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News Headlines for the month of
OCTOBER 2013

‘Solar Energy Park biggest investment in country’s history’

LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that the project of Quaid-e-Azam Solar Energy Park in Bahawalpur would bring an investment of more than Rs 200 billion in the area, terming it the biggest investment in history of the country. He was addressing a gathering of people and elites of the area after inspecting the project site in Bahawalpur on Saturday. Due to this investment, the chief minister said, not only the new era of development and prosperity will usher in the region but the entire country and fate of the whole area including South Punjab will change. He said 1000 megawatt electricity will be generated in the first phase of solar energy park spread over an area of 11,000 acres while the supply of 100 megawatt solar energy will start before March 31, 2014. Similarly, under this project, the electricity production will continue to increase, he added. Shahbaz said the electricity to be generated from solar energy park set up at the district will be provided not only to Bahawalpur but other districts of South Punjab. He said not only new job opportunities will be created through this project but the fruits of economic development will also reach the area. The chief minister categorically said all the land allocated for solar park will only be in the name of Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park. He said the local youth will be given preference for jobs in the project, adding the vocations will not be given on political basis in this splendid project. The chief minister said the government had made planning for developing the park on modern lines and a programme had been evolved for generating more energy of 600 megawatt in the next 18 months. Shahbaz announced that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will soon lay the foundation of this project. He further said investors of Europe and China would invest in Bahawalpur due to this historic project which will set new dimensions of development. The chief minister said the final shape was being given to the master plan of this project and new chapter of development will be added in the area due to its timely completion. Shahbaz said Nawab Sir Sadiq Muhammad Khan Abbasi was an enlightened leader who carried out invaluable development work in this area. The chief minister directed the concerned authorities to work day and night and priority should be given to the provision of water and construction of roads. Meanwhile, Shahbaz Sharif also inaugurated the newly constructed 125-bed District Headquarter Hospital and computerised Land Record Information Centre at Lodhran. The district headquarter hospital is spread over an area of 170 kanal and has been constructed at a cost of Rs 500 million. After inauguration of the hospital, the chief minister inspected its various wards. During inspection, he expressed his indignation over improver arrangements of cleanliness in the operation theatre and directed to ensure the best treatment facilities and proper arrangements of cleanliness in the hospital. He said people will rid of patwar culture due to the revolutionary programme of land computerised record. Later, addressing a public meeting at New Sports Stadium Lodhran, Shahbaz said the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park will help overcome energy crisis and provide new job opportunities to people of the area. He said solar power project will bring a revolution of prosperity in the area. Mentioning the setting up of land computerised record centre, he said the obsolete system of patwar will soon bury and people will rid of bribery, nepotism and corruption. He said land record computerization work will be completed in 36 districts of the Punjab at a cost of Rs.11 billion till 2014. He said that completion of land record centre in Lodhran in one and a half year was commendable step. On the occasion, he announced to constitute a 10-member committee five women which will supervise the affairs of District Headquarter Hospital Lodhran. Members National Assembly Abdul Rehman Khan Kanju, Siddique Khan Baloch, members Provincial Assembly Zubair Khan Baloch, mir Iqbal Shah, Malik Sajjad Hussain Joya, Sultan Jehangir Bhutta, and Ahmed Khan Baloch, Chairman Punjab Bait-ul-Mal Suleman Mangla and President Muslim League-N Lodhran, Tahir Amir Ghauri, were also present.

Copyright Daily Times, 2013

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Turkish group to invest in Gadani power park

ISLAMABAD: Leading Turkish business giant, Nurol Group, has expressed its readiness to invest in the Gadani Power Park, and to assist Pakistan in building Karachi-Lahore Motorway as well as Bhasha and Bonji dams. The Nurol Group is involved in the construction of the second largest dam and hydro-electricity power plant project, and its delegation, led by Vice Chairman, Orguz Carmikli, held a meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif here on Wednesday. Mr Carmikli met the prime minister in Turkey recently. The company is focused on construction of motorway, dams and hydroelectric power plants and has recently constructed Gebze-Izmir Motorway, including world’s third largest Izmat Bay suspension bridge at a cost of $9.5 billion. Speaking to Mr Orguz, Prime Minister Sharif said that Pakistan’s priority sectors for investment include hydel and coal power plants, Karachi-Lahore Motorway and infrastructure development and Nurol must benefit from the huge business and investment opportunities. Mr Sharif said that the country faces power shortages and the present government is dedicated to mitigate the same by exploiting innovative and cheap energy resources. He added that Pakistan Power Park at Gaddani offers a golden opportunity to invest in coal-based power plants. Expressing his satisfaction over Pakistan’s legal framework for foreign investment, Mr Carmikli was pleased to know that the federal government would provide sovereign guarantees for construction of dams and energy projects. Utilising Nurol’s expertise in infrastructure development, the company may construct motorways on BOT basis.

Copyright Dawn, 2013

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Prime Minister invites big Turkish companies to invest in mega projects

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has invited leading Turkish companies to invest in mega projects, including energy sector projects - Diamer-Bhasha Dam and coal fired power plants in Gaddani (Balochistan), official sources told Business Recorder. Prime Minister during his visit to Turkey from September 16-19, 2013 to co-chair the 3rd meeting of the High Level Co-operation (HLCC) met with CEOs of a number of leading Turkish companies and invited them to avail of the business friendly economic policies of the government by investing in Pakistan. The companies are: i) Nurol Group, a major Turkish conglomerate with interests in construction, defence, manufacturing, tourism and finance. Nurol Group's investment interests in Pakistan include construction of dams (interest in Bhasha Dam), coal fired thermal plants, nuclear power plants, wind & solar energy, construction of Motorway on BOT basis. Prime Minister invited the Group Chairman to visit Pakistan in early November, 2013 and encouraged the group's investment in hydel projects such as Bhasha and Dasu, motorways between Lahore and Karachi, civil nuclear plants and low cost housing. ii) LIMAK Group, with interests in infrastructure, airport construction and management, port management, energy, tourism, cement, etc. LIMAK's areas of potential investments in Pakistan include hydroelectric projects, including Kurram-Tangi Dam and Gomal Zam Dam, coal fired energy, wind energy. The Prime Minister invited Nihat Ozdemir of LIMAK to consider visiting Pakistan in October, 2013 and encouraged LIMAK's investments in coal fired energy plants in Gaddani Power Park, hydro power plants and wind energy; build a 7 kms jetty for transportation of coal to Gaddani Power Park; and in construction of airports on BOT basis. iii) STFA, a big business house with diversified activities in marine construction, civil/infrastructure works, soils and foundation engineering, oil, gas and power and engineering and management consultancy. Investment interests of the company in Pakistan include electricity transmission lines (MoU signed), wind energy (MoU signed), airport construction in partnership with STFA on BOT basis, ports and marine terminals, STFA is also looking at the potential of coal fired energy projects. The Prime Minister invited the company to visit Pakistan soon. He indicated that Pakistan would be interested, in BOT investments in airport construction and management, electricity transmission lines and energy projects, including wind. iv) ZORLU Holding, with interests in energy, textiles, real estate and electronics. ZORLU energy deals in all operations of energy chain including project development and turn-key delivery of power plants. Its existing projects/investments in Pakistan include a 56 MW wind energy farm in Jhimpir, Sindh which is extendable to 250 MW and import textiles from Pakistan. New investment interests of the company in Pakistan include additional wind energy projects (already has a license of 300 MW, requires additional allocation of land, will seek availability of financing through IFIs), hydroelectric plants, has no experience with coal based power plants but is ready to study the option, possible manufacturing of home appliances. After the meeting, in a simple ceremony, the Prime Minister and Ahmet Zorlu made a symbolic inauguration of 56 MW wind energy project in Sindh. v) SANKO and TEYO, SANKO, a 108 years old company, deals in energy, heavy equipment and machinery, cement and textiles. TEYO Group is involved in a 700MW coal project in Turkey. These companies have an interest in a block in Thar coal area. Prime Minister asked the two groups to consider investments in (a) Gaddani power park in Hub and (b) build a power plant in Thar coal area. He also invited them to visit Pakistan soon (Prime Minister was informed that the Group was in the process in internal assessment and is considering investment in coal plants as well as installation of transmission lines as part of the investment package). vi) Albayrak Group, with interests in construction, manufacturing of tractors and engines, textile and paper, transportation including bus fleets, waste management, etc. Its existing investments in Pakistan include Lahore Solid Waste Management and Lahore Metro bus. Albayrak Group's investment interests in Pakistan include urban transport including Metro bus systems, inter-city luxury Mercedes Bus Service, restaurants on motorways, Solid Waste Management, Low cost housing, possible manufacturing of Wind Turbines and Waste Collection Trucks. The Prime Minster asked the Finance Minister to urgently look into the group's complaint about exorbitant 60 percent import duty on buses. The Prime Minister requested the group to finalise its plans early (bus service permissions will be granted by provincial authorities). vii) TAV Airports Holding - airport operator in Turkey with a footprint in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. TAV work model is Public Private Partnership (PPP), the most common being Build-Operate and Transfer (BOT). TAV's investment interests in Pakistan could include airport construction/management - can join hands with STFA to build/operate airports in Pakistan. For their BOT projects, they will work on the basis of 30 percent equity and 70 percent commercial loan. The Prime Minister invited the Group CEO Sani Sener to visit Pakistan early. He apprised him of the potential of a new airport in Islamabad for which land is being acquired. He also mentioned possibility of construction of other airports or upgradation of existing ones.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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ADB advises govt to diversify energy sources

