified Clean Coal Technology (CCT) to run country's existing power plants. Based entirely on indigenous coal, EDB unveils broad contours of the technology during a workshop organised in collaboration with NUST under its Industrial Research Program (IRP), a program developed to foster industry-academia linkages for commercialisation of research. The Coal Water Slurry Fuel Technology or CWS is the cheaper, cleaner and environmentally friendly replacement of furnace oil, diesel and natural gas for power generation. It converts coal to liquid form by adding certain amount of water and admixtures to it and is fired just like furnace oil at highly efficient combustion rate at lower temperature. Indigenous coal by virtue of having high moisture content ideally suits this tested technology, which runs power plants in USA, Russia, Indonesia and India. In China around 100 power plants are being run using CWS Technology. The approximate capital cost of a new power plant on CWS Technology is $1.25 million while the present thermal power plants only require certain retrofitting of existing power plants especially the boilers, to make them run on CWS in a short span of less than one year.-PR

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Discos' officials to visit Philippines on study tour

The US Government organised a study tour for professionals from Pakistan's government-owned power distribution companies (Discos) to Manila, and Cebu City Philippines. Exposure to modern commercial procedures and consumer outreach methods were intended to teach Pakistani energy professionals how to strengthen commercial operations and customer service. "We work with public sector power distribution companies to improve their operations, reduce losses and ultimately to make sure that Pakistani citizens have a more reliable supply of electricity," said Craig VanDevelde, Chief of Party of USAID Power Distribution Program. During their exchange visits to Manila, and Cebu City DISCO managers will have the opportunity to observe operations at several of the finest energy facilities. The program includes presentations, site visits and roundtable discussions to address specific topics related to communications, customer service, and commercial management at the distribution companies. USAID, under its Power Distribution Program, has conducted eleven exchange programs to Turkey, South Africa, Australia, UAE, Thailand, Philippines and the United States. Approximately 12 to 14 DISCO managers were selected for each program and all nine DISCOS throughout the country including Lesco-Lahore, Mepco-Multan, Gepco- Gujranwala, Fesco - Faisalabad, Iesco-Islamabad, Pesco-Peshawar, Qesco-Quetta, Sepco-Sukkur and Hesco-Hyderabad. The five-year USAID Power Distribution Program was announced by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2009.

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Chinese company invited to install solar power plants: NORINCO chief calls on Prime Minister

A five-member delegation led by Wang Yitong, Chairman, China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO), called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif here on Thursday. The Chairman, NORINCO, congratulated Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the assumption of his office as the Chief Executive of the country. The Chairman, NORINCO, briefed the PM that his company was one of the 500 largest state owned enterprises in terms of assets and revenue and deals in various areas, including petroleum, mining, engineering and infrastructure projects. The Chairman informed the PM that after the successful visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to Pakistan they had enjoyed special support of the Chinese government and leadership to boost business relations between the two friendly countries and undertake projects in Pakistan. The PM said Pakistan was experiencing a severe power shortage. He invited NORINCO, which was engaged in production of solar power plants, to install solar power plants in Pakistan. The PM said "we have vast areas in Balochistan and South Punjab which have sunshine round the year and there is ample land available for installation of solar power plants." He also discussed with them the possibility of installation of solar energy plants in Balochistan where population was thin, scattered and at distances. That, he said, would help save laying of transmission lines which had a prohibitive cost. The PM also offered NORINCO to look into mining and setting up of coal power plants at sites in Thar, Balochistan and Punjab where coal was available. The work on the mining and setting up of Thermal Power plants, the PM said, could be carried out simultaneously so that the power could be produced as quickly as possible. The PM also offered NORINCO to look into the exploration of iron ore in the country. The PM also discussed the possibilities of projects for running underground trains in Karachi, Lahore and twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad in order to facilitate commuters in these cities. The Chairman, NORINCO said his company was serious and keen to take up projects in Pakistan. In this connection, the Chairman informed the PM that on his return to China, he would immediately dispatch his team of experts to Pakistan to initiate discussions and take those ideas forward. The PM assured the Chinese delegation that his government was ready and shall extend all possible support and co-operation to NORINCO for expediting the process so that work on those projects could start in right earnest. The meeting was attended by Mohammad Shahbaz Sharif Chief Minister Punjab, Khawaja Muhammad Asif Minister for Water and Power and Ahsan Iqbal Minister for Planning and Development.-PR

