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News Headlines for the month of
JULY 2013

Canadian consortium agrees to start work on Uch gas field

LAHORE - A Canadian consortium has agreed to start work on Uch gas field in Balochistan; which had been inoperative for a long time due to insurgency in the area. The Tde – Conpro – Zealcon, a consortium of Canadian and Pakistani companies, has signed agreement with Oil & Gas Development Company Ltd for laying down gas pipelines to ensure supply to Uch Power II and if smooth supply is made certain to the 400MW thermal unit, it will be operative within in 9 months, the officials said on Wednesday. They said that the Oil & Gas Development Company Ltd (OGDCL) held a kick-off meeting on Uch-II Development Project with contractors. According to them, senior OGDCL officials made detailed discussions on the project with the contractor and consultant firms. Representatives of the Tde-Conpro-Zealcon PC Contractor, Enar Petrotech Services and the project consultant, were also presented on the occasion. Tde – Conpro – Zealcon is a consortium of Canadian and Pakistani Companies who would take up the challenge of working in Baluchistan on one of the most strategic projects of Pakistan. It is a healthy sign to see established companies to come and work in Baluchistan in light of the recent regional and world politics. A detailed presentation on the salient features of the Uch-II Development Project was made on the occasion. The Uch gas field is located near Dera Murad Jamali, District Nasirabad in Balochistan. The meeting was informed that the Uch-II Development Project carries a strategic national importance and it would be completed in nine months to supply gas to the Uch Power II to generate 400 MW electricity. Pakistan is facing acute shortage of energy at present therefore the government has prime focus on early completion of the project in order to supply gas for power generation, said the OGDCL officials. According to the Zealcon spokesman, the signing ceremony of the project will take place soon in Islamabad. Keeping in view the importance of the project, he added, the construction firms have already mobilized the manpower and equipment to the site in order to initiate the preliminary work on project. The Uch-II Development Project is located in an underdeveloped area of Balochistan and is going to play the role of a catalyst for the socioeconomic uplift of the area, triggering economic activity to create job opportunities for the locals. Further, this project would also improve the basic infrastructure in the province leading to poverty alleviation of the people residing in remote areas. The Project also brings to fore the seriousness of the government to develop Balochistan and tackle the scourge of the energy crisis.

Copyright The nation 2013

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Long-term investment: Hubco plans switch to coal with $800m investment

Hub Power Company (Hubco) aims to start switching its 1,200-megawatt power plant to coal from oil as soon as the government revises policy guidelines and renegotiates the power purchase agreement to make the shift feasible, company’s CEO Khalid Mansoor says. He expressed the intention after the government cleared dues of independent power producers (IPPs) against an understanding that at least a few of them promise to use coal instead of expensive furnace oil. Consequently, four IPPs including Hubco, Mian Mansha’s Nishat Power and Nishat Chunian and Saba Power agreed to invest in retrofitting their plants with coal-fired boilers. Hubco runs the 1,200MW plant near Karachi and another one of 214MW capacity in Narowal. “We are looking at an investment of $800 million-plus in this conversion,” said Mansoor, who took over as CEO in May. “Now government agencies have to move quickly. A lot of negotiations need to be done.” He said the root cause of the power crisis remains the wrong energy mix. “We relied too much on gas and oil for a long time and when gas reserves evaporated, consumption of furnace oil shot up.” The four IPPs together produce 1945MW. Since reports surfaced about the agreement, many people in the industry are raising eyebrows, saying the shift to coal is practically impossible. But Mansoor insists Hubco has already started search for a contractor to implement the project. “It makes all sense that we do it right away. Cost of power produced by using furnace oil is between 19 and 20 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh). On the other end, tariff is nowhere near that.” Consumers pay half of what it costs to produce power, putting a strain on government budget as it pays subsidies to bridge the gap. Electricity theft to the tune of 33% of power produced puts more pressure on the tariff. Mansoor, who spearheaded Engro Energy’s one of a kind 227MW power plant that runs on low BTU gas, believes using coal instead of oil has the potential to cut power cost by 50%. Policy and supply hurdles “Right now, we are waiting to see the sense of urgency at government institutions for this project. NTDC, PPIB and Nepra all have to move swiftly on this,” he said, adding project execution could be difficult as changes have to be made to a lot of documents. Hubco has a power purchase agreement with the government that ends in 2027. But that covers returns based on furnace oil consumption. “To make the conversion possible some incentives need to be given in the policy,” he said. One obstacle between Hubco and its shift to coal would be Asia Petroleum Limited (APL), a company jointly owned by Pakistan State Oil (PSO), Singapore-based Asian Infrastructure Limited, VECO International and Kuwait’s Independent Petroleum Group. APL operates an 83km-long pipeline, which delivers oil to Hubco from terminals located in Bin Qasim under a lucrative and airtight agreement. The government has guaranteed a minimum throughput of oil in the pipeline and APL makes $12.5 on every ton. All the costs related to the supply of fuel are passed on to consumers as tariff. “Well, government can tackle all these issues easily. I don’t see any reason why this should become a hurdle,” said Mansoor. Hubco will probably import coal from South Africa. “We have an advantage over competitors as our plant is located near the seashore. Maybe an import terminal can be built there (Hub, Balochistan),” he said. Some officials say that coal logistics, which include its import, handling at port and transportation, would need a new supply chain. But Mansoor says that the country already imports six million tons of coal. A former CEO of Hubco believes that building new boilers could be expensive and cumbersome. “I think after initial studies, the IPPs will come to realise that they will be better off by setting up new coal-fired plants of small capacity to pacify the government.”

Copyright The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2013.

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Bokhari concludes Poland visit; seeks cooperation in energy sector

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has sought Polish government cooperation in energy sector as Chairman Senate Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari concluded his five-day visit to Poland on Friday. A statement issued in this regard by the Chairman Senate office has revealed that Pakistan and Poland have potential for strengthening economic ties as the Polish government assured for their support of Pakistan’s quest for Autonomous Trade Preferences in European Union. The chairman who was heading an eight-member Senate delegation, during meetings with Polish authorities sought greater collaboration in the energy sector and capacity building in the drilling for oil and gas exploration. During his stay in Poland, the Chairman Senate called on President Bronislaw Komorowski and met Deputy Prime Minister, Bogdan Borusewicz, Marshal of Polish Senate, Minister for Economy, Janusz Piechocinski, Minister for National Defence, Tomasz Siemoniak, Speaker of Sejm (Lower House) Ms. Ewa Kopacz and the President of Polish Chamber of Commerce Andrzej Arendarski. He highlighted the strong democratic base of Pakistan and first transition of power from one democratically elected government to the next one. Bokhari thanked the Polish government for their support to Pakistan’s quest for Autonomous Trade Preferences in the European Union. He briefed the Polish President about developments in South Asia, underlined the need for stability in region and to have good relations with India and progress in the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process of reconciliation in Afghanistan. The Chairman renewed the invitation of the President of Pakistan to the Polish President to visit Pakistan. In his meetings with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy, President of the Polish Chamber of Commerce and Polish oil companies, the Chairman sought greater collaboration in the energy sector and capacity building in the drilling for oil and gas exploration, especially through scholarships for Pakistani students in the Polish universities. He expressed satisfaction at current level of trade and economic cooperation and expressed his desire to increase its level to fully utilize the trade potential existing between the two countries. The two sides agreed that early establishment of Joint Economic Commission between Poland and Pakistan and signing of Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of energy and mineral resources will act as a catalyst to further boost the trade. Recalling his visit to Pakistan in November last year, Marshal Bogdan Borusewicz expressed satisfaction at regular exchange of Parliamentary delegations between the two countries. This was the first official visit of Chairman Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari and in continuation of the visit by former Chairman Farooq. H. Naek to Poland in 2011 and Marshal Bogdan Borusewicz’s visit to Pakistan in November last year.

