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News Headlines for the month of
JUNE 2014

Mega hydropower project: ground-breaking performed

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif performed the ground-breaking ceremony of the 4320MW Dasu Hydropower Project here on Wednesday. Speaking at the ceremony, the Prime Minister termed it a historic day not only for Pakistan but also for the people of the area. He said the ground-breaking of Dasu Project was a reflection of the present government''s resolve to achieve energy security for fast-paced development of the country, a PM''s Office statement said. "We are spending Rs 500 billion on this area which will provide employment to locals and help significantly in poverty alleviation," he added. Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan, Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Secretary Water and Power Nargis Sethi, Chairman Wapda Zafar Mehmood, Lieutenant-General Salahuddin Tirmazi (retd), Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also attended the ceremony. The Prime Minister said that World Bank''s assistance for this project was a manifestation of sound economic policies of the government. The Prime Minister said, "River Indus provides 40,000MW of power potential while we have only been able to tap only 7000MW so far." "We plan to fully utilise this potential and 4500MW Diamer Bhasha Dam is another project on river Indus which we will take up shortly after Dasu Hydropower Project," he added. Nawaz termed the Dasu project a big initiative in terms of its power generation capacity, adding that the present government had taken many steps to provide sufficient energy to power starved economy. He also thanked the World Bank which was providing assistance for the project. The Prime Minister said the government was striving for availability of affordable electricity to meet the requirements of growing economy and increasing population. He stressed addition of hydel electricity in the system that can bring down power tariff and consequently provide relief to the common man. Earlier, the Prime Minister was briefed that Dasu Hydropower Project was a run of river project at the Indus River located 7km upstream of Dasu Town, District Kohistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The project''s installed capacity is 4,320 mega watts. The project has been proposed to be constructed in two stages. The first stage includes six units with total installed capacity of 2,160MW, land acquisition, resettlement and environmental and social management. The second stage includes installation of remaining six units. The construction of Stage-II will be taken up after completion of Stage-I. The total cost of Stage-I estimated to be Rs 486,093.3 million and will be completed in five years, while the first unit will start production after 4.5 years. The Chairman Wapda apprised the Prime Minister that detailed Engineering Design Studies of Dasu project including Environment and Social Studies and Pre-qualification and bidding documents had been completed. The ECNEC in its meeting held on March 28, 2014 had approved the PC-I of Dasu project for Stage-I with project cost Rs 486,093.30 million. Total 30 resettlement sites have been identified and finalised with the consultation of affected people of respective villages. The master plan and survey of eight resettlement sites have already been completed. The World Bank Board of Directors has approved the financing of Stage-I of Dasu Hydropower Project with US $1048.4 million.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2014

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1000 megawatts electricity import: Nawaz for early realisation of CASA-1000 project

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday expressed his government''s commitment to an early realisation of CASA-1000 project that will allow the government to import 1000MW electricity to the country. The Prime Minister stated this in a meeting with his Tajik counterpart Qahir Rasulzada at the State Guest House in the capital of Tajikistan, a statement by the Press Wing of Prime Minister's Office said. The meeting reviewed bilateral co-operation in trade, energy and communication sector. The two sides observed that the bilateral trade between two countries had increased from $15 million in 2011 to the highest level of $93 million in 2013. Prime Minister Sharif stressed that there was much more scope to increase the bilateral trade. He offered Tajikistan to use Pakistani seaports for its imports and exports and added that it would facilitate promotion of economic relations. Nawaz Sharif said that road link between Pakistan and Tajikistan through Wakhan corridor could further improve the economic ties while the other regional countries will also benefit due to better connectivity and rise in economic activities in the region. He said Pakistan attaches great importance to cordial relations with Tajikistan and considers Tajikistan a key partner of peace, security and stability in the region. He said he looked forward to participating in the forthcoming SCO Summit at Dushanbe and expressed confidence that Tajikistan would support Pakistan's full membership of SCO. Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif, Minister for Textile Abbas Khan Afridi and Special Assistant to PM Tariq Fatemi also attended the meeting.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2014

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Buksh Energy, Telenor-Talkshawk sign MoU

Buksh Energy has partnered with Telenor-Talkshawk to provide solar home solutions to its cellular customers. The agreement was signed on Wednesday to provide state of the art technology and turnkey energy conservation solutions for the newly designed marketing campaign named Talkshawk Bijli Offer. Buksh Energy has partnered with Telenor to provide turnkey energy conservation solutions along with its state of the art technology. The company will also assist in commissioning and deliver technical expertise to Telenor including provision of small and large home solutions; which will be awarded to cellular customers under Free Bijli Campaign. Asim Buksh Chairman Buksh Energy said, "Our Company is working consistently to help people in maintaining a healthier, safer lifestyle and consequently a better standard of living; making them self-reliant in getting access to sustainable energy. Through this campaign we will be providing 180 small and 4 large solar home kits to Telenor subscribers containing solar fans and LED lights."-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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US also cast vote in favour of Dasu project: Dar

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said that the World Bank approved $588 million financial package for Dasu Hydropower Project (4500MW run of the river) with one hundred percent vote and the United States (US) also cast a vote in favour of the Project. While giving policy statement on the floor of the National Assembly on Wednesday, the Finance Minister said the financial closure of Dasu-Dam was effective on Tuesday night. He said that total cost of Dasu-Dam of 4500 megawatt run of the river, is Rs 700 billion while the cost of first phase of the project is Rs 400 billion. The Finance Minister said the World Bank''s approval of the funding for Dasu-Dam project reflects the confidence of international community in the present government''s economic policies. The US support for the project is in line with the commitment made by the leadership of the two countries to enhance co-operation in the energy sector, he said. About Diamer-Bhasha Dam, the Finance Minister said that Rs 55 billion has been allocated for Diamer-Bhasha Dam on the directives of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He said the process of land acquisition for the project is currently under way and an amount has been allocated for this purpose. He said in the previous government, it was said that there is need of a No-Objection Certificate (NoC) from neighbouring country in this regard. He said that due to the efforts of the present government, the international community has accepted that Pakistan does not need any NoC from any neighbouring country. Dar said that Diamer Bhasha Dam will generate cheap electricity and help irrigate barren lands. He said there is an impression that the PML (N) government is undertaking only Punjab-centric projects. He said Dasu dam is not located in Punjab but in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said that these projects are for the whole nation and the country has been put on the path of progress under the visionary leadership of the Prime Minister. He said the country will be made self-reliant and developed in accordance with this vision of the present government. Dar