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Conversion of ATMs to solar power: Bank Alfalah signs MoU with Buksh Energy

As part of Bank Alfalah's efforts to promote financial solutions that are innovative, eco-friendly and cost-effective, the Bank has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Buksh Energy. Through this collaboration, the Bank will lead the financial services industry in converting to renewable energy sources, namely solar power with the aim of "Going Green". The signing ceremony took place between Bank Alfalah and Buksh Energy in Lahore on Monday. Bank Alfalah's President, Atif Bajwa and Buksh Energy's CEO, Asim Buksh were present to mark the inception of a promising partnership between the two companies. The initiation of this alliance began with the successful installation of 2KW solar plants and the conversion of two of the Bank's ATMs to solar power by Buksh Energy. The plants are capable of running the ATM, security system, branch servers and routers, as well as an independent light load, operating 24/7. The solar plant produces 12KWh of energy per day (4.38MWh per annum) per ATM converted on solar. The ATMs are connected to the online portal, where energy production is recorded and logged, and can be monitored constantly. Speaking at the occasion, Bank Alfalah's CEO Atif Bajwa said, "Given the challenging energy shortfall being faced by the country, it is imperative that we each take responsibility and endeavour to play our part in order to improve the existing situation. To this end, our collaboration with Buksh Energy is part of our broader aim to move in the direction of environment-friendly alternate energy sources, which should also enhance our efficiency by both reducing costs as well as ensuring zero downtime. ATMs are a key delivery channel for any Bank and we are pleased that with this conversion, our ATMs are now functioning 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our financial savings are considerable, the effect on our consumer service index has also been very positive and most importantly, our carbon footprint has reduced by 5,760kg. We hope our efforts with Buksh energy can become a successful example for other institutions and businesses to follow in the future." Bank Alfalah currently boasts a network of 378 ATMs and aims to convert its expansive network and several of its branches to solar power in the near future. Speaking at the ceremony, Asim Buksh elaborated on the installation process and said, "We have found a way to make running ATMs increasingly cost-efficient and energy-efficient for Bank Alfalah, and we hope to be able to do the same for many others in the future. The smallest things make the biggest differences and the conversion of ATMs across the country to solar power will generate 25,300 MWh of energy yearly. Buksh Energy is offering energy audits conducted by our teams of experts to calculate what the energy load is for a particular building so that we can find the right solar solutions and ways to conserve energy. Our process is streamlined, efficient and most importantly, green." He also offered some comments on what the future holds in terms of alternative energy in Pakistan and the role Buksh Energy will play. "Bank Alfalah is a very energy conscious bank and it's an honour for us to work with them on this exciting venture.-PR

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India offers services to generate cheap electricity

As the new government has started working on ways to resolve the acute energy crisis, Indian power sector companies have also offered their services to Pakistani policymakers for generation of cheap electricity, well informed sources told Business Recorder. According to sources, Desein Private Ltd -a Delhi based company- through its Pakistani associate, Meshe International, has submitted different proposals to the Ministry of Water and Power. The company in its communication with the Ministry has proposed power generation from local coal/lignite which is the most economical mechanism across the globe. The company, which claims of having relevant experience of using coal/lignite, maintains that it can conceptualise the power plant from site selection, project development, engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning. Regarding operation and maintenance of coal-fired power plants the company provides services to half a dozen clients including primarily Captive Power Plants (CPPs) in India and one plant in United Arab Emirates (UAE). The firm is also interested in extending services for the establishment of ash handling plant. "We deliver the complete AHP for a power plant on an EPC basis. The largest power plant which we have completed is 8x500 MW installation of Tata Power Co," the sources quoted the company as saying in communication. For coal handling plant, the firm delivers on Engineering, Procurement and construction basis. Currently, besides others, the firm is executing a 2x250 MW power plant based on lignite in Gujarat (India). The firm also possesses valuable experience of having executed numerous projects where the steam generator, auxiliaries and the turbine generator auxiliaries for coal based power plants were provided by others and the rest of the facilities as well as their integration on an EPC basis was carried out by Indure. Currently, the largest such power plant under execution is an Independent Power Producer (IPP) of capacity 2x525 MW. The company has also offered to establish CPPs 100 MW capacity with complete responsibility on turnkey basis of entire facility on EPC basis. In the past, the company built more than a dozen such plants of varying capacity and fuel.