Copyright The Dailytimes, 2013

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Chinese firms ready to invest billions of dollars in Pakistan

BEIJING: Chinese companies expressed their willingness to invest billions of dollars in Pakistan during meetings with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as chairman Orient Group of Investment offered laying the Pak-Iran gas pipeline up to China. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held a meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping during an official visit to Beijing.Nawaz Sharif said he chose China for his first overseas visit to strengthen and develop the friendly neighbourly ties between the two countries. “Pakistan hopes to expand economic exchanges, especially in developing basic infrastructure, and welcomes Chinese businesses to invest there,” he said.Xi told him China hoped to move ahead with plans for a “China-Pakistan economic corridor. All-weather strategic cooperation is the precious wealth our two countries share.” While interacting with a responsive galaxy of Chinese business and corporate leaders, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif urged them to extend their help and cooperation for power generation and infrastructure development in Pakistan in line with the close strategic partnership between the two countries. Speaking with the Chairman Orient Group of Investment Zhang Hongwei, the prime minister said that there was big potential in Pakistan in oil and gas exploration. “We are happy to support and help Chinese partnership in various projects of economy,” he said. Chairman Zahng expressed willingness to help Pakistan in construction of pipeline from Pakistan to China immediately and send a team for partnership in laying gas pipeline from Iran to Pakistan. He said that his company had undertaken wind energy project to generating 1000MW in first phase in Jhampir area in Pakistan.The meeting was the highlight of the prime minister’s engagements on the first day of his five-day official visit to China. He told the chief executives from Chinese corporate and financial sectors that overcoming Pakistan’s energy crisis was top priority of his government along with developing infrastructure in the country to pave the way for more foreign investment and industrial growth. Prime Minister Sharif had a detailed meeting at the State Guest House here with the chairman of China’s Export-Import Bank, Li Ruogu, which officials in his delegation termed very productive and encouraging. Underscoring the depth of Pakistan-China relationship characterised by warmth, mutual respect and convergence of views and interests, the prime minister sought more funding by the leading Chinese bank for the Chinese enterprises already working in Pakistan. Mr Li, later, while talking to media representatives, said that EXIM bank was already supporting 27 projects in Pakistan to the level of six billion dollars and that the bank would consider further expanding assistance in energy, transport and infrastructure domains. Nawaz Sharif also held a meeting with Chairman of China Development Bank Hu Huaibang, briefing him in detail about his government’s economic agenda and the policies it was formulating to put the national economy on an even keel, including measures to give an impetus to investment from friendly countries. He specifically asked for a credit line from China Development Bank and said a special fund would be created for planned Pak-China economic corridor by linking Gwadar deep seaport being developed by Chinese expertise with Kashghar through road and rail network. The prime minister said he would soon send a team to China to work out details on various projects. A senior member of the entourage told ‘The News’ that the prime minister did all he could to offset a perception among Chinese financial and investment circles that Pakistan “is only good for signing MoUs and then sleeping over them.” “Write to me directly on my e-mail,” Nawaz Sahrif told the Chinese business and financial leaders and “we will get back to you in 24 hours... And see to it that hiccups are removed within 7 days.” A close aide to the prime minister said Pakistan and China had traditionally very strong and defence ties and “now it is a new effort to create and foster stronger economic and business bonds.” Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning and Development, told ‘The News’ that the prime ministers of Pakistan and China had strong business management backgrounds and therefore “we think it is time to convert it into economic thrust that will benefit the region.” “A new promising twist in relations is in the offing – building strong economic, trade and investment cooperation unlike the past emphasis only on defence collaboration. It surely is a new twist in the old bonds,” said a Pakistani official. “So many projects are being discussed in one trip; this has never happened before. If implemented, the plans prove a game changer and Pakistan and China will both benefit hugely. My focus is boosting economic and business activities through connectivity. China connected to Pakistan and we connected to china,” the prime minister told media after visiting an underground train. Giving economic links ascendancy in relations with China is widely seen as a right and fruitful path for Pakistan while China forges ahead as an economic power on the global scene. In a meeting with President of China Investment Corporation Gao Xiqing, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif laid out details of his economic mission, calling for expanded Chinese partnership in projects in the spheres of energy and infrastructure. The prime minister said there were tremendous prospects for the Chinese in hydro and coal based power generation project as well as in the area of motorways and high speed trains. He informed that the economic corridor from Gwadar to Kashgar would greatly benefit not only the people of Pakistan and China but also the regional countries.He said it would be highly beneficial and convenient for the Chinese to export their goods from Kashgar and central parts of the country to Middle East and to Europe through Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif said that he had held very comprehensive talks on relevant project with Chinese Premier Li Keqaing during his visit to Islamabad in May. “We wish to see stronger Pakistan-China partnership in all fields and diverse projects.” The prime minister said that his government would welcome Chinese partnership in the construction of Bhasha Dam in Pakistan’s northern areas.The prime minister also invited Chinese support in Mass Transit project for Karachi and said that the provincial metropolis needed this system as early as possible. To provide better transport facilities to the masses his government also wanted to implement Karachi-Peshawar fast train project, he said and added, “This is my dream and it can and will come true.” Talking to Vice-President of China Power Investment Corporation Wang Zhiying, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said with the support of his organisation “we can address our energy problem.”“A lot can be changed with your cooperation,” he told Mr Wang and also referred to the long-standing plan to exploit the vast Thar coal deposits in Sindh and invited the Chinese Investment Corporation to extend a helping hand to realise the objective. Wang told the prime minister that his company was already working on two power plants of 600MW each generating capacity in Thar. The prime minister, emphasising the need for completion of the projects at the earliest, and asked Mr Wang to directly contact his secretariat for removal of any bottlenecks. He assured Mr Wang that he would get reply within 24 hours from the PM office.Meanwhile, Balochistan Chief Minster Dr Abdul Malik Baloch said that on the directive of the prime minister, he assured Chinese investors full security in his province. Punjab Chief Minister Shabaz Sharif, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi, Ambassador Masood Khalid and Chinese Ambassador in Pakistan Sun Wei Dong and prominent Pakistani businessmen were also present during the meetings.

Copyright The News, 2013

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5,000 acres of land allocated to private solar projects

The Punjab government has decided to allocate 5000 acres of land for private solar power projects in Cholistan area, which will be allotted to the solar power sector investors at a nominal rate of one dollar per acre per year for 20 years lease. Out of this 5000 acres land, 2500 acres land is located in Maroot, district Bahawalnagar and the rest of 2500 acres land is located on Din Garh Road, tehsil Yazman district Bahawalpur. This was disclosed by Provincial Minister for Energy Sher Ali Khan while talking with a delegation of China Power International, Beijing headed by Wang Zhi Yin listed in Hong Kong on Friday. The minister informed the delegates that two grid stations of 66KW each are already working in the vicinity of Maroot and Yazman under the national power transmission system, which could be easily linked with the proposed coal fired power plants. He said the Punjab Government is ready to offer investment in hydro-power generation, solar-power generation and establishment of bi-mass fired power plants along with wind-power plants and coal fired power plants on the basis of Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) basis, Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) basis and on the basis of Build-Own and Operate (BOO) also. Six coal fired power projects are already in the pipeline, which would generate 420MW electricity, the minister added. He requested the Chinese investors to consider installation of solar power projects in Cholistan. The government will provide them with the required land on lease under soft conditions besides giving total relaxation in sales tax on the imported machinery, which is not manufactured locally. He apprised the delegation of 500KV grid station and the coal fired power plant working at Rahim Yar Khan and informed that the Punjab Government is negotiating with the federal government to collaborate in developing energy corridor from Gadani to Karachi coastal area to facilitate inline transportation of imported coal to different areas of Punjab where the land required for coal fired power generation will be leased on the market rate. He assured the delegation that Nepra will ensure 20 per cent IRR for the locally explored coal from the mines of Punjab while 17 per cent return will be assured in the case if imported coal is used. A road map for installation of 1400MW power projects by China Power International was finalised during the meeting. According to the agreement, these power projects will start yielding electricity in a period not exceeding two and a half years. The meeting was told that the government of the Punjab was importing coal at the rate of 95 dollar per ton. The need for import of coal will drastically reduce when the import of Shale-Gas from USA will commence. There are 596 million ton reserves of coal in Punjab and the provincial government was planning to establish 50 mine mouth projects of 200MW besides planning for 270MW coal fired power project in Muzaffargarh and eight power projects of 50MW each in Sunder Industrial Estate Lahore and in the other industrial estates all over Punjab.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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'Sindh is blessed with enormous potential for wind energy resource'

Chairman Sindh Board of Investment Muhammad Zubair Motiwala said that Sindh is blessed with enormous potential for Wind Energy resource which if tapped can generate more than 50,000 MW. Wind Corridor (Gharo- Jhampir) is 60km wide and 180km long with average wind speed of 7-8 meter/sec. This he said while presiding a meeting in the office of Investment Department, Government of Sindh. Muhammad Zubair Motiwala said that government of Sindh has taken strong measures to unfold this opportunity and have so far approved 26 Wind Projects which will be commissioned within next one year and will generate more than 1000 MW of energy. Muhammad Zubair Motiwala, Chairman Sindh Board of Investment shared that Chief Minister Sindh, Syed Qaim Ali Shah has in principle approved allotment of land for Fast Track Wind Power projects after the short order by the Supreme Court allowing power project allocation of land for Fast Track Wind Power Projects through investment under Renewable Energy Policy 2006. Chairman, SBI said that efficient solution to energy crisis can only be achieved by encouraging investment in Renewable Energy Projects. He further elaborated that these projects plan to install more than 1000 mega watt of electricity in the wind corridor of District Thatta and Jamshoro. He further said that Sindh Board of Investment is simultaneously pursuing with Land Utilisation Department and in the result of that LU Department has issued directives to Deputy Commissioner Thatta to ensure personally that the personnel of Western Energy for establishment of 45 MW Wind Power project and Hydro China XIBEI Engineering Corporation for development of 100 MWs wind power project are fully facilitated in carrying out survey and other allied field studies for expeditious execution of the project in the mean while the land lease issue is resolved.-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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Pakistan is open to buying electricity from India: HC

Battling with a severe power crisis, Pakistan is open to buying power from the Indian Gujarat state government. Pakistan High Commissioner in India, Salman Bashir, told Indian TV channel "Times Now" that technical teams from the country have visited two power plants in India, both of which are in Gujarat. "Two plants have been visited, both in Gujarat, one of them is a solar plant," Bashir said. However, he said that the process of buying energy could only begin once a dialogue process between the two countries gets going. Earlier this month, Pakistan said it wants the resumption of the formal composite dialogue with India to address "mistrust" between the two countries. Officials from the two countries are currently working out dates for the next round of talks between the two sides. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York in September.