ISLAMABAD, Oct 14: Painting a grim energy outlook for Pakistan, the Asian Development Bank has urged the government to make steady progress in diversifying energy sources away from natural gas and ensuring savings in the face of challenges surrounding supply constraints. “Nuclear and new and renewable energy sources are being considered for expansion;” although they will greatly reduce import needs, the safety of nuclear usage, as well as the enhancement of grid stability through the expanded new and renewable energy sources will have to be secured, the ADB says in ‘Energy outlook for Asia and the Pacific’, published on Monday. The wind, solar and biomass sources will be important for the diversification, but the prospects of their making inroads into the energy market are small because of lack of incentive policies for the private sector, it says. The report says the achievement of source diversification, particularly in the power sector, may require fundamental structural reform to ensure that electricity tariffs reflect the ‘true cost’ and to ensure long-term purchases from private generators. It says it is desirable to consider energy efficiency on priority, especially a reduction in electricity demand. The report says the cost of development of Thar coal deposits would be high because they are spread over 9,000km and located 1.2-4.8km below the ground. “Securing sufficient investment will pose a challenge.” Cooperation with neighboring countries will be important since the country will have to increasingly rely on imported energy sources, it pointed out while mentioning the government’s initiatives and plans to import natural gas from Iran, Qatar and Turkmenistan. The report says it will be increasingly difficult for the country to meet its growing energy demand. “Pakistan is faced with constraints in domestic energy supply as well as the need for upgrades and replacement of obsolete energy supply infrastructure, including power plants and transmission and distribution systems.” The report says that the energy demand is projected to increase at an annual rate of 2.1 per cent through 2035, slower than the projected GDP growth rate of 3.4pc. At this rate, the final energy demand will reach 117.6 ‘million tons of oil equivalent’ in 2035, up from 69.8 in 2010. The share of residential, commercial, agriculture and fishery sectors in the demand will decrease from 51.4pc to 40.5pc in 2035. The transport and industry energy demand will increase at 3.4pc and 3.2pc per year. Amid a shifting from non-commercial biomass for cooking and heating, the demand for the source is likely to remain almost constant. The industry sector’s energy demand will grow at 3.8pc. Near-term growth is much faster at 4.2pc (2010-20) than long-term growth at 3.5pc (2020-35). In terms of energy source, natural gas will grow the fastest at 4pc, followed by electricity at 3.7pc. In the transport sector, oil and natural gas are the main energy sources. Oil demand will grow by 3.5pc and natural gas by 2.6pc. As a result, the share of oil is expected to increase to 83pc in 2035 from 80pc in 2010, in contrast to a declining share of natural gas to 17pc from 20pc. BIGGEST SHARE: Natural gas will maintain the largest share, reaching 43.8pc in 2035, followed by oil at 23pc and others, including non-commercial biomass and new and renewable energy, at 18pc. Use of coal will increase as a result of the start-up of the Thar coalfield to feed the needs of the power and industry sectors. The share of hydroelectric power is projected to increase slightly to 5.2pc in 2035, with the capacity increasing to 25.1 gigawatts (GW) from 6.5GW, and nuclear energy will account for 2pc with the capacity increasing to 1.3GW from 0.5GW. Natural gas demand will represent the biggest incremental growth, driven by an increased use in the industry, power and other sectors. Oil demand will be led mostly by the transport sector, shifting from the use of natural gas. Domestic coal production will be focused on the Thar coalfield and prospects for imports are low, making it likely that the increase is much smaller than for the other sources, with growth being driven by the power and industry sectors. The report says that securing energy supply sources of natural gas, oil, hydropower and coal will be critical for the economic growth. Pakistan is self-sufficient in natural gas, the main energy source to meet its primary energy demand. While domestic production will decline from the current 38.4 billion cubic metres to 13bcm in 2035, Pakistan will have to start importing gas after 2015, it says.

Copyright Dawn, 2013

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Oil, gas exploration, power and railways' sectors: Russian companies interested in joint ventures: Strekalov