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Pakistan''s growth in electricity access phenomenal: World Bank

Pakistan has made substantial progress in electrification both in absolute terms and relative to the size of its population over the past two decades, World Bank''s report on ''Global Tracking Framework showed. According to the report, 60 percent of Pakistan''s total population had access to electricity in 1990, 80 percent in 2000 while 91 percent population got access to electricity by 2010. By 2010, 88 percent people of rural and 98 percent of the country''s urban population had access to electricity. In terms of electricity access deficit, Pakistan ranked 16th, reflecting that as many as 15 million Pakistanis were without power. Around 1.2 billion people in this world have no access to electricity, the report maintained. The report identified a group of 20 countries where access to electricity grew the fastest relative to the size of their overall population. These countries provided new electricity service to at least two percent of their populations annually. Only two countries - the United Arab Emirates and Qatar - kept the pace of electrification above 3.5 percent of their populations annually. Interestingly, Iraq, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Pakistan belong to both groups, showing substantial progress in electrification both in absolute terms and relative to the size of their respective populations. Of the 20 countries with the largest number of people with access to electricity over the past 20 years, 12 are in Asia. They introduced 1.3 billion people to electricity (of the 1.7 billion electrified globally between 1990 and 2010), 283 million more than their population increase. The most impressive expansion of electrification occurred in India, China, Indonesia, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The advances in these populous countries are of enormous significance for achievement of the global universal access target. The achievement of universal access to modern energy will depend critically on efforts of 20 high-impact countries. Together, these countries account for more than two thirds of the population currently living without electricity (0.9 billion people) and more than four-fifths of the global population without access to non-solid fuels (2.4 billion people). In terms of electricity, India has by far the largest access deficit; exceeding 300 million people, while for non-solid cooking fuel, India and China each have access deficits exceeding 600 million people. The detailed World Bank report, which outlines challenges shows that India happens to be the most deprived country as far as provision of energy is concerned: as many as 306.2 million of its people are still without this basic utility. The remaining 19 nations lacking access to energy, with the number of deprived people is as follows: Nigeria (82.4 million), Bangladesh (66.4 million), Ethiopia (63.9 million), Congo (55.9 million), Tanzania (38.2 million), Kenya (31.2 million), Sudan (30.9 million), Uganda (28.5 million), Myanmar (24.6 million), Mozambique (19.9 million), Afghanistan (18.5 million), Korea (18 million), Madagascar (17.8 million), the Philippines (15.6 million), Pakistan (15 million), Burkina Faso (14.3 million), Niger (14.1 million), Indonesia (14 million) and Malawi 13.6 million). The report maintains that the rate of access to electricity and use of non-solid fuel as primary fuel for cooking will have to increase from their 2010 levels of 83 and 59 percent, respectively, to 100 percent by 2030. The rate of improvement of energy intensity will have to double from 1.3 percent for 1990-2010 to 2.6 percent for 2010-30. The share of renewable energy in the global final energy consumption will have to double from an estimated starting point of 18 percent in 2010, implying an objective of up to 36 percent by 2030.

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US officials visit Hesco

United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Deputy Mission Director, Skip Waskin, and US Consulate General Karachi Public Affairs Officer, Corina Sanders on Monday met with officials at the Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (HESCO) and then with 100 students studying English on a US government-funded program. Helping to strengthen Pakistan's energy sector in ways that increase the supply of electricity to consumers is a top assistance priority for the United States government. That's why is USAID funded the development of the Hesco's planning and engineering center. Deputy Director Waskin and Public Affairs Officer Sanders visited the computer center on Monday to see HESCO engineers using the latest generation of sophisticated computers and software to help ensure a more reliable supply of power to consumers. Speaking at the computer centre, Waskin said, "I am delighted to see how this US-funded computer center allows the Hesco to assess energy losses and develop plans to ensure a more reliable supply of electricity to consumers." USAID has established similar computer centers in seven other distribution companies throughout the country. In addition to these activities, the United States is renovating thermal plants at Jamshoro, Guddu, and Muzaffagarh, which have already added 650 megawatts to the national grid since September 2011. The US government is also co-financing the completion of the Gomal Zam and Satpara dams, which will add another 35MWs and irrigate more than 200,000 acres. Finally, it is helping to replace thousands of highly inefficient agricultural and municipal water pumps throughout the country to save additional megawatts. These and other major US energy projects will add 900MWs to the national grid by the end of this year - enough power to supply electricity to estimated two million households.-PR