Copyright Independent News Pakistan, 2013

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Energy woes: US to extend a helping hand

Vinay Chawla, Deputy Co-ordinator for Development and Assistance, US Embassy Islamabad, said the US government would help Pakistan end the energy crisis besides enhancing trade between the two countries. Addressing a meeting at the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) on Monday, Chawla said the US government also wanted to enhance economic relationship with the present government and US civilian assistance to Pakistan had five pillars including energy, economic growth, community stabilisation, education and health. He said the US government development co-operation budget for Pakistan was the second largest in the world and USAID had provided over $2.8 billion in assistance since 2009 and $723 million would be provided in 2013. Chawla said energy projects had added 900MW to the power grid which would reach 1200MW by 2014 to supply electricity, sufficient for an estimated three million households. Earlier in his welcome address , Mian Zahid Aslam, President FCCI said that role of US Government for expansion of bilateral economic co-operation with Pakistan is quite appreciable where USAID is engaged to provide assistance and support in many areas as to strengthen Pakistan's energy sector to improve efficiency, modernise equipment, technical support and training, increase the educational economic opportunities to Pakistani citizens, improve the provision of health care services and meet critical infrastructure needs in remote mountain areas. Services of USAID to provide substantial relief and recovery assistance at the time of Super Floods in 2010 is also commendable. He said that USA is Pakistan's largest trading partner but still trade volume is far below the potential and there is a wider scope to enhance the bilateral trade. He said in fiscal year 2012 bilateral trade stood at US $5.34 billion in favour of Pakistan. Pakistan exported $3.83 billion worth of goods to your country while USA's exports to Pakistan stood at $1.51 billion. We have capacity to increase this level that requires not only greater access to US markets but also transfer of technology. He said that Free Trade Agreement between Pakistan and USA is of utmost importance and the US policy makers need to give some attention to expedite negotiating a bilateral free trade agreement for increased market access to the USA. Chaudhry Muhammad Boota, Vice President FCCI, Ms Doreen Bailey, Economic Officer, US Consulate, Lahore, Ms Gail M. Deputy Director USAID, Asem Khurshid, Farhan Latif, former Presidents, Salman Aslam, Shahid Nazir, Rizwan Ashraf, Chairman APTPMA, Haji M Abid, Rehan Ashfaq Sheikh shared their views on the occasion.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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Punjab can generate 1000 megawatts power through biomass: Shahbaz

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that sincere efforts are being made for resolving energy crisis. He said that besides traditional methods, government is also endeavouring for generating energy through non-traditional sources. He expressed these views while presiding over a high level meeting with regard to resolving energy crisis, here on Wednesday. Provincial Minister for Energy Sher Ali Khan, Agriculture Minister Farrukh Javed, Chief Secretary Punjab, Chairman P&D, and secretaries of departments concerned, Vice Chairman Punjab Board of Investment and other concerned officials were present on the occasion. Shahbaz Sharif said that resolution of energy crisis is a national responsibility. Shahbaz Sharif disclosed that two options have been prepared for biogas whereas the process of mapping of biomass has also been completed. He said that 1000 megawatt electricity can be generated through biomass in Punjab.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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Alternate energy tech can resolve energy crisis

President, Pakistan China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCJCCI) Shah Faisal Afridi has said that acquisition of renewable energy and alternate energy technology such as solar, wind power, run of river, coal power plants from China could help Pakistan get rid of ongoing energy crisis. Afridi was speaking to a delegation of China Energy Engineering Group (CEEC) here on Tuesday. He also gave an overview on energy sector to the delegation and said that Pakistan's total demand for electricity varies from 15,000MW to 17,000MW in Pakistan while total short fall stays from 5,000MW to 6,000MW. Zhu Zhengjun, Director, China Energy Engineering Group Company Limited while briefing about his company said that CEEC with registered capital of RMB 26 billion keeps 90 percent share in the electric survey and design. The number of company's employees has been reached to 160,000. He further said that CEEC has successfully installed 2X600MW Supercritical Coal-fired unit in Turkey. "We have super comprehensive strength in the field of hydro power, thermal, power, nuclear power, wind power, biomass power, gas turbines and circulating fluidised beds" he added. Neelum Jhelum project in Pakistan is the largest oversees Hydro Power project undertaken by CEEC. He specially elaborated CEEC equipment production and maintenance service to cover hydro power, thermal power, nuclear power, wind power, metallurgy, building materials, chemical and transportation sector, he said. Liying, Vice Director, Du Huibing, Project Manager and Han Junqing, Chief Engineer during the group discussion they briefed the participants about possibility of installation of 600MW power plant in the coastal area of Balochistan. This landmark project will play a vital role in balancing the existing fuel mix which is inclined towards. This project will also pave way for future foreign investors in coal power sector of Pakistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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10 Sahiwal villages illuminated through solar energy

Coca-Cola Pakistan in collaboration with Buksh Foundation has electrified 10 off-grid villages in the Sahiwal District of Punjab via the solar energy project, Lighting a Million Lives (LaML). Through this initiative a population of 2,500 individuals has been impacted while creating 10 female solar energy entrepreneurs thus directly promoting female empowerment in rural communities, increasing labour force and stirring a new form of economic activity at the bottom of the pyramid. Fighting the energy poverty state in these villages, the project enables economically disadvantaged women in rural areas to become micro entrepreneurs endorsed by the name of "Roshna Bibi - The Light Lady". These light ladies charge lanterns during the day and then rent each lantern out at Rs 4 per day. This enables the villagers to work till late thus generating sustainable income and facilitating children to study at night. Farmers now work after dusk which enables them to look after their crops for a longer period of time. Most importantly, the dispensaries and health care benefit the most thus substantially decreasing the female and child mortality rates in these areas. Speaking about the partnership, Fahad Qadir, Director Public Affairs & Communication, Coca-Cola Pakistan and Afghanistan stated: "Through this partnership Coca-Cola and Buksh Foundation have demonstrated that in a country where there is lack of female empowerment, a simple thing as providing families with solar lanterns can empower communities and enhance their ownership in successful projects like these." Ms Fiza Farhan, CEO of Buksh Foundation states: "The project with its multifold benefit model, has not only helped in providing a sustainable energy alternative, but has also encouraged female empowerment, increased economic capacity of the rural areas, created literacy about the needs for environmental friendly energy alternatives and the benefits they provide." Coca-Cola Pakistan has made significant contributions to various community development projects in Pakistan through its CSR initiatives. Their CSR Portfolio consists of sustainable agriculture, environment and water conservation, women economic empowerment, education as well as philanthropic efforts such as relief efforts and various other social projects around the country. Partnership in the LaML project is Coca-Cola Pakistan's first initiative towards rural energy provision in the country, which proclaims a multifold benefit model around the village community. Through LaML 72 villages in the districts of Sahiwal, Mianwali, Lodhran, Dera Ghazi Khan, Dera Ismail Khan, Bahawalpur and Chiniot have already been electrified impacting approximately 25,000 lives in total. The project plans to light 4,000 villages and impact 1 million lives in the next 3 years in Pakistan, with some of the recent scheduled projects include electrifying the villages in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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EIB wants to invest in energy sector

Representatives of the European Union (EU) said the European Investment Bank (EIB) was willing to invest in energy sector of Pakistan. Europe was interested to support Pakistan in medium and small size run of the river energy projects. They also pointed out some of the problems they were facing in investment. Pierre Mayaudon, Deputy Head of delegation of European Union said in a meeting with Federal Minister of Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal in his Office on Monday. The Minister told the EU delegation to inform him in case of any hurdle they face and assured his full co-operation in execution of the development projects. He told the delegation that Prime Minister was unhappy over the delay in hydro-power projects especially the Nelum-Jhelum hydropower project. He said that provinces were free to execute hydropower projects and that the federal government will support them in this regard. The Minister was also accompanied by other senior officials of the delegation. Members of the delegation discussed the issues of bilateral interest including trade, energy and future role of Planning Commission. He discussed EU-Pak five year development program with the delegation. He also talked about 2009 & 2010 EU-Pak summits and also EU Pak strategic dialogue in 2012. EU delegation focused on future of planning commission and energy crisis. Pierre Mayaudon showed his commitment on behalf of EU for the contribution to development in Pakistan. He also said that they were working on an institutional framework to develop ties between the two. He also informed the minister about the development in trade negotiation between EU and Pakistan. He said they were developing a link between EU and Pakistan to fight terrorism jointly. Ahsan Iqbal told the Deputy Head that this was not best time when we came into power and that there were many challenges we are facing. But he pledged that challenges were not bigger than hope and commitment. Responding to the question Ahsan Iqbal maintained that we have decided to transform Planning Commission into independent body with two major functions. The Commission would be developed into a strategic development think tank rather than a body making repairs into government ministries. It would plan out development programs regarding future needs of growing population so that we do not face crisis like in energy sector. The Minister told the EU representative that they had asked the World Bank to extend its support to Pakistan in improving governance. He also said that they were engaged with Asian Development Bank in a long term program for a similar purpose. Iqbal said that they were planning to make use of GIS imagery and satellite based technology in place of old fashioned maps in order to get accuracy and reliability. We are planning to establish GIS data center in Planning Commission, he said. Representatives of EU praised the ideas of the Minister and assured their full support of high level expertise from Europe.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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First hydropower IPP in private sector to be inaugurated