Associate Patron, Pakistan Russian Business Forum (PRBF), Alexey A Strekalov, has said that the Russian companies are interest to have joint-ventures with their Pakistani counterparts for oil and gas exploration, setting up power plants and investment in Railways. Speaking at a meeting of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), he said that the Russian delegation's visit would provide an excellent opportunity for Russian companies to establish partnership/relations with Pakistani companies to venture into new avenues of business development. He said that the composition of Russian delegation had vital importance for economy of Pakistan as it covers exploration of oil and gas, development of power sector, railways and tourism. Consul General of Russian Federation Oleg N. Avdeev said that the people of both countries did not know much about each others so interaction between them must be enhanced. It would play a vital role in augmenting bilateral trade, he added. He expressed the hope that the delegation's visit would prove an important step to have more ventures. Founder President of PRBF, Abdul Rauf Tabani, said that there were vast opportunities to boost bilateral trade between the two countries and establish joint-ventures in different areas. He said that at present bilateral trade between the two countries was insignificant. However, it could be increased manifold, he added. KCCI President Abdullah Zaki called for Russian assistance in gas exploration, railways and power sector. Recalling Pak-Russian co-operation in the past, Abdullah Zaki emphasised to replicate the co-operation on the lines of Pakistan Steel Mills in the areas of heavy machinery, engineering, automobiles, revamping railways, energy from coal, and other areas. He said that Pakistan could seek Russian help to integrate and boost its energy and power sector with technology transfer. He hoped that the bilateral relations would further improve in future as Russian Government has shown interest in signing Preferential and Free Trade Agreements. Former President KCCI, Majyd Aziz, was of the view that visit of Russian President to Pakistan would open new avenues of bilateral relations. He said that Pakistan Steel Mills was going through critical phase and need to be revamped with Russian co-operation. He said that Pakistan needed to focus more on Russia, China and SAARC countries rather focusing on European countries because $280 million exports with Russia was very trifling number which could be enhanced. He also praised the role of Russian Consul General in promoting bilateral trade relations between the two countries. Senior Vice President KCCI Muffasar Atta Malik, Vice President Muhammad Idrees and other also attended the meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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China firm to set up 10 coal-fired power plants costing US$ 7.2 bln

KARACHI: A Chinese world famed company, Chinese Power International Holding will set up ten coal fired power plants of 660 MW each, making total 6600 MW, at Thar coal fields ; with total estimated investment of dollars 7.2 billion. A memorandum of understanding was earlier inked between China Power International Holding and the Sindh Government for these power plants. Signatory to this MOU were SECMC and Global Mining Company (GMC)/ Sino Sindh Resources (SSR). Coal will be supplied by SECMC and GMC/SSR from Blocks I and II of Thar coal fields. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, during a press conference here at the Chief Minister House on Monday on his return from his visit to China, said many Chinese companies showed their interest to invest in Pakistan especially in Sindh. He informed the Chinese investors that his Government was creating an enabling environment for potential investors in developing infrastructure, coal mining, coal and wind power generation in the province. Thar coal fields have estimated reserves of 175 billion tons. These reserves could be utilised to produce 100,000 MW of power for many decades. He also informed that public private partnership had been initiated through an international competitive bidding process to ensure fast track development of Thar coal. He assured on behalf of the government of the provision of requisite infrastructure adding that the investors would find Thar as an exceptionally peaceful area. The Chief Minister, giving the details of his 5-day visit to China-- Sichuan province's capital Chengdu and China's capital Beijing- said his Government sought Chinese investment in development of Thar Coal mining and coal- based power generation, development of Wind Corridor and technical assistance in modernising agriculture. The Chief Minister visited Chengdu to participate in the 14th Western China International Fair on invitation of Governor Sichuan, Wei Hong. Sichuan province has a strong economy with a GDP of dollars 383 billion. It has robust agriculture, water management, strong mining technology coupled with high tech industry in Chengdu. Sichuan province Governor, Wei Hong assured all possible support to Sindh Government for collaboration in Thar Coal mining, coal and wind based power generation and establishment of an industrial zone in Sindh. Sichuan Governor and Deputy Secretary General of Chinese Communist Party, Li Jiaguo accepted his invitation and assured to visit Sindh province, said Syed Qaim Ali Shah. Syed Qaim Ali Shah witnessed the signing ceremony of 249.6 MW Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) contract signed between NBT Wind Power Pakistan II, a subsidiary of NBT Pakistan Holding (Pvt) Ltd of Singapore (NBT) and Harbin Electric International to build the largest wind farm in Pakistan using 156 units of 1.6 MW wind turbines made in China. NBT is developing 650 MW of wind farms in the wind corridor of Sindh. NBT, Harbin Electric International and GE are working jointly with a bank syndicate on project financing for this wind farm. The EPC contract includes 5 years of operation and maintenance services to wind turbines. The wind farm would have a construction time of two years and will bring much needed clean, renewable electricity to help alleviate the power crisis in Pakistan. It is estimated that the wind farm will produce approximately 700 gigawatts per year upon completion. The Chief Minister said he also visited the Hi-tech Industrial Zone in Chengdu which ranks 5th among the 53 national hi-tech zones in China in terms of comprehensive strength. The Chief Minister visited the state owned Sichuan Textile Import Export Corp where he invited Chinese Textile Companies to set up textile units in case of relocation to the Textile City, being developed in the industrial area of Port Qasim. The Director General Textile informed that cotton and textile related trade between Pakistan and Sichuan is not as per its potential and needs to be augmented. The Chief Minister invited them to Karachi which is a major hub of textile units and assured them of maximum support for boosting trade ties between the two regions and find out avenues for mutual cooperation between Sichuan Textile Import & Export Corp and APTMA. Various Business Groups of Sichuan province called on the Chief Minister which included Changhong Electric Co., New Hope Dairy and Biomass Institute of Ministry of Agriculture. The Chief Minister invited the business houses to explore investment opportunities that the province offers and undertake investment in Sindh. M/s. Changhong informed that they already have an assembly unit in Pakistan and are considering to expand their product and would positively consider Sindh as a destination for their expansion project. The Chief Minister informed BIOMA that Sindh province has great potential for developing biogas- based energy which is a cost effective solution for providing electricity in the rural areas. He suggested that BIOMA showed interest in collaborating with Agriculture University Tando Jam to provide an institutional platform for the purpose. He informed that the Government is already pursuing two projects namely Landhi Cattle Colony Biogas Project and Agro-waste to Energy project in Khairpur. The Chief Minister Sindh had a meeting with the president of Dongfang Electric Corporation (DEC) and his top management in his head office in Chengdu. The DEC is one of the leading companies having expertise in power generation through hydel, tidal, wind, solar and coal resources. Besides, this company is leading in the production of machinery and equipment related to the production of electricity. In the meeting, the president of DEC, Si Zefu acknowledged the potential and resources in Sindh available for the production of power and showed immense interest in the investment in Sindh province particularly in the production of electricity by hydel, solar, wind and coal resources. The president of DEC accepted the offer of the CM Sindh to send a delegation to visit Sindh and to come to an agreement for the mining of one of the blocks of Thar coal and to generate power from the coal after mining. The CM Sindh appreciated the DEC for the establishment of Lakhra power plant, Ghazi Barotha plant and Nandipur power plant. In an another meeting with the chairman of Sichuan Hejia Seed Industry Co, Ltd; the CM Sindh was briefed about the initiatives taken by the company for the development and introduction of hybrid seeds in wheat, rice, cotton and different fruits. The company showed interest in the joint venture in research and development, establishment of controlled- atmosphere cold storages and upgradation of agriculture labs in Sindh. The CM Sindh invited the delegation of the company to visit Sindh for detailed deliberation and future joint venture in the different areas of hybrid seeds production, training to farmers for high yield and collaboration with private stake holders for establishment of controlled atmosphere cold storages at Agro Export Processing Zone in Karachi. He said in Larkana, successful experiment of Chinese rice seed has been carried out which doubled the rice yield to 80 maunds per acre of land from 40 maunds. Syed Qaim Ali Shah also met Chairman of China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) Sun Bai who showed keen interest in the development of Thar coal, power, wind power and infrastructure projects in Sindh province and said that his company had rich experience of accomplishing such projects. He committed to send high powered delegation to Sindh for future development in establishment of power plant at Keti Bandar and Jetty. Sindh Chief Minister was assisted by Advisor to Sindh Chief Minister on Finance and Development Syed Murad Ali Shah, Provincial Secretaries of Finance and Development, and Coal.

Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2013

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Energy and other sectors: Turkey assures chief minister Punjab of co-operation

Turkish Prime Minister, Rajab Tayyip Erdogan, has assured his country's continued co-operation to Pakistan in energy and other sectors. He made the assurance during a meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in the Turkish city of Van. The two leaders agreed to promote bilateral relations, specially co-operation in energy, education sectors and eradication of terrorism. The Turkish Prime Minister said that visit of Shahbaz Sharif to Turkey would further enhance co-operation in various sectors and promote relations between the two countries Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said people of Pakistan and Turkey are bound in the everlasting relations of love, affection and brotherhood.

Copyright Pakistan Press International, 2013

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Overcoming energy crisis: US pledges continued support

The United States has assured Pakistan of continued support in meeting energy requirements as American Energy Secretary Dr Ernest Moniz, met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to discuss bilateral co-operation. Dr Moniz was joined during the call by Amb. Carlos Pascual, US Special Envoy for International Energy Co-operation, Ms Elizabeth Littlefield, President of OPIC, Dr Rajiv Shah, USAID Administrator and Deputy National Security Adviser Ms Caroline Atkinson. The US Energy Secretary lauded the efforts of the Government of Pakistan in dealing with the serious energy challenges facing the country and offered continued US support to Pakistan in meeting its growing energy requirements. Prime Minister Sharif, who is on a four-day official visit to Washington, appreciated US assistance in the energy sector and said that US support would prove critical in executing all the projects in the energy sector. He apprised the US side of the steps taken by the Government to address the power crisis, including the retirement of US $5 billion in "circular debt", devising a National Energy Policy and undertaking numerous power projects including Diamer-Bhasha and Dassu Dams. The US secretary expressed his appreciation and admiration for the most comprehensive and effective reforms introduced by the Government, both to overcome the energy crisis and to improve the energy mix. He said that the present government’s policy to replace "red tape" with "red carpet" would greatly encourage the investors. Both sides agreed to continue working closely in the Energy sector through the existing mechanism of the Energy Working Group under the Strategic Dialogue. The next Energy Working Group meeting is expected to take place in mid-November in the United States. The prime minister was assisted by Finance Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi and Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2013

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Cost efficiency: Government to convert three power plants to coal

The conversion of 12 steam power plants from furnace oil to imported coal in 2011 could have saved more than $8 billion or almost 4% of gross domestic product annually. ILLUSTRATION: JAMAL KHURSHID ISLAMABAD: The federal government is converting three power plants from oil to coal as part of a plan to rely less on furnace oil-based steam power plants, a move that is expected to cut cost by two-thirds. The 1,350-megawatt thermal power station (TPS) Muzaffargarh (units 1-6), 850MW TPS Jamshoro (units 1-4) and 640MW TPS Guddu are now being converted to coal with financial assistance from multilateral institutions. According to a concept paper developed by the Planning Commission tiled ‘Conversion of existing thermal power stations to cheaper fuels’, the conversion of 12 steam power plants from furnace oil to imported coal in 2011 could have saved more than $8 billion or almost 4% of gross domestic product annually. The savings estimate was based on prices of furnace oil and coal and the exchange rate at that time. The current project will help save two-thirds of the cost of power generation, the paper said. “The generation capacity proposed to be switched to coal constitutes almost a quarter of the country’s total capacity. It, therefore, can substantially cut overall electricity production costs, bringing relief to both domestic and industrial consumers,” argues a senior executive of a gas-fired independent power plant set up under the 2002 power policy during a recent briefing on the power sector. “Another substantial amount of $1.5-1.6 billion a year can be saved by providing gas and oil to power producers according to their position on the order of merit based on their fuel efficiency,” contends the executive who asked to remain anonymous. If his argument is accepted, then the government should prefer eight IPPs with a cumulative capacity of 1,700 megawatts set up under the 2002 policy in the supply of gas and oil for power generation. Furthermore, he says, savings in fuel costs should help the government eliminate power subsidies, considerably cut its inflationary borrowings from banks, bridge the budget gap, spare funds for investment in hydropower projects and lift some pressure off the country’s weakening balance of payments position. Published in Cost efficiency: Government to convert three power plants to coal By APP Published: October 15, 2013 The conversion of 12 steam power plants from furnace oil to imported coal in 2011 could have saved more than $8 billion or almost 4% of gross domestic product annually. ILLUSTRATION: JAMAL KHURSHID ISLAMABAD: The federal government is converting three power plants from oil to coal as part of a plan to rely less on furnace oil-based steam power plants, a move that is expected to cut cost by two-thirds. The 1,350-megawatt thermal power station (TPS) Muzaffargarh (units 1-6), 850MW TPS Jamshoro (units 1-4) and 640MW TPS Guddu are now being converted to coal with financial assistance from multilateral institutions. According to a concept paper developed by the Planning Commission tiled ‘Conversion of existing thermal power stations to cheaper fuels’, the conversion of 12 steam power plants from furnace oil to imported coal in 2011 could have saved more than $8 billion or almost 4% of gross domestic product annually. The savings estimate was based on prices of furnace oil and coal and the exchange rate at that time. The current project will help save two-thirds of the cost of power generation, the paper said. “The generation capacity proposed to be switched to coal constitutes almost a quarter of the country’s total capacity. It, therefore, can substantially cut overall electricity production costs, bringing relief to both domestic and industrial consumers,” argues a senior executive of a gas-fired independent power plant set up under the 2002 power policy during a recent briefing on the power sector. “Another substantial amount of $1.5-1.6 billion a year can be saved by providing gas and oil to power producers according to their position on the order of merit based on their fuel efficiency,” contends the executive who asked to remain anonymous. If his argument is accepted, then the government should prefer eight IPPs with a cumulative capacity of 1,700 megawatts set up under the 2002 policy in the supply of gas and oil for power generation. Furthermore, he says, savings in fuel costs should help the government eliminate power subsidies, considerably cut its inflationary borrowings from banks, bridge the budget gap, spare funds for investment in hydropower projects and lift some pressure off the country’s weakening balance of payments position.