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Hydropower Plants: over 2000 megawatts to be added to grid from June onwards, Supreme Court told

The Supreme Court was informed on Saturday that 2057MW additional power would be added to the national grid when hydropower plants begin to operate at full capacity of 6733MW from June to August. Managing Director National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) and Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of distribution companies (Discos) including Lesco, Fesco, Iesco, Mepco, Pesco, Sepco, Hesco and Qesco submitted joint compliance statement in pursuance of the apex court directives on the implementation of its orders for equitable electricity distribution. The report stated that in compliance with the orders of Supreme Court on May 31, 2013, subsequent to hearing of the case HRC No 14392/2013 a video conference was held on the same day with the CEOs of Discos. It added that the video con was chaired by the Minister of Water & Power. It was attended, among others, by Additional Secretary (Water & Power) Managing Director (Pepco)/(NTDC), GM NPCC, Chairman Irsa and Chief Engineer Hydel. The report maintained that orders of the Court regarding equitable load management amongst all categories of the consumers including domestic and industrial were conveyed to the Discos'' heads. They were vigorously directed to implement a fair, justful and equitable load shedding, irrespective of status of consumers besides improving their vigilance and monitoring of electricity system. It said it was also made clear in the light of apex court order that all CEOs of Discos were bound by the court directives "which shall be implemented without any exception." The report further confirmed that in pursuance of the court orders of May 31 in the instant matter MD Pepco and NTDC communicated to all concerned during the course of the day for strict compliance. It apprised the court that power generation from WAPDA Hydropower stations had started improving due to rising water inflows in Rivers Indus and Jhelum, saying releases from Tarbela and Mangla reservoirs fixed by IRSA had significantly increased. "During the last ten days (21st May to 30th May, 2013), hydel peak share in the total system generation has increased from 4674 MW to 5099 MW (425 MW increase)," the report said. It stated that the situation will further improve during the months June, July and August when hydel stations would be operating at their full capacity of 6733 MW, adding that total power generation was at a level of about 12500 MW. The court was also apprised that three IPPs with a total capacity of 600MW - Halmore, Liberty and Hubco Narowal - were not on the national grid because of various reasons, saying furnace oil and gas supplies were being ensured to maintain the level of generation where supply and demand gap was minimised. "Extended forced load shedding resulting from tripping of Guddu, Uch, Foundation and Habibullah Coastal Power Plants has almost been controlled," the report concluded.

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Dubai-based firm to set up 300MW coal-fired power unit at PQA: ministry

Officials of the Ministry of Ports and Shipping on Wednesday informed a parliamentary panel that M/s Burj Power will develop a coal-fired Independent Power Project (IPP) at Port Qasim with a capacity of 300 megawatts. The Senate''s standing committee on port and shipping, which met here with Sardar Fateh Muhammad Hassani in the chair, discussed the current status of development projects undertaken by Port Qasim Authority (PQA). PQA officials said that M/s Burj Power - a Dubai-based company - has shown interest in jointly developing a coal-fired power plant at PQA covering an area of 140 acres. The project''s capacity, they said, would later be enhanced to 600MW. M/s Burj Power will bring its own financial and human resources to develop and run the power plant in line with the policies of Private Power & Infrastructure Board (PPIB), PQA''s chairman Brigadier (Retd) Saeed Ahmed Khan said. The officials said that PQA had also been tasked to set up floating LNG terminals and developers including Pakistan GasPort Limited, Engro Corporation Limited, Global Energy Infrastructure Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd and Fauji Oil Terminal Company had already been allocated sites. Officials of the ministry said that the land issue with Pakistan Navy at the Gwadar port still remained to be resolved. The committee constituted a three-member sub-committee under the chairmanship of Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo to resolve the issue and report back in two months. It also directed the ministry to devise a comprehensive plan regarding the Port Qasim providing incentives to Balochistan. PQA officials said that coal and clinker/cement berth is under construction on BOT basis with a capacity of 8 million tons per annum at an estimated cost of $180 million. The berth would be designed to handle 75,000 DWT vessels. Implantation agreement was signed on October 26, 2010 and is expected to be completed by May 2015. They said that PQA has acquired a dredger from China Shipbuilding Trading Company (CSTC) on lease-purchase for a three-year period. The dredger arrived at PQA on January 5, 2013 and commenced dredging work with effect from January 7. A CSTC crew will man the dredger and be responsible for repair/maintenance during the lease period. Moreover, spare parts for repair/maintenance of the dredger are part of the Contract. Cost on consumables, including paints and docking, will be borne by the CSTC. PQA is to provide POL (fuel, lube oil, water and other necessary supplies) during the lease period. PQA will be saving nearly $10 million per annum on account of dredging. The officials further said that a state-of-the-art ASD Tug and a Pilot (with a 20-knot speed) built in Turkey arrived at PQA on April 22 this year. The cost of both vessels was $12.25 million. PQA officials informed that Bundal and Buddo Islands near the PQA area, which have great potential for residential cum commercial state-of-the-art facilities with leisure of resorts, theme park and modern urban development and port related facilities. These Islands are spread over 12,000 acres of land. PQA had invited proposals through advertisement for appointment of consultant and developers for the project on BOT basis.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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US Consul General calls on Shahbaz