Pakistan's first hydropower IPP in private sector, established in AJK by Laraib Energy Limited, (LEL) a subsidiary of Hub Power Company (Hubco) will be officially inaugurated sometime next week. The 84 MW "New Bong Hydropower Project" (NBHP) has been successfully commissioned two months ahead of schedule. Hubco spearheaded the development of IPP programme in the 1990s, when it established Pakistan's first IPP, a 1,292 MW power station in Balochistan. Hubco continued to meet the widening energy needs of the nation, and established its second plant ie 225 MW power station in Narowal, Punjab. The company also took controlling interests in Laraib Energy Limited to be the first hydropower project. Hubco is now poised to be the first IPP to convert its power station to coal to provide even cheaper energy than at present and save hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on oil imports every year. Laraib's New Bong Hydropower Project in AJK will contribute 540 GWh (Gigawatt) of green energy annually into the national grid under a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with National Transmission & Dispatch Company (NTDC). This project will provide cheaper electricity and energy security to the country. The benefits of the run-of-the river New Bong Energy-Hydropower Project (NBE HPP) include replacement of some 135,000 tons of oil import valued in excess of US $100 million per annum and reduction in carbon emissions. According to an informed source, one of the biggest issues of power sector in Pakistan is the expensive power generation, and the inauguration of country's first private sector hydro IPP by Laraib has paved the way for private sector investment in hydro power projects for producing cheap electricity. The project was scheduled to be completed in 42 months, itself a demanding target, but has been completed over two months earlier; comparing three similar low-head hydropower projects on the Ohio River, USA totalling 191MW started one year before NBE Hydropower Project but still have one year to commercial operations. The New Bong Hydropower Project has the distinction of being Pakistan's first hydropower project to be registered with the United Nations' Framework Convention on Climate Change as clean mechanism development (CDM) Project, and has made solid contribution in offsetting green house emission globally. The Asian Development Bank and other lending banks, multilateral IDB, IFC and Proparco France and two domestic commercial banks NBP and HBL, played a very pro-active and constructive role in structuring the project and finance documents thus making this pioneering project a reality, source said. The successful completion of Pakistan's first independent hydropower project by a private investor, in record time, has given hope for harnessing the vast potential of country's water sector. As per official estimates, Pakistan has 100,000 MW of hydel power generation. However, only about 6,500 MW of potential has been harnessed so far. There are many firsts with the completion of this IPP in hydropower sub-sector. It was termed 'Project Finance Middle East Deal of the Year' by Euromoney in the year 2009. The New Bong Escape hydropower project is of further importance due to its security package, which has been accepted by global investors and lenders as a bankable document and now forms the basis for other private hydropower projects to come. Furthermore, its tariff mechanism forms the basis for tariff determination for future hydropower IPPs in Pakistan. The project had opened doors for immediate implementation of a portfolio of hydropower projects for full scale development of untapped national potential by developing a bankable framework. It would provide impetus to private hydropower projects under process, he said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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Nandipur power project: Chinese firm agrees to resume work

Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has succeeded in persuading Dong Fong Electricity Company of China to resume work on Nandipur power project. In this connection, a lengthy meeting was held between Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif and Chairman Dong Fong Electricity Company Si Zefu and senior officials of the company in Beijing on Friday in which Dong Fong Electricity Company expressed willingness to restart work on Nandipur power project. The company has also directed its engineers to reach Pakistan next Monday for this purpose. Nandipur power project would generate 450 megawatt electricity. It may be mentioned that due to undue delay by PPP government, the Chinese experts had returned to their country while machinery for the project worth millions of rupees was rusting at Karachi port. Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has been strongly criticising the federal government over non-implementation of the project. Chairman Dong Fong Electricity Company Si Zefu said he during a meeting with President Zardari in June 2011 had told him that an injustice was being committed by delaying the project and it would cause heavy losses to both the sides. The Chief Minister assured the Chinese authorities that they would find the government completely transparent and determined. Expressing views during his meetings with Chinese investors in Beijing, the CM said Pakistan had a bright future and there were vast opportunities of investment in the country. He said the existing problems were temporary and would soon be overcome. Shahbaz said he would personally play host to Chinese investors in Pakistan, adding that priority would be given to joint collaboration and co-operation with Chinese investors in infrastructure and energy sectors.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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Pak-China efforts to help resolve energy crisis: solar energy farm to be set up in Cholistan

Provincial Secretary for Energy, Usman Akhtar Bajwa has said that solar energy farm will be established at 5000 acre area of Cholistan, Bahawalpur district at a cost of 2.2 billion dollars and from this solar farm, 1050 megawatts electricity will be generated and at the end of the 2014, small houses and small business centres can use the electricity generated by solar energy. He said this while talking with Chinese delegation at the committee room of his office, here on Thursday. Provincial secretaries, additional secretaries of different departments along with the Director Edward Birmingham, Vice President Operations, Ashraf Bhatti, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Austin Hoang and J.J. Burg and other foreign members were present on the occasion. He said that with the final approval of the project, a technical team from China Galaxy Company will visit the Cholistan in the mid of the July 2013 and after that the work will be started without any delay. It was also informed that with the use of solar energy, the provision of uninterrupted electricity can be provided and public will feel real relief. Bajwa said that the CM is making efforts to resolve the energy crisis with all possible resources and meetings and visits of China is a part of these efforts. He said that fully secured and co-operative atmosphere will be provided to the foreign companies for the work and in this respect, the work should be started without delay.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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3,511 megawatts energy projects approved by Ecnec

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) has approved five energy projects of 3,511 MW, costing Rs 1,303 billion. The Ecnec met with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the chair at the Prime Minister Office on Thursday. The five energy projects included; K-I and K-II Nuclear projects situated in Karachi generation capacity 2,200 MW, cost Rs 958.729 billion, Nandipur project in Punjab, generation capacity 425 MW, costing Rs 57.380 billion, Neelum-Jhelum hydro electric project in AJK, generation capacity 969 MW, costing Rs 274.0 billion. The finance minister said the government is taking up energy projects with the total generation capacity of 3,511MW which when completed would not only be a source of substantial addition to the national grid, but also produce electricity at low cost. He said that 15 years back the energy mix was 75 percent based on cheap fuel and 25 percent on costly oil whereas it has now totally been changed to 25 percent based on cheap fuel and 75 percent on furnace oil. While discussing the Neelum-Jhelum Hydro Electric Project which has been approved at revised cost of Rs 274.0 billion against the previous cost of Rs 84.0 billion, the meeting decided that a probe into the huge cost overrun and delay in the project should be made and submitted to the concerned quarters, so that responsibility can be fixed. Similarly, the Ministry of Water and Power was also directed that the transmission lines should be completed in tandem with the project. The project would generate 969MW power by constructing a concrete gravity dam on Neelum River at Nauseri District Muzaffarabad. Neelum-Jhelum Hydro Power Project will help in generation of cheap electricity for people as envisioned by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. A Combined Cycle Power Plant (CCPP) of nearly 425-525MW capacity comprising 3(03) NOS gas turbines and 1(01 NO) original cost of Rs 22.335 billion are revised and approved steam turbine unit at the existing site of Nandipur small hydle power station where sufficient land and infrastructure is available was also approved by the ECNEC. The project is proposed to be funded from PSDP/Gencos own resources. The Ecnec approved Karachi Costal Power Project (Unit-I&II), with the generation capacity of 2117 MW each. The total cost of Karachi Costal Power Project (Unit-I&II) is estimated Rs 958.729 billion. This project located in Karachi, Sindh would go a long way in meeting the uninterrupted energy requirement of the south of the country. The Ecnec approved the project of Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite (PRSS) located in Sindh and Punjab with cost of Rs 19.695 billion. The Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite project is part of National Satellite Development Programme for space technology and its application will be in Pakistan, institutional capacity building of Suparco and relevant organisations. PRSS will carry optical pay load that will produce high resolution earth images with stereo capabilities. The image quality produced by PRSS system shall be in accordance with defined international standard. The Ecnec approved the addition of 3rd, 4th and 5th lanes to Kashmir Highway from Peshawar More to GT Road (including construction of new bridge for additional carriage way) Islamabad. The revised project envisages rehabilitation/improvement of existing two lanes (Flexible pavement) and addition of one more flexible pavement as 3rd lane and an addition of two rigid pavements as 4th and 5th lanes (each 3.65m wide) on northern and southern carriage way of Kashmir Highway between Peshawar More and GT Road measuring 11km. The revised PC-I cost for the project is Rs 4689.0 million against original cost of Rs 2191.0 million. The Finance Minister said finances for all the approved projects should be timely arranged and their monitoring would be carried out regularly so that they do not suffer or delayed from want of resources. The projects should be completed on schedule so that its benefits and value for the money are achieved. Dar said the government had taken a bold decision to settle the circular debt which stood at Rs 503 billion and has already paid Rs 322 billion to private power producers while the remaining would be settled within announced time. This measure would add 1700MW of electricity to the national grid, said. The IPPs have been mandated to use coal instead of oil and bring about the change in the next 18 months which will bring down the average cost of power production, he said. Zahid Hamid, Minister for Science and Technology, Senator Pervaiz Rashid, Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, Sikandar Hayat Bosan, Minister for National Food Security, Anusha Rehman Khan, Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecommunication, Chairman Wapda, representatives of all four provinces and heads of different departments attended the meeting.