The Express Tribune, 2013

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Punjab has 446m tons of coal reserves

LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that according to an estimate Punjab has coal reserves of 446 million tons, which can be utilised for generation of electricity. He said this while talking to a high-level delegation of China’s Gezhouba Group Corporation led by its Executive Director Yang Yisheng, which called on him on Sunday. Matters regarding promotion of cooperation in infrastructure, hydel and coal based energy projects and low cost residential schemes were discussed in the meeting. Provincial Minister for Energy Sher Ali Khan, Managing Director Metro Bus Authority, Secretary Planning & Development, Chairperson Ring Road Authority, Director General LDA and officers concerned were also present in the meeting. The Chinese company expressed keen interest in hydro and coal-based power generation projects in Punjab. Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said that Pakistan was facing serious energy crisis, which was not only affecting the common man but economic activities had also slowed down. He said that government was taking measures on emergent basis for controlling energy crisis. He said that planning has been made for generation of electricity from solar energy. He said that 1000 megawatt electricity would be generated under a phased programme from Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park project in Bahawalpur. Shahbaz said that the Federal government was working on Bhasha and Dasu dams for production of electricity as well as availability of water for irrigation purposes. He said that Punjab was rich in natural resources which can be utilised for changing the destiny of the nation. The Chief Minister said that Punjab has also vast coal reserves and an Australian company has prepared a feasibility report for using them for energy purposes. He invited the Chinese company to consider extending cooperation in construction of small dams and mining of coal reserves. He said that all out security and facilities were being provided to foreign investors and companies in Punjab and China Gezhouba Group Corporation should also benefit from them. Executive Director China Gezhouba Group Corporation, Yang Yisheng said that his Group has expertise in hydro projects, infrastructure development and coal mining. He also expressed his desire for investment in infrastructure and energy sectors in Pakistan. Meanwhile, Chief Minister has said that Punjab government would give a special Eid package to the earthquake affectees of Awaran. He has also praised the devotion to duty of the pilots of the Punjab government’s helicopter doing earthquake relief duty in Awaran and announced one month’s pay as honorarium. He has asked the pilots to continue performing their duty during Eid days as well.

The Nation, 2013

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Hi-speed diesel and furnace oil: plants will be gradually converted to coal, says Abid

Minister of State for Water and Power, Abid Sher Ali said on Wednesday the Federal government has taken momentous measures by launching gigantic projects to make the country energy self-sufficient in future. Addressing a press conference here at Pesco headquarters after reviewing progress of the company, Abid Sher Ali said the government was working on short, medium- and long-term strategies with an objective to transform Pakistan from being an energy starved country to a self-sufficient country in terms of energy security. He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has instructed for fast track projects in the energy sector, adding all hurdles in the way of early completion of the projects will be removed for benefits of masses. Abid Sher Ali said the present government was giving full attention to power generation from indigenous and inexpensive sources such as hydel, coal, solar, wind and biomass aimed at providing relief to consumers by lowering electricity tariff for benefit of poor strata. The government, he said, was endeavouring to complete ongoing projects on time, adding the PML-N government had added 1,750MW electricity in the national grid and cleared circular debt of Rs 480 billion in difficult circumstances, which helped significant reduction in loadshedding hours in the country. He said the Federal Government of PML-N under the direction of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has expedited work on Dasu Kohistan, Diamer-Basham dam projects while hectic efforts are being made to complete Nandipur and Nelum-Jehlum Projects in two years. He said power plants working on hi-speed diesel and furnace oil would gradually be converted into coal to ensure inexpensive electricity to consumers, saying this would help reduce power tariff to Rs 10 per unit. "Those who want electricity will have to pay bills as power thefts and arbitration are no longer solution of the issue," he remarked. He said Pesco is suffering Rs 157 billion losses due to power thefts and line losses and most of the feeders in Peshawar's surroundings are overloaded due to direct hooks and power stealing. He said efforts are being made to ensure uninterrupted power supply to those areas where line losses are zero, adding across the board action would be taken against power thieves irrespective of political affiliation and official status. Abid Sher Ali said people of the area would suffer in case of loss to Wapda properties and installations, saying those elements, who are making hue and cry in the name of loadshedding, are in fact involved in power theft. He said law and order is a provincial subject and KP Government is responsible to protect the installation of Wapda. He said targets to improve recovery and address issue of line loss have been given to Pesco management, field staff that would be reviewed on monthly basis, adding the Superintendent Engineers and XENs have been given targets and responsible would face strict accountability in case of failure toward meeting the targets. PML-N MPA Akbar Hayat Khan, Chief Executive Pesco Tariq Sadozai and others senior officials of Pesco were present on the occasion.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2013

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US offers help in energy sector

United States believe that strong business relations are vital to lay the foundation for long-term sustainable relations between the two countries. Pakistan is an important country of this region and we want to further deepen and expand its trade, investment and economic relations, said Ms Doreen P. Bailey, the US Economic Officer, addressing the textile exporters at Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA). Ms Doreen said that US keen to help Pakistan in energy sector and entrepreneurship development as progress in these areas will put Pakistan on the path of better economic growth. Pakistan is a potential market for entrepreneurs as many US-based companies are doing good business here. However, she stressed that Pakistani private sector should push for further regulatory reforms that are needed to foster greater trade and investment opportunities. She was optimistic that resumption of Pak-USA strategic dialogue would pave way for faster, deeper, boarder and more comprehensive partnership between the two countries. She admitted that there exists a vast potential in Pakistan to become a developed economy but it is only suffering because of lack of technology. There is needed to make all out efforts to highlight Pakistan's potential so that the foreign investors could invest here. Earlier, Sheikh Ilyas Mehmood, chairman Pakistan Textile Exporters Association lauded the US efforts for co-operating with Pakistan in energy sector, Co-operation in trade, investment and industrial growth should be the main focus of both countries as they can achieve much better mutually beneficial results by developing collaboration in these areas. He said that Pakistan's exports to US ranges from 3.7 billion dollars to 4 billion dollars, making it our biggest trading partner. We do have capacity to increase this level to more than 6 billion dollars but it requires not only greater access to US market but also some transfer of technology, he said. USA should enhance the scope of GSP scheme to our textile products that would help in further improving the Pakistan's exports to USA as USA is already the Pakistan's single largest export market taking almost 16 per cent of our total exports. Pakistan offers attractive joint ventures and investment opportunities in different sectors of its economy and US investors should come to Pakistan to explore these areas for investment. Sheikh Ilyas Mehmood said that a Free Trade Agreement between Pakistan and the US is of utmost importance and the US policy makers should give some attention towards this particular area. US businessmen should invest in Pakistan as it is not only a huge market of 180 million people, but is also a gateway to landlocked Central Asian countries. He stressed the need for exchange of business delegations between the two sides to explore new avenues of mutual co-operation and to further strengthen Pak-US economic relations. PTEA chairman added that the quality of Pakistani textile products is far better than others and the prices are also very competitive. US must pay some special attention towards Pakistan which is considerably contributing to US economy. He hoped that the two countries would continue to work together to bring themselves further closer.

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First gas delivery pipeline at Latif Field inaugurated