American Consul General in Lahore Nina Maria Fite called on the Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif at Chief Minister's Office, here on Saturday. Matters regarding energy crisis being faced by Pakistan, to overcome this problem and co-operation in power generation sector were discussed in the meeting. Co-ordinator and Development Assistant Richard Albright, Provincial Minister for Energy Sher Ali Khan, Chief Secretary, Chairman Planning and Development and other officials were present on the occasion. Talking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said that economic and trade activities have been affected due to energy crisis. He said that we want co-operation of the international community for solving the energy crisis. Shahbaz Sharif said that Pakistan Muslim League-N government is making sincere effort to rid the people of loadshedding. He stressed upon the foreign investors to benefit from the investment opportunities in power generation sector and government will provide every facility to local and foreign investors. Shahbaz Sharif said that American investors can also benefit from the investment opportunities in energy sector in Pakistan. He said that we have to move ahead with supersonic speed for resolving energy crisis. He said that we will fulfil the promise of reducing load-shedding through commitment and hard work.

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Romanian envoy calls on Shahbaz

Romanian Ambassador in Pakistan Emilian Ion called on Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in Islamabad on Monday. Matters of mutual interest and bilateral relations were discussed in the meeting. The CM said Pakistan Muslim League-N government is taking solid measures on war footing to cope with the energy crisis being faced by the country. He said planning has been made for generation of energy from traditional as well as non-traditional sources to resolve the problem of the people and to meet the demand of the industrial sector. He said Romania has expertise in energy and infrastructure sectors and its co-operation is needed for launching power generation projects in Pakistan. He said several Romanian companies are famous for generation of power from coal. The CM also appreciated the role of Romanian Ambassador in the promotion of relations between Pakistan and Romania. Romanian Ambassador Emilian Ion assured full co-operation to Pakistan especially Punjab in various sectors. He expressed the hope that Pak-Romania relations would further improve with the setting up of new democratic government in Pakistan.

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PPL discovers gas, condensate in Sanghar

Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) has announced a gas and condensate discovery over its exploration well Wafiq X-1 located in District Sanghar, Sindh. Exploration well Wafiq X-1 was spud on February 17, and reached the final depth of 3,550 metres on May 21. Based on wire line logs several hydrocarbon bearing zones were identified which are under testing. The first test in the sands of Lower Goru Formation flowed 5.9 to 7.4 mmscfd of gas along with 40 to 54 barrels per day (bbld) condensate at different choke sizes, thus confirming the presence of commercial quantities of natural gas and condensate at Wafiq X-1. The second test which is in progress initially flowed 16.8 mmcfd of gas along with 144 bbld condensate at 32/64" choke. In addition to above, remaining potential zones would also be tested and the actual total flow potential of this well will be determined after completion of all the tests. This discovery will add more hydrocarbon reserves and also reduce the gap between supply and demand of oil and gas during current energy crises in the country. PPL is the operator of the Block 2568-18 (Gambat South) with 65 percent working interest (WI) along with its joint venture partners Government Holdings (Private) Limited (GHPL) and Asia Resources Oil Limited (AROL) with 25 percent and 10 percent WI, respectively.