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Chinese firm to produce power through coal, bio-mass

Punjab Minister for Agriculture Dr Farrukh Javed has said that Pakistan has great potential to produce electricity through coal, bio-mass and solar on a large scale. He was speaking at a meeting held at Aiwan Wazir-e-Aala here on Wednesday to discuss promotion of foreign investment in energy sector. The meeting was especially participated by a delegation of Galaxy group from China. The meeting was also attended by Secretary Agriculture Dr Ijaz Munir, Secretary Energy Usman Bajwa, Chairman P&D, Secretary Finance and other secretaries. Head of the Chinese delegation informed the meeting that initially his company could produce 1200 MW of cheaper electricity through coal and bio-mass and in second phase this production could be taken to 3000 MW. He said his company wanted to work on long-term projects due to better opportunities of investment in Pakistan. Punjab Agriculture Minister Dr Farrukh Javed assured that the Punjab government would extend all out assistance to foreign investors for development in energy sector.

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US attaches top priority to help Pakistan's energy sector

The United States strategic interests are inextricably linked with a stable Pakistan and supporting its energy sector remains Washington's highest priority in the new fiscal year for power generation, according to a new Congressional Research Service Report here Wednesday. The report on US assistance for Pakistan says perhaps the most pressing problem facing the new Pakistani government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, seated in June 2013, is the country's energy sector and particularly notes that Washington has requested $265 million to aid the country's energy sector development in the new fiscal year. According to the State Department's FY2014 Congressional Budget Justification, assistance to Pakistan's energy sector is the "highest priority and the Administration's request for $265 million in FY2014 funding for this effort accounts for more than one-third of all civilian aid requested for the coming fiscal year," the report said. "The goal is to support the Pakistani government in "developing a policy environment that will attract private sector investment and increase cost recovery, decrease technical and commercial losses, and add megawatts to the grid through visible generation projects." By the end of 2013, AID expects to have added fully 900 MW to Pakistan's power grid, enough to power some two million homes and businesses. An added 300 MW is planned by the end of 2014. The great majority of this added capacity will come from improvements of the Muzafargarh and Jamshoro power stations (serving the cities of Multan and Hyderabad, respectively), as well as modernisation of the Tarbela Dam near Islamabad. There is a particular focus on boosting Pakistan's hydropower potential by funding projects to improve capacity at five dams (Mangla, Kurram Tangi, Gomal Zam, Satpara, and Tarbela). The Tarbela Dam is one of the world's largest and supplies fully 16 percent of the country's electricity. In March 2013, a project to restore three of the dam's generators was completed, adding 128 megawatts to the national power grid. The United States had provided the $16.5 million needed for the repairs. In mid-2012, Congress released $280 million in new assistance for Pakistan's energy sector; these funds will support projects at Mangla and Kurram Tangi.15 The report though recounts that the overall US Administration request for Pakistan assistance the fiscal year is $1.2 billion compared with $1.9 billion in the outgoing fiscal year. The US assistance is covered under Kerry-Lugar-Berman aid bill and varies from one financial year to the other in actual allocation. But, the report highlights that experts commonly list Pakistan among the most strategically important countries for US policy makers. The 113th Congress in Washington is grappling with US-Pakistani relations, as well as the "need to balance Pakistan's importance to US national security interests with US domestic budgetary pressures," it said.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2013

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Many companies willing to invest in energy sector: Shahbaz

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Wednesday while talking to the representative delegation of International Galaxy Renewable Energy Company said that loadshedding is the biggest problem of Pakistan and our first and last priority is energy, energy and energy. He said that work with regard to generating energy from different sources is being done seriously in energy sector and many companies are ready for investment in this sector. He said that Pakistan should start low production cost energy projects. The Chief Minister expressed his desire that International Galaxy Renewable Energy Company should start the project of generating 2,000 megawatt energy from coal in Punjab and Punjab government will extend all out co-operation in this regard. The officials of the Company expressed their willingness to launch 1200 megawatt power generation project from coal and said that after settlement of other matters, this project will be extended up to 2,000 megawatt.

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China to help Pakistan ease energy crisis: envoy

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif''s upcoming visit to China will be highly significant in further cementing Sino-Pak bilateral ties and enhancing economic co-operation besides helping to ease energy crisis in Pakistan, Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong said here on Monday. "The government and the people of China are looking forward to the visit of PM Nawaz Sharif which is likely to lead to comprehensive co-operation in all fields of their common interest especially energy, infrastructure, agriculture and people to people contact," he said while briefing the local medial on Nawaz Sharif''s visit to China, here at the Chinese Embassy. Certainly, energy will be on top of agenda during the talks between PM Nawaz Sharif and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang. Following the talks, the two sides are likely to sign an agreement on energy co-operation. The Ambassador informed that Chinese companies and enterprises were interesting to resolve and ease that problem by investing in hydro, wind, solar, wind and bio-mass power projects. Expressing his confidence that the visit will be highly fruitful and productive, he said the visit would give further boost to the economic and trade relationship. The visit will send a positive signal to the outside world and the people of the two countries in regard to their deep-rooted decades'' old brotherly relationship, which is a unique example in nation-to-nation interaction. Sun Weidong said that during his stay in Beijing, Sharif would discuss with the Chinese leadership plans for reinforcing bilateral strategic partnership, enhancing economic co-operation and development of Pakistan-China trade and economic corridor. Shedding more light on importance of Pak-China relations in the backdrop of PM''s visit, he said his country attached great importance to that visit and wished it help keep high the momentum of their comprehensive partnership. "China considers Pakistan as its iron friend and wishes to help it coming out its economic crisis," the Ambassador said, adding his country appreciated Nawaz Sharif for choosing China for his first foreign tour that signified the closeness and warmth which characterises Pak-China relations. He said a number of proposals and initiatives would be discussed during the PM''s visit to strengthen their ties at all levels. He said traditionally close, cordial, co-operative and friendly ties between the two countries were based on shared principles and mutual interests entailing co-operation in diverse fields. "We are confident that the visit will provide further impetus to enhancing the existing Pak-China strategic partnership which is also a source of peace, stability, prosperity in the region," the ambassador added. To a question, the Ambassador appreciated Pakistan''s role on counter-terrorism and said the two countries had been carrying out joint efforts to curb terrorism and extremism which were common enemies of both the countries. "We appreciate the measures being taken by Pakistan government to safeguard and protect Chinese people and companies in Pakistan," he added. To yet another question about increase in trade volume, he said, presently the trade volume was about 12 billion dollars which was not big enough keeping in view the deep-rooted relations between the two countries. He said China had free trade agreement with Pakistan which was only country in South East Asia. Sun Weidong, who took over his new assignment just 20 days back, said he found great potential and depth in further development of their bilateral ties. "Our hearts beat together and all segments of society in the two countries are on the same page, keeping the momentum of the relationship high under all circumstances."