In a major development on energy front, Pakistan made headway in integrated gas supply chain, as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated the first 47 kms gas delivery pipeline connecting four wells of Latif Field Development with Sawan Processing Plant. This iconic project led by OMV will result in 100 mmcfd targeted supply of gas to SSGCL and SNGPL. The inaugural ceremony of the project was simultaneously held at Sawan Central Processing Plant, Sindh and the Prime Minister House in Islamabad. The Prime Minister was earlier scheduled to inaugurate Latif Gas Filed Development and its Tie-In at Sawan Central Processing Plant; however, he cancelled the plan citing his other important engagements and preferred to press the button from the PM''s Office to inaugurate the project The US $150 million project is contributing a precious three percent into the national gas grid to help meet the country''s growing domestic and industrial requirement. Speaking on the occasion through video-link from the PM''s Office, the Prime Minister said the gas field would produce around 100 mmcfd of gas per day and help the country meet its energy needs. He said people are facing severe energy crisis and hoped that this additional volume of gas will help mitigate shortage of gas to some extent. He stated that the project has been completed in record time of 15 months only due to tireless efforts of the entire project team. He appreciated OMV for immense contribution to Pakistan''s economy since commencement of its operations in 1990, with its major hydrocarbon discoveries like Sawan, Miano and Latif Gas Fields, which are currently producing over 360 million cubic feet of gas per day. The Prime Minister said supply of indigenous gas was a major component of total energy mix and mainstay of economy. He said indigenous gas saves Pakistan in billions of precious foreign exchange since it constitutes about 50 percent of the energy mix. Nawaz said the government was fully cognisant of the fact that without allowing an attractive rate of return to exploration and production companies it would not be possible to achieve any major breakthrough in harnessing indigenous resources. He hoped that the new petroleum exploration and production policy will significantly alter petroleum exploration regime in the country, adding that the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources has also formulated very attractive policies for Tight Gas and Low BTU Gas. The Prime Minister said the ministry was also in the process of formulating shale gas policy to harness abundant shale gas reserves and expressed the confidence that these policy initiatives will attract companies from across the globe to invest in the exciting ventures. He also wished the OMV and its JV partners successful completion and commissioning of Latif Gas Field Development Project and wished them greater success in their future endeavours. The event was attended by Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Chalkone Abbasi, Jaap Huijskes Executive Board Member for E&P, OMV and Austrian Ambassador to Pakistan. Jaap Huijskes, Executive Board Member for E&P, OMV said his company was pleased to have invested around half a billion dollars in Pakistan in the past 20 years and hoped to continue working in oil and gas exploration in Pakistan. He said the OMV has also helped Pakistan save a whooping $60 billion by the indigenous production of gas since it started its operations in 1991. He said his company was also investing in health, education and uplift of local people in the areas, besides providing jobs.

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Drilling work in Iraq: PPL sets up subsidiary ''PPL Asia E&P B.V.''

Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) has set up a subsidiary, "PPL Asia E&P B.V." to initiate drilling work in Iraq. Talking to newsmen at 62nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of PPL here on Monday, Asim Murtaza Khan, MD and CEO PPL, said that as per rules and regulations a subsidiary was necessary to initiate drilling for oil and gas in Iraq, therefore PPL registered a new subsidiary in Amsterdam. He said that PPL was also planning for exclusive drilling for Shale Gas in Sindh region and it was expected to be started in 2014. The CEO apprised members about the company’s performance, focusing on milestones achieved during the financial year. He said that the most important were two back-to-back gas-condensate discoveries in Wafiq X-1 and Shahdad X-1 wells in company-operated Gambat South Block. The company is striving to fast track first gas from both discoveries, he added. Khan informed about the successful production testing of gas-condensate from deeper reservoir at exploratory well Adam X-1 in company-operated Hala Field. Recently, PPL has signed a bilateral agreement with Orion Energy Plc of UK for a joint study of Pakistan''s offshore basins for hydrocarbon potential and establishing a state-of-the-art power plant for more efficient utilisation of gas from PPL''s wholly owned and operated Kandhkot Gas Field. He also highlighted discovery at Lundali-1 in the Sukhpur joint venture and start of the first-ever production of tight gas from Rehman Discovery in partner-operated Kirthar Block. Meanwhile, the AGM approved financial statements together with the auditor''s report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013, besides payment of final cash dividend of 55 percent on ordinary share capital and issue of bonus shares in proportion of one ordinary share for every 5 ordinary shares held by the members. This is in addition to an interim cash dividend of 50 percent already paid to the shareholders, bringing total distribution for the financial year 2012 - 2013 to 105 percent cash dividend and 20 percent bonus shares.

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Development work on Head Marla power project in full swing

Development work on Head Marla Hydro Power Project is in full swing and this project would be accomplished at an estimated cost of Rs 3049.74 million. Sources in Power Project told Business Recorder here on Sunday that the project after completion will generate 7.64MW power. At present, brisk development is underway on the construction of two dams on Upper Chenab Canal and hopefully the development work would be completed by the end of current month. While a dam had already been completed at Marla-Ravi link canal. The development work on Spillways and Power House would soon be initiated. Kaplan type turbines of 4X2 would be installed for generating electricity. The Head Marla Hydro Power Project after completion will generate 50.50MW hours (GWh) electricity, sources disclosed.

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Chinese team discusses Nandipur power project with Shahbaz

A delegation of Chinese company Dongfang Electric International, which is working on Nandipur power project, led by company's chief, Han Zhiqiao met Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Friday. Provincial Minister for Energy, Sher Ali Khan, Secretary Energy and Managing Director Nandipur power project, Captain Mehmood (Retd), concerned officials as well as Vice President Dongfang Electric International Zhang Guorong and Project Manager, Chen Youping were also present on the occasion. Matters regarding completion of Nandipur power project were discussed in the meeting. Speaking on the occasion, Shahbaz said that Nandipur power project is of vital importance and should be completed as early as possible. He said that PML-N government has revived this project and transported machinery from Karachi after which work is being carried out expeditiously on the project. Government wants to complete this project even before the stipulated period with the co-operation of the Chinese company as this project will help in resolving energy crisis in the country, he added. He further said that Nandipur power project will serve as another shining example of Pak-China friendship and it is hoped that due to sincere efforts, the project will become operational at the beginning of next year. He said that China is a trustworthy friend of Pakistan and his recent visit will help in opening up new avenues of co-operation between the two countries in energy sector. Shahbaz offered co-operation to the officials of the Chinese company in other energy projects in Punjab to which the chief of Dongfang Electric International (DEC) thanked the CM and assured to cooperate in other energy projects in Punjab as well. Han Zhiqiao said that special attention is being paid to the standard of construction of the project. He said that he is deeply impressed with the working style of CM Shahbaz Sharif whose speed of execution of projects is unbelievable. He said that Shahbaz Sharif is playing an important role in strengthening Pak-China friendship.

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Solar energy plants in Pakistan: Shahbaz arrives in China to explore possibilities

Chief Minister of Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif arrived here on Wednesday on a two-day visit to explore possibilities of setting up solar energy plants in Pakistan. On arrival, Shahbaz Sharif was warmly greeted by the high officials of the Foreign Affairs Office of Xinjiang Autonomous Region, Ambassador Masood Khalid and a large number of traders and entrepreneurs. Soon after arrival, the Chief Minister met with Li Jian Hua, the Chief Executive Officer of TBEA Group and later left for inspecting solar energy power plants in Xinjiang and its adjoining areas. The Chief Minister Punjab said that addressing the energy crisis is one of the top priorities of the present government and in this respect he had a lot of expectations from this visit. He appreciated China's keen interest and co-operation in addressing energy crisis and infrastructure development of the country. He pointed out that Pakistan Muslim League (N) government led by Mian Nawaz Sharif was committed to addressing energy shortfall thus returning brightness in the country. He said that meeting the energy shortfall will regalvanize economic activity, unleash an era of economic prosperity and brighten the country's future. Mian Shahbaz Sharif said that when our factories and mills will start getting power supply, they will function with full capacity, thus provide job opportunities to the common man. The Chief Minister appreciated the warm welcome accorded to him on his arrival and said it illustrated the warmth both sides have in our relationship. Later on, Vice Governor Xinjiang province, Mai He Su Ti Kurexi hosted a banquet in honour of the Chief Minister and his entourage.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2013