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Dar invites South Korea to invest in energy sector

The Ambassador of Republic of Korea Choongjoo Choi called on Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar in his office. The Finance Minister on the occasion said that relations between Pakistan and Republic of Korea have always been warm and cordial. Pakistan values its relationship with Republic of Korea very much. Both the countries have been close to each other historically. The friendships between the two countries will get further strengthened with every passing day. The Finance Minister further said that present democratic government under the leadership of Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is trying to revive Pakistan's economy through comprehensive reforms. Business and investment friendly atmosphere will be created in the country. The government will clear circular debt within 60-days. This step on one hand will help to curtail energy crisis in the country while on other hand it will restore confidence of the investors. The upward trend in Karachi Stock Exchange is already reflecting the restoration of investors' confidence in the present regime. The Finance Minister invited Republic of Korea to invest in Pakistan, particularly in energy sector and said that all state departments will facilitate the foreign investors. The Ambassador of Republic of Korea Choongjoo Choi while praising the investment and business oriented policies of the present government said that the Korean investors want to invest in different sectors in Pakistan. The Ambassador brought in the notice of the Finance Minister some problems being faced by the Korean investors in Pakistan. The Finance Minister assured the Ambassador that all the problems will be solved on priority. Choongjoo Choi expressed his gratitude to the Finance Minister for his assurances and supports.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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Government to complete IP gas project by December 2014

The government has planned to complete the construction of 786 kilometres long Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project costing $1.24 billion by December 2014, Annual Plan 2013-14 documents indicate. According to the annual plan, the government has indicated that it would take further significant steps on the imported gas pipeline projects including IP and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) in 2013-14. On IP, it has planned to appoint third party inspector agency in June-July 2013, procurement/supply of equipment and materials under employer scope in financial year 2013-14. As per the plan the government is expecting first flow of gas through IP in December 2014. As per planned major activities on Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project, the government would appoint Transaction Advisor (TA), update feasibility study and route survey by TA, select construction lead, finalise TAPI-operations agreement and transit fee agreement. The estimated cost of laying the Pakistan segment of the 42" diameter IP pipeline is $1.24 billion, which will initially carry 750 MMCFD of natural gas. In 2012-13 Iran and Pakistan have made following developments on IP project: Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS) on September 2012, Front End Engineering Design (FEED), Detailed Route Survey (DRS), Social Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA), Initialization of Co-operation Agreement with Iran, Cabinet approval to give effectiveness to the co-operation agreement, installation of concrete markers on right of way and land acquisition, initialisation of Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract along with the financial agreement. Under TAPI 3.2 Billion Cubic Feet per Day (BCFD) of natural gas would be imported from Turkmenistan of which Pakistan and India will receive 1.325 BCFD each while Afghanistan will receive 500 Million Cubic Feet per Day (MMCFD) gas. The estimated cost of the 56" pipeline project is around $7.6 billion.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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POGEE Conference: optimal use of natural resources can lead to cheap gas & power production: Dr Samar

Dr Samar Mubarakmand, Member Science & Technology, Planning Commission Pakistan, while addressing the audience at the inauguration of the second session of POGEE Conference 2013, stated, "The use of the infinite natural resources present in our country can lead to cheaper gas and electricity production". Dr Mubarakmand apprised the audience that a research was being done in the solar sector to develop solar films which would produce solar power. "These solar films will have shorter lifespan however they will be operated at a reduced cost. The industry professionals are expecting these films to be in the market with full operation, but this was also informed that solar and wind power sources are not the base for production, it is not possible to run industries on them, they can only supplement the national grid". He informed that Chashma 1 and Chashma 2 power plants would be started in 2015, adding that two projects of 1,000MW Nuclear Plants would also be installed in Muzzafargarh. It was stated that there was an abundance of coal fields all over the country particularly in Balochistan but mining was of little magnitude, adding the consumption of coal was five million tones per year which was very low. He also said "we have coal wells which produce less than 400 or 500 btu which is not acceptable for SSGC and SNGPL but we can convert those 300 btu into diesel." The concurrent event of the Pakistan Oil, Gas & Energy Exhibition, POGEE-2013 taking place at the Expo Centre Lahore, started its second day with an overwhelming response from the visitors. Government officials, diplomats and a large number of business executives from the energy industry visited the exhibition. A few prominent personalities like Ambassador of Belgium, Peter Claes and Thar Coal and Energy Board, Managing Director Ejaz Ahmed Khan also visited the exhibition.

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