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2013

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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).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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2400 megawatts coal power plants: Punjab government, Chinese company sign MoU

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Punjab government and China Power International Holdings (CPIH) for setting up four coal power plants of 2400 megawatts, here on Saturday. Secretary Energy Usman Bajwa on behalf of Punjab government and Vice President of CPIH, Wang Zhiying singed the MoU. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Provincial Minister for Energy Sher Ali Khan, Chairman Planning and Development, Secretary Information, senior office-bearers of CPIH Ms Yang Qianwei and other concerned officials were also present on the occasion. Talking to media on the occasion, Punjab Chief Minister said that the agreement between Punjab government and Chinese company for setting up energy generating projects is of great importance. He said that China Power International Holdings is the biggest company of power sector of China and under the agreement, four coal power plants would be set up in Gadani (Balochistan) and 2400 megawatts energy would be generated through these plants. The Chief Minister further said that according to the agreement made with Chinese company, two power plants would be completed within two years while the other two plants within three years from the date of agreement. He said that major investment would be made by Chinese company; however, Punjab government will also make some investment. He said that all matters relating to implementation of the agreement would be settled in a transparent manner. Shahbaz Sharif said that this agreement is continuity of Prime Minister''s recent visit to China as we had signed MoU with CPIH during the visit. He said that 20 days after our visit to China, more than 24 Chinese friends of CPIH have come to Pakistan and today''s agreement is very important. He said that Pak-China friendship is tied with deep relations of love and affection which is further strengthening. Particularly the historic sentiments expressed by Chinese leadership during the visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to China cannot be narrated in words. Shahbaz said that under the agreement, coal would be imported for coal power plants and electricity generated through these power plants would be added to national grid and then it would be utilised in Punjab. He expressed the hope that after completion of these projects, electricity would be available in abundance to people of Punjab for agriculture and industry. Replying to questions of media about Nandipur Power Project, the Chief Minister told that Pakistani team is holding useful talks in China regarding this project. He said that both the countries have suffered great loss due to delay in the project. Vice President CPIH, Wang Zhiying said on this occasion that Pakistan and China are trust worthy friends and this friendship has stood the test of time. He said that his company will act upon according to MoU and work would be carried out speedily for completing these projects at the earliest. He thanked Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for the excellent hospitality in Lahore.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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PPL makes another gas discovery in Sanghar

Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) the Operator of the Block 2568-18 (Gambat South) EL 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 has made a gas and condensate discovery in its second exploration well Shahdad X-1 located in District Sanghar, Sindh. This is the second discovery in the block as many wells, as the first well Wafiq X-1 had also resulted in a gas and condensate discovery. Exploration well Shahdad X-1 was spud on March 30 and reached the final depth of 3,665 metres on 19 June 2013. Based on wire line logs, potential hydrocarbon bearing zones were identified. Initial testing in the Massive Sand of Lower Goru Formation flowed 27.8 mmcfd of gas along with 337 bbl/d condensate at 64/64" choke size, thus confirming the presence of commercial quantities of natural gas and condensate at Shahdad X-1. However, the final flow potential of the well will be determined after its completion. This discovery will add more hydrocarbon reserves and also reduce the gap between supply and demand of oil and gas during current energy crisis in the country.-PR

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LNG import: three termini to be set up at Port Qasim

The Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has approved three terminals for import, storage and re-gasification of around 1.7 bcfd Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) at Port Qasim. A meeting of the ECC presided over by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar Thursday approved the Engro Terminal Project that would be completed on a fast track basis in six to eight months with an estimated cost of $30-$40 million to handle 200 mmcfd LNG. The Finance Minister reportedly constituted a committee with Chairman Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA), Secretary Finance and Secretary Petroleum to look into the possibility of a wavier in PPRA rules to fast track the project otherwise the Prime Minister may be approached for giving a one-time waiver owing to an emergent situation. The SSGC LPG retrofit project would be completed with an estimated cost of $175 to $200 million and would have the capacity to import and handle 500 mmcfd LNG. The ECC also approved a new LNG terminal with an estimated cost of $200 to $250 million having a capacity to handle 500 mmcfd to 1000 mmcfd. The ECC decided that the two projects would be completed within 18 to 22 months and 26 to 30 months, respectively. An official said that the ECC rejected a summary moved by the Ministry of Railways proposing that $114 million borrowed by the ministry in 2002 from Exim Bank to purchase coaches should be made part of the national debt and removed from the account of Railways. Sources said the meeting strongly objected to the proposal and wanted Ministry of Railways to take care of its debt liabilities itself. The ECC decided to constitute a committee under the chairmanship of Federal Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid with Anusha Rehman, State Minister for Information and Technology, Chairman SECP, deputy governor State Bank and Secretary Economic Affairs Division to streamline registration and regulation of non-governmental organisations/international non-governmental organisations and put up a comprehensive report for the consideration of ECC within two months. The chairman of the committee has also been authorised to designate any person that he may deem necessary for the purpose. While reviewing the report on implementation of the decisions taken by the ECC, the ECC members expressed satisfaction over the pace of implementation of its decisions. The ECC while reviewing key economic indicators was informed that the surge in the items included in the sensitive price index has been contained especially with respect to non-food items. The meeting expressed satisfaction over the present stock of sugar and was told that 100,000 tons have been released to cater for the requirements of July as well as Ramazan. As for the fuel position, there is presently a stock for 21 days as compared to 12 days in the corresponding period last year (2011-12). The meeting was informed that a healthy growth of 4.2 percent was recorded in large scale manufacturing sector as compared to 1.3 percent during the corresponding period last year (2011-12). The exports in 2012-13 totalled $24.52 billion showing an increase of 3.78 percent while imports hovered around $44.95 billion. The remittances recorded a growth of 5.6 percent, reaching a record $13.920 billion in 2012-13. However, the revenue collection was only Rs 1882.7 billion showing a growth of only 3.1 percent. The meeting was informed that the stock exchange index has reached a record 23160 points and the market capitalisation has nearly doubled. Anusha Rehman, State Minister for Information Technology proposed that the charts reflecting the performance of economy should include another column showing targets so that there is a realistic analysis of the performance of the economy. The proposal was approved by the ECC. Chairman FBR, Tariq Bajwa informed the meeting that SRO on zero rating GST on dairy, bicycle and stationery has been issued. The meeting noted that the Ministry of Industries has floated two international tenders of 50,000 tons each for import of urea on an emergency basis of which one will be opened on Monday. The ECC decided not to extend the expiry period for quotas to those parties who were unable to export sugar within the stipulated period. These quotas would now be awarded on first come first served basis to applicants who would establish irrevocable letter of credit with shipment date within 60 days. The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Zahid Hamid, Minister for National Food Security, Sikandar Hayat Bosan, Federal Minister for Industries and Production, Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi, Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Minister for Railways, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Minister for Planning and Development, Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Water and Power, Khawaja Mohammad Asif, Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecommunications, Anusha Rehman, Secretaries of various divisions and representatives of different departments.

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Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister directs to expedite work on oil refinery

Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak has directed the authorities of the provincial Energy and Power Department and Pakistan State Oil (PSO) to expedite work on the establishment of the proposed oil refinery in the province. He also directed that necessary measures be taken to remove all hurdles in its way so that the project could soon be put on the ground. He issued these directives while chairing a briefing regarding the establishment of the said oil refinery at his office on Monday in which the authorities of Pakistan State Oil (PSO) and the provincial Energy and Power Department briefed the Chief Minister on various aspects of the project. Besides the Senior Provincial Minister for Energy and Power Sikandar Hayat Khan Sherpao, Additional Chief Secretary, Khalid Pervez, Additional Chief Secretary Finance, Sahibzada Saeed, Secretary Energy and Power Khalid Gillani, Secretary P&D Dr Asad Ali, Senior Member Board of Revenue Waqar Ayub, and Commissioner Kohat Division Jamal-ud-Din, Managing Director and other high ups of PSO also attended the briefing. They said that the oil refinery would be established in the province by the provincial government in collaboration with PSO. The Chief Minister said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was replete with valuable natural resources including oil and gas adding that the present provincial government would exploit all those resources for the development of the province and the prosperity of its people. Talking about the refinery, the Chief Minister said that the project on its completion would provide a sound basis for the economy of the province by saving foreign exchange and by making the province self sufficient in petroleum products. The Chief Minister directed that a team comprising of elected representatives and technical staff of PSO should visit the proposed site of the project and submit a report regarding the suitability of the site in the shortest possible time so that progress could be made on the establishment of the refinery. On this occasion it was said that it would be the first oil refinery of the province with a total refinery capacity of 40 thousand barrels per day; and the project would be completed by the mid 2016 with an estimated cost of 650 million US$. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has a production capacity of 28 thousands barrel of crude oil per day; and due to non-availability of an oil refinery at the local level all the crude oil is being transported to an oil refinery at Rawalpindi.

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Government yet to construct terminal for LNG storage