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'France will continue assistance in energy sector'

France will continue its financial and technical assistance to Pakistan to overcome its energy crisis, said French economic counsellor Eric Noitakis. Addressing with Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) on Monday, said that France is striving for GSP-plus status for Pakistani products, which would give a considerable boost to its exports. France is including in top 5 biggest trade partners of Pakistan and also eager to enhance the bilateral trade. A joint commission for economic co-operation has also been established to further expand the volume of two way trade and to strengthen the economic ties between the two countries. Under this commission, both the countries will develop a framework for closer economic co-operation and enhancing trade and investment links in order to strengthen mutual relationship, he added. Pakistan has vast potential for investment and a large number of companies are already working in the country by investing huge amount, he said. Bilateral trade between Pakistan and France stands at about 1.3 billion dollars and is tilted in Pakistan's favour and is growing with the passage of time. Earlier, Sheikh Ilyas Mehmood Chairman PTEA lauded the French assistance for co-operating with Pakistan in energy sector. Co-operation in trade, investment and industrial growth should be the main focus of both countries as they can achieve much better mutually beneficial results by developing collaboration in these areas. France is a good market for Pakistani textile products especially readymade garments, bed wear and knitwear. Although Pakistan is 65th in the hierarchy of trading partners of France, he was hopeful that after attainment of GSP-Plus, Pakistan's trade with France will make a quantum leap. Pakistan offers attractive joint ventures and investment opportunities in different sectors of its economy and French investors should come to Pakistan to explore these areas for investment. French multinationals would find Pakistan favourable for long-term investment. The success attained by French brands has proven that there is enormous potential in Pakistan for foreign direct investment, he said. Pakistan is not only a huge market of 180 million people, but is also a gateway to landlocked Central Asian countries. He stressed the need for exchange of business delegations between the two sides to explore new avenues of mutual co-operation and to further strengthen Pak-French economic relations. PTEA chairman added that the quality of Pakistani textile products is far better than others and the prices are also very competitive. France must pay some special attention towards Pakistan, which is considerably contributing to French economy. He hoped that the two countries would continue to work together.

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Scotland keen to work on small hydel projects in Punjab

Scottish Minister for External Affairs and International Development, Humza Yousaf, here called on Punjab Chief Minister, Shahbaz Sharif Matters of mutual interests and promotion of bilateral relations were discussed during the meeting Scotland has expressed interest in the promotion of co-operation in education and energy sector especially small hydel power projects in Punjab. Talking on the occasion, Shahbaz Sharif said that Pakistan is facing acute shortage of energy and government is taking emergency steps to overcome energy crisis. He said that work is continuing on Dasu and Bhasha Dams and planning has been done for generating energy through coal. Shahbaz said that a strategy has been evolved for importing LNG to meet the shortage of gas He said that besides traditional sources, work is also continuing for generating energy through alternative sources. He said that decision has been taken to hold road-show for energy sector in Britain in the beginning of November and the co-operation of British government for road-show is commendable. Extending invitation to Scottish delegation for participation in energy road show, Shahbaz said that there is a great potential of small hydel units in Punjab and we welcome the interest of Scotland in construction of small hydel projects Mentioning educational reforms, Shahbaz told that Punjab government has taken revolutionary steps for the uplift of education sector He said that knowledge-city is being established on thousands of acre land in Lahore and renowned foreign universities are being invited to set up their campuses in the knowledge- city. He lauded the interest of Scottish universalities in knowledge- city. Shahbaz said that extremism can be eliminated only through promotion of education Talking about the exports to European countries, he said that the exports will be increased substantially after being given the status of GSP Plus by European Union to Pakistan and new job opportunities would be created. Scottish Minister, Humza Yousaf, said that Scotland has special expertise in energy sector particularly small hydel power projects. He expressed willingness to promote co-operation with Punjab in energy and education sectors. He said Scottish delegation will participate in energy-road show to be held in London. While lauding the vision of the Chief Minister Punjab for taking steps for the development of the province and welfare of the people, he said that Punjab has made tremendous development in various sectors in recent years. Provincial Minister for Education Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan, Minister for Energy Sher Ali Khan, Chairman Planning & Development, concerned secretaries and other senior officials were also present on the occasion.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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NJHP transmission lines: Senate panel irked by grant of tender to Chinese company

The Senate Standing Committee on Water and Power on Friday expressed dissatisfaction over granting the tender for Transmission Lines of Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project to a Chinese company setting aside PPRA rules. After awarding the tender, the NTDC could not change the contents of bidding while in this case it was done, which is totally against the PPRA rules. Managing Director NTDC Ziaur Rehman briefing the committee said initially 10 bidders took part in the bidding process in which two companies, one from China and other from Iran were finalised. But the Iranian company provided some fake documents and remained non-responsive at a later stage. Finally, the bid was given to Chinese company, which will arrange 85 percent loan for the project, and later the NTDC will repay it in 24 years. But the chairman and members of the committee expressed dissatisfaction over the bidding process and approval to Chinese company with the claim that PPRA rules were violated in the process. The committee decided to have a detailed meeting over the bidding process and will sent a questionnaire to ministry of water and power. The ministry after proper study will respond to the committee''s questions. State minister for water and power Abid Sher Ali told the committee that the country is confronting severe energy crisis and the government is committed to addressing power crisis on a priority basis. The PM issued special directives to complete all power projects and put the country on path to development, he said, adding that Neelum-Jhelum project has already been delayed and the government wants to complete it as early as possible. The minister assured that complete details will be provided in the next meeting. During 2012-13, the government provided Rs 262 billion as power subsidy while for the fiscal year 2013-14, the government allocated Rs 150 billion, which might be increased after completion of the year. The committee also asked the ministry of water and power and Planning Commission to provide funds to NTDC for upgradation of four grid stations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which are providing cheaper power to whole of the country at the rate of Rs 1.37 per unit. The ministry assured the committee that the request for provision of funds will be taken up at a proper forum and assured assistance to the KP in upgradation of grid station. Senator Zahid Khan was of the view that National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) procures electricity from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at cheaper rates and sells back to the province at higher rates. Minister of State for Water and Power, Chaudhry Abid Sher Ali and Chairman Senate Committee on Water and Power, Zahid Khan on Friday exchanged hot words during a meeting of the committee. The meeting was convened to discuss tendering of transmission lines of Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower project and Golan Gol project along with submission of complete record of the parties that participated in the tendering process. Chairman Nepra was invited to explain recent increase in the price of electricity. During the proceedings, both the parliamentarians looked tense and suddenly a verbal fight started between them. Committee members intervened and requested both the parliamentarians to be calm.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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Neelum-Jhelum project: $50 million loan agreement inked with OFID

Pakistan and the Opec Fund for International Development (OFID) entered into a loan agreement here on Thursday, under which the OFID would provide 50 million US dollars for completion of Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Director General OFID signed the agreement. The objective of the original project is the construction of a hydroelectric power plant, involving the diversion of the Neelum River through an underground tunnel system. The project is aimed at meeting growing electric power demand through improved access to electricity and reliable power supply while boosting the share of hydro-generated power in the overall mix of electricity generation of Pakistan. The Opec Fund for International Development is the development finance institution established by the Member States of Opec in 1976 as a collective channel of aid to the developing countries.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2013