Pakistan has not yet constructed the terminal for storage of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and immediate import of LNG is not possible, as construction would take two to two and a half years. Sources told Business Recorder that LNG imports to the country is not possible before January 2016 without storage capacity. If the government decides to start LNG import the completion of first step, i.e. financial close will take at least four to six months and after that the completion of storage facility would take two years, so LNG import is not possible before January 2016. The former PPP led federal government time and again tried to initiate import of LNG but due to court cases and corruption charges it failed in initiating the process. Recently, the participants of the meeting of Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet have agreed that preference should be given to import of 500 million cubic feet per day (MMCFD) of LNG from Qatar. According to the LNG import plan proposed by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, two or more import projects of 500mmcfd each may be undertaken jointly by Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) keeping in view all LNG rules including PPRA rules. Under the proposed project structure, the ECC said in line with the cabinet approval, preference should be given to Qatar Gas for negotiations between the two governments for purchase of up to 500MMCFD of LNG. But according to senior officials, Qatar has informed Pakistan that it has only 300mmcfd LNG left, as due to higher demand of international buyers have booked all the stocks. Some other options could also be explored to encourage LNG suppliers to construct a storage and re-gasification terminal for taking delivery of LNG. In this regard, a public-private partnership model may be worked out. ECC has directed the Ministry of Petroleum to prepare a separate summary on whether government-to-government negotiations could be started with other countries for LNG import and also whether bids for import through private parties could be invited simultaneously. In its June 27 meeting, the ECC had cancelled bids invited in two tenders for import of 400mmcfd of LNG each by the previous government and asked the petroleum ministry to pursue the plan for import of 500mmcfd from Qatar in a government-to-government deal keeping in view the energy crisis in the country. It also suggested that a transparent process for rebid should get under way in line with applicable rules for other integrated LNG import projects. In August 2012 Pakistan also discussed the import of up to 200 Million Cubic Feet per Day (MMCFD) LNG from India via Wagah Border but did not reach at any decision. On July 20, 2011 the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) issued three conditional licenses and one provisional licence to the LNG project proponents. The conditional licences were issued to 'Pakistan Gasport Limited', Engro Corporation Limited, and Global Energy Infrastructure Limited while the provisional license has been issued to DSME ENR Limited, but none of the party was able to start LNG imports and due to delay LNG imports gas crisis in the country further escalated. As per the capacity allocations the Global Energy of Turkey (GEIP) was expected to start importing LNG by June 2012, followed by Engro by December next year and Pakistan Gasport by early 2013. The Global Energy and Engro were to import 500 Million Cubic Feet per Day (MMCFD) each while Pakistan Gasport was to import 400Mmcfd. The imported LNG will be mainly utilised for power generation. About 500mmcfd of LNG can produce about 2,500MW of electricity. The import of natural gas in the form of LNG remained one of the basic priorities of the government to overcome looming energy crisis in the country. Top government official time and again stated that they are working on short-term, medium-term and long-term plans to resolve the crisis, but PPP government failed in starting any of the projects. As per Petroleum Ministry officials the LNG import project is a short term solution of the issue, while in the long run the government has to explore new oil and gas reservoirs in the country so as to increase the indigenous gas production in the country.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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Gas project at Shadbagh inaugurated

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior leader Mohammad Parveiz Malik MNA has said that economic revival, progress of trade & industry and early resolution of public grievances are the top most priorities of present government for which steps are being taken on war footing basis. While speaking on the occasion of inauguration of gas project at Shadbagh on Saturday, he said the PML-N is determined to resolve the problems posed to the country as well as nation and practical steps are being taken in this regard instead of raising mere claims as was the practice in previous regime. He said that massive corruption in previous government was the root cause of load shedding but Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif has evolved a well-thought strategy to overcome the issue of power crisis. PML-N MNA Shaista Pervez, a large number of industrialists, traders and people of the areas were present on the occasion. The PML-N leader said that power plants were being converted to coal and after completion of these projects; cheap and sufficient electricity would be available for all. He said that projects were well on the way to produce about 10,000MW electricity in next three years. He said the PML-N would not allow corruption at any level and necessary steps are being taken in this regard. He said that whole nation was well aware that PML-N leaders Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif always gave priority to the national interests.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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Energy sector: 'MoUs for cooperation with Chinese firms inked'

A ceremony was held Tuesday to sign agreements with regard to cooperation between Punjab government and various foreign companies in energy, metro-rail and infrastructure sectors. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Kh Ahmed Hasan, Chairman Planning and Development, Secretary Energy, Secretary Health, Secretary Information, DG LDA and Managing Director Metro Bus Authority were also present on the occasion. Under the agreements, foreign companies will extend cooperation in energy, metro-rail and infrastructure sectors. Secretary Energy Usman Akhtar Bajwa, Chairman LDA Ahad Cheema on behalf of Punjab government while Huang Jian Jun, Chairman Sematic Capital Company Ltd, China Zong Fong Investment Company Ltd and Brigham Edward, Chief Executive Officer AIC, LLC signed the agreements on behalf of their companies. Before the signing ceremony, a meeting was held to review the pace of investment by foreign investors in various sectors particularly energy. Addressing on the occasion, Shahbaz Sharif said that Pakistan is facing energy crisis and government is taking steps on emergent basis for coping with this serious problem. He said that overcoming energy crisis is top priority of the government and this issue also remained on the top during his recent visit of China. He said that agreements were made with a number of Chinese companies for cooperation in energy sector. He said that Punjab government has provided a conducive atmosphere for investment in the province and all projects are being completed in a transparent manner. The Chief Minister said that metro bus service and other projects are a clear proof of this fact. The representatives of foreign companies said that they would implement these agreements speedily and their engineering team is going to reach Lahore next week in this regard.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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Coal energy our top priority: Prime Minister

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Saturday, that his government desired to generate maximum chunk of power through coal for permanent deliverance from loadshedding. Travelling from Beijing to Shanghai by high speed train, the Prime Minister held four meetings with different delegates and discussed with them the power and infrastructure projects with regard to Pakistan. During a meeting with the Prime Minister, Vice President China Machinery Engineering Corporation Jin Chunsheng told the Prime Minister that his company had long been engaged in power sector of Pakistan and currently working on a power project in Jamshoro. Prime Minister said his government desired to generate maximum chunk of electricity through coal to get low-priced electricity and get rid of power outages. Jin Chunsheng told the Prime Minister that his company was capable to manufacture coal turbines having the capacity to generate up to 1000 megawatts as usually coal turbines generate maximum 5000 megawatts of electricity. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed desire to run the furnace oil-fired power generation units through coal.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2013

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LNG import deal: Khaqan, Asif likely to visit Qatar

Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Minister for Water and Power, Khawaja Muhammad Asif are likely to visit Qatar in a couple of days. The visit is aimed at finalising 500 mmcfd Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) import deal on government-to-government basis, well informed sources told Business Recorder. The duo is closely working on energy projects as top energy managers of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet, in its meeting on July 2, 2013 authorised Ministry of Petroleum to engage with government of Qatar for procurement of up to 500 mmcfd LNG. Giving details, sources said, the ECC in its meeting on October 3, 2012 while considering a summary submitted by the Petroleum Ministry approved detailed modalities for LNN/RLNG infrastructure project including project infrastructure(s). The ECC was informed on June 27, 2013 by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources that pursuant to aforesaid approval, Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGC) prepared Request for Proposal (RFP) in Consultation with International Consultants sponsored by USAID and initiated competitive bidding for procurement of RLNG for two separate and successive projects of 400 mmcfd each. It was also informed that financial bids of the technically qualified bidders for the first project were opened on March 05, 2013 which were evaluated with the help of International Consultants and presented to SSGC''s Board of Directors (BoD) for approval. In the meanwhile, MPNR submitted a summary to ECC in anticipation of the approval of the BoD. The ECC while considering the summary vide case No ECC-77/06/2013, decided that being an important matter, it may be placed before the Cabinet for a decision, after it has been considered and approved by the Board of Directors of the SSGC. In the meanwhile, Supreme Court of Pakistan on March 10, 2013 took a suo motu notice of the matter and its order of March 11, 2013 stayed proceedings before all fora till the decision of the case. The ministry further intimated that pursuant to ECC decision of March 08, 2013, a summary of March 12, 2013 was submitted to the Cabinet wherein the status of LNG import was informed to the Cabinet. A separate proposal from M/s Qatar Gas for supply of LNG on Government to Government (G to G) basis was also included in the case No 108/05/2013, approved to allow SSGC to further negotiate import of LNG from Qatar. In view of these developments, the date of opening of bids for second project was extended till July 1, 2013. Subsequently, the Supreme Court during its hearing held on June 14, 2013, disposed of the suo motu notice in terms of MPNR's statement proposing to move the case to ECC for re-tendering of the project due to apparent position of the new government. The aforementioned view was formed by the MPNR after hearing all the three qualified bidders of the project. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources submitted the following options for consideration of ECC of the Cabinet: (a) Present Project- the bidding process for both the phases of 400 mmcfd RLNG each may be cancelled; (b) Proposed Project Structure- Two or more LNG import projects of 500 mmcfd each may be undertaken jointly by SSGC and SNGPL while following all applicable rules including PPRA Rules as per following details; (i) 500 mmcfd RLNG import project on integrated project structure basis and RLNG will be delivered at SSGC delivery point. The selected project developer will be responsible for arranging LNG supply, its shipment and re-gasification. With regard to details of bidding process all modalities including RFP may be reviewed/improved and/or; (ii) in line with the approval of the Cabinet, preference to be given to Qatar gas for G to G negotiations for procurement of up to 500 mmcfd LNG on Delivered Ex-Ship basis; (a) to receive LNG following alternate options may be considered; (b) to encourage the LNG suppliers to construct LNG storage and re-gasification terminal for receiving LNG on tolling basis; (c) or to enter into an agreement with an independent LNG Terminal Owner and/or Operator for the provision of LNG receiving, storage and re-gasification services at its terminal under a tolling agreement; (d) or to develop LNG Terminal/re-gasification facilities on Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis. The meeting observed that the earlier process did not fulfil the requirement of transparency. Accordingly, the bidding process instituted for both the phases of 400 mmcfd RLNG each needs to be cancelled altogether. However, the proposal of giving preference to the Qatar gas for government to government negotiations for procurement of up to 500 mmcfd LNG on delivered ex-ship basis should be pursued quickly in view of the energy requirements of the country. A transparent process for the revised bidding in line with applicable rules would be instituted for the purpose. The committee noted that due consultations with various stakeholders has not been made as per the Rules of Business, 1973, which is a pre-requisite.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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Oil storage facility, oil refinery: China, Pakistan to sign MoUs

Pakistan and China are to sign Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) during the ongoing visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for setting up of oil storage facility, an oil refinery and distribution points for transmission of oil and gas to western regions of China from Gwadar, well informed sources told Business Recorder. The sources said, during the visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, to Pakistan on May 22 to 23 May, 2013 both parties agreed to establish a joint working group, formulating a long-term planning for China-Pakistan economy corridor and promoting infrastructure and economic zones construction along the corridor. In order to implement the consensus reached by leaders of the two countries, and after friendly negotiations, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) China and the Ministry of Planning and Development (MPD) of Pakistan are to sign the MoUs, which are as follows: 1) The building of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will promote bilateral connectivity construction, explore the potential bilateral investment, economic and trade, logistic and people-to-people contacts. It will facilitate two countries'' and regional economic integration, bring benefits to both countries and the two peoples, play an active and important role in co-operation and stability between South Asia and the entire Asia. 2) A Long-term Plan should be developed under the principle of scientific planning, steadily developing and take the highest priority first. An Action Plan is to be developed biannually under the framework of the Long-Term Plan, articulating detailed working targets and co-operation projects, and implement them phase by phase. The co-operation plan includes but is not limited to connectivity, undertaking research on communication networks including roads, railways, oil and gas pipelines, and fibre optic cables linking Western China with Gwadar, Pakistan. The sources said, Pakistan will also request China for further co-operation in nuclear energy, coal and hydropower projects. The issues confronting Chinese investors in Pakistan will also come under discussion.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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Canadian HC calls on Minister for Petroleum

Greg Giokas, High Commissioner of Canada to Pakistan called on Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Tuesday. While talking to the Canadian High Commissioner, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that Pakistan enjoys cordial and friendly relations with Canada and pledged to carry these ties forward in the new government. He observed that Pakistan has huge reserves of natural resources and there is an ample opportunity to invest in the Oil, Gas and Mineral sectors. He said that we welcome Canadian investment and technical support in the oil and gas sector in Pakistan. Gres Giokas, congratulated the Minister on smooth transfer of power in Pakistan through a political process to the newly elected government of PML (N), and hoped that this will help strengthen the democratic process in Pakistan.

Copyright News Network International, 2013

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ECC authorises MoP to broker LNG deal

The Economic Co-ordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) on Tuesday authorised Ministry of Petroleum to engage in parleys with the government of Qatar for the import of up to 500MMcfd of LNG. It also decided to settle remaining circular debt of Rs 158 billion before July 21 instead of August 10. The ECC meeting presided over by Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar decided to allow import of 300,000 tons of urea for Kharif season. Sources said a summary was moved by the Ministry of Industries to the ECC had advocated the import of 0.5 million tons of urea for Kharif season. Sources said the Finance Minister, however, expressed displeasure over a belated decision on urea import. The Minister was quoted as raising a question why a decision to import urea was not taken during the tenure of caretaker government to ensure its timely availability. The meeting also decided to give 60 MMcfd gas reserved for Guddu Power Plant from Mari Gas field to fertiliser sector to have domestic production of 50,000 tons fertiliser per month. The ECC also decided to transfer Universal Service Fund (USF) from scheduled banks to the Federal Consolidated Fund. The ECC was informed that pursuant to its decisions of a meeting held on June, 27 2013, the Universal Service Fund and Research and Development Fund constituted under the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organisation) Act, 1996, and had been held in accounts with scheduled banks, had been transferred to the Federal Consolidated Fund after necessary amendments to the Rules. An official said a decision was taken after consultation with law ministry. The meeting was informed that the transfer was in conformity with the provisions of the 1996 Act "which stipulates that the funds shall be under the control of the federal government." The USF rules 2006 also stipulate that the federal government shall have the possession, management and control of the Fund, its income, undertakings, properties and assets. The Research and Development Fund Rules, 2006 state that the federal government shall administer, control and manage it. Provisions in the Act/Rules relating to non-lapsing of credit balances in the Fund and procedures for release and utilisation of fund therefrom remain unchanged. It may also be mentioned here that the Workers'' Welfare Fund and the Export Development Fund, which are of similar nature, are also held in Federal Consolidated Fund. The ECC was informed that as per its decision dated June, 27, 2013 Rs 322 billion on account of circular debt had been paid to the IPPs following a signing of an MoU with following conditions; (i) Conversion to coal through projects with capacity of more than 2000 MWs; (ii) optimal utilisation''s of available capacities by IPPs; (iii) one month extension in the payment period to Pepco/CPPA; (iv) Settlement of dues in accordance with provision of Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and withdrawal of cases by nine IPPs from the Supreme Court. The ECC was further informed that this step would bring an additional 1600-1700 MW to national grid which would considerably reduce power shortage in the country. This step would further enhance the credibility of the country and boost investor confidence. The ECC also decided to liquidate balance of circular debt before July 21 instead of August 10 as originally envisaged. This step would bring further relief to people. The ECC was informed that month-on-month CPI based inflation is estimated at 5.9 percent in June 2013. Food inflation is 7.9 percent and contributed 2.9 percent points to inflation in June, 2013 while non-food inflation stood at 4.4 percent and contributed approximately 3.0 percentage points to CPI inflation. The ECC was further informed that Pakistan''s month on month inflation registered at 5.9 percent in June, 2013, while in India 9.3 percent (May, 2013) followed by Bangladesh, 7.9 percent (April, 2013) and Sri Lanka, 6.8 percent (June, 2013). The ECC was informed that stock of wheat as on June 24, 2013 was 6.4 million tons. The situation shows that a sufficient quantity of wheat is available for daily release to mills by Provincial Food Departments and Passco. Sufficient stocks of sugar and POL products are also available.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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Sanghar reservoir PPL tests gas-condensate successfully

Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL), operator of Block 2568-13 (Hala) Exploration License with 65 per cent working interest along with its joint venture partner Mari Petroleum Company Limited with 35 per cent interest have announced the successful production testing of gas-condensate from a deeper reservoir at Adam X-1 exploration well, located in District Sanghar, Sindh Province. The potential of deeper reservoir of Lower Basal Sands (Lower Goru formation), at a depth of 3450 meters was evaluated at Adam X-1 during May-June, 2013. During testing the well flowed 14.3 million cubic feet per day of gas and 125 barrels per day oil (condensate) at 40/64" choke. The well will be put on production immediately. The additional hydrocarbon reserves will reduce the gap between supply and demand of oil and gas during the current energy crisis in the country.-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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Pakistan, Indonesia can enhance trade ties: SBP

Implementation of the Indonesia-Pakistan Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) can play a significant role in resolving the issues of business community at both sides, besides enhancing bilateral trade volume, business opportunities and benefiting from expertise of both countries. This was the consensus surfaced after a joint dialogue session among businessmen as well as government officials and diplomats from Indonesia and Pakistan. The session, following speeches of State Bank of Pakistan Governor Yaseen Anwer, Indonesian Ambassador to Pakistan M Burhan Muhammad and Indonesian Consul General Rossalis R Adenan, was organised by the Ministry of Trade, Republic of Indonesia in collaboration with the Indonesian Embassy in Islamabad, the Indonesian Consulate General in Karachi and the Pakistan-Indonesia Business Forum at a local hotel on Tuesday. The focus of discussion was on ways to enhance trade relations between the two brotherly countries, which are already tied in a fold of mutual cooperation, comradely and worldwide Islamic brotherhood. About 200 participants from Indonesia and Pakistan agreed that there is massive potential of bilateral cooperation in trade, tourism and industry sectors. It was cited that non-implementation of PTA is the core obstacle behind lack of bilateral trade volume between the two countries. On the occasion, several issues, as well as their possible solutions were discussed. Indonesian ambassador’s commitment for his utmost efforts to ease the visa policy for Pakistanis remained a significant development. The announcement was overwhelmingly welcomed. In this connection panelists and participants of the discussion also elaborated the behaviour of bureaucracy and the problems being faced by Indonesians in Pakistan. The moot was told that the trade volume between Indonesia and Pakistan has increased 44 percent in 2012 as compared to the previous year, reaching $1.6 billion. It is expected that with the implementation of the Indonesia-Pakistan PTA, the volume will be multiplied by threefold. Earlier, the chief guest of the ceremony Anwar emphasised that both the countries should join forces to increase bilateral trade volume. He said, “Lets find ways to explore opportunities for enhancing bilateral economic ties. Indonesia is among top ten countries of the world in mining sector, Pakistan can use its expertise and Similarly Indonesia can be a large market of Pakistani exports.” The SBP governor further added that intra-regional trade is the need of the hour, particularly in the ongoing economic situations. He urged ASEAN countries to take solid measures to reduce the gaps so as to enhance bilateral trade relations. The Indonesian ambassador in his particular style opened the dialogue and announced major priorities to strengthen the commercial ties between two countries. staff report

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