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Energy sector investment: Norwegian, Swedish companies will visit Pakistan to assess prospects: Asif

Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif on Sunday said that a strategy was being evolved to overcome the electricity loadshedding in the country. Under the programme, long and short term electricity generating plans would be undertaken to control energy crisis in the country. Talking to reporters here, he said that special attention would be given on long-term projects for producing sufficient electricity for the future needs and these projects would be initiated with the assistance of donor agencies. Several foreign countries including Sweden and Norway had shown keen interest in investing energy sector of Pakistan to benefit the people of the country and Norwegian and Sweden companies would also visit the county to assess the prospects in energy sector, he disclosed. Pakistan, he said, is rich in natural resources and short and long term hydel power projects would be initiated in near future. Asif said that attractive opportunities were available for the foreign investors in wind, solar and hydel power projects and hopefully the foreign investors would avail the bright opportunities in hydel and solar sectors. The minister regretted that no practical step had been taken by the previous governments for energy sector as a result of which the energy crisis had deepened and common man was facing serious hardships. He further said that a drive against electricity and gas thefts would be accelerated across the country. The basic concept of vigorous campaign was to eliminate the tendency of power and gas pilferage from the society and generate revenue in the country, he claimed, adding that the campaign was producing yielding results. Under the ongoing drive, special steps were also being taken to detect the employees of Wapda and Sui gas involved in the malpractice as without their involvement the pilferage of electricity and gas was not possible. The staff was indulged in instigating the people for less billing and minting money for their personal financial gains, he said, adding that this malpractice was causing severe financial loss to national exchequer. Asif said the government was committed to weeding out this practice from the grass roots level from the society. The impact of this drive against the electricity and gas theft would help increase the revenue of Wapda considerably. The minister further stated that the government would take severe action against the persons involved in malpractice and causing serious damage to national exchequer just for their personal gains. He said that black sheep would be purged from Wapda and Sui Gas department and strict action would be taken according to law besides departmental inquiry against them.

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100 megawatts solar power project: Punjab government inks MoU with British company

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between Punjab government and British company Pan Africa at a ceremony, attended by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, British Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Provincial Energy Minister Sher Ali Khan, Members Assembly, Chief Secretary and authorities concerned. Secretary Energy Usman Bajwa on behalf of the Punjab government and Marcus Heel on behalf of Pan Africa signed the MoU under which British company will set up a project of 100MW in Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park, Bahawalpur. Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said the government is taking steps on an emergent basis to overcome energy crisis under which agreements have been made for starting various power generating projects with the collaboration of national and international companies. He said that the targets of economic development cannot be achieved without overcoming energy crisis and traditional as well as alternative sources are also being utilised for implementing power generation projects speedily. Shahbaz Sharif said that the method of generating energy through solar is also popularising all over the world. He said that Punjab government has not only made agreements with different companies for launching energy generating projects through solar under a co-ordinated strategy but government offices are also being shifted into solar energy system under a phased programme. He said that streetlights are also being replaced with solar power in big cities. The Chief Minister said that the agreement of setting up solar power project by Pan Africa Company in Punjab is a welcoming step. He said that Punjab government would provide all facilities for rapid implementation on this project. He said that due to the solid policies of the present government, the confidence of the investors has restored and they are willing to invest in various sectors including energy. He said that special facilities are being provided to foreign investors in energy sector under one window operation and expressed the hope that these steps would help overcome energy crisis.

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World Bank to give $2.2 billion for 15 projects: EAD informs Senate body

The government has reportedly claimed that the World Bank will provide $2.205 billion for 15 projects in the pipeline. Sources said the Senate Standing Committee on Finance was informed by the Economic Affairs Division that $500 million were in the pipeline for Dasu Hydropower Project and $300 million for Power DLI. A revenue mobilisation DLI project of $300 million is also in the pipeline for funding by the World Bank. The funding in the pipeline for other projects by the WB includes $150 million for Sindh Barrages (Irrigation), $100 million for Sindh Agriculture Growth and $160 million for Sindh Water Sector Improvement. The funding of $100 million for Indus Connectivity Project and $55 million for nutrition project is also in the pipeline. The WB would provide $50 million for Punjab government and service delivery project, $50 million for immunisation support project and $50 million for Punjab skills project. The meeting was reportedly informed that the funding of $150 million is in the pipeline for access to finance project and $200 million for Sindh On-farm Agriculture productivity project and $40 million are in the pipeline for CASA project. The WB funding for Gilgit-Baltistan project is yet to be decided. The meeting was further informed that funding for each of the pipeline IDA projects would be for a period of 20 years with five-year grace period at 1.25 percent interest rate, 0-0.05 percent commitment charges and 0.75 percent service charge. Sources said the Economic Affairs Division also informed the committee that $245 million are in the pipeline for power distribution enhancement programme tranche III. The EAD further stated that the funding of $900 million for the project coal power plant at Jamshoro is under negotiation. The government is also planning to negotiate for $430 million loan from the ADB for social protection development project, and $167 million for power distribution enhancement programme tranche-4.

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Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park: '50 megawatts of electricity to be added to national grid within six months'

As many as 50 megawatt electricity, to be generated from Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park, Cholistan, will be added to the national grid within six months under the first phase, said Punjab Energy Minister Sher Ali Khan on Tuesady. He was addressing the inaugural session of three-day International Conference on Renewable Energy Technologies in Pakistan arranged by faculty of Agri Engineering, University of Agriculture Faisalabad in collaboration with University of Kassel, Germany, US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and International Centre for Development and Decent Work (ICDD). The inaugural session was chaired by Punjab Energy Minister Sher Ali Khan whereas Professor Dr Oliver Hensel from University of Kassel, Germany, UAF Dean Professor Dr Muhammad Iqbal, Wolfgang Scheffler, Director, Solar Bruecke, Germany, Anjum Munir, DAAD Project Co-ordinator Pakistan; Ursula Saarbeck, Director and DAAD IC Islamabad addressed the session. The minister said that the Punjab government is taking all possible steps to address the prevailing energy crisis. The promotion of the alternative energy is also the part of the strategy mapped out to reduce load shedding. He said the Punjab government is setting up small dams on canals each having capacity of 10 to 20 MW. He added that in this regard, a big project on Taunsa barrage to produce 120 MW of energy will also be initiated soon. Dean Professor Dr Muhammad Iqbal called for promoting alternatives energy resources by saying that Pakistan can produce 20,000 MW only from wind energy. He lauded the steps being taken on the part of Punjab government for the promotion of alternative energy. Professor Dr Oliver Hensel informed the audience about the solar energy by highlighting Pakistan is the blessed with the four seasons where sun shines all the year. Especially, the farmers' community should get the benefit from the solar energy. He said they were working on the inter-disciplinary approach by the enhanced collaboration in agriculture and food engineering sector. The same model can be applied in the UAF also. Ursula Saarbeck said that under the project of DAAD, University of Kassel is making efforts with the different universities of the world in the area of social science and technology. Project on awarding scholarships and development of the rural areas are also included in the said joint efforts. Dr Anjum Munir said that in the present era, it is need of the hour to shift to the alternative energy technology as Pakistan is in the acutely short of fossil fuel. He said that UAF has started Energy System Engineering degree keeping in view, the importance of energy sector in the country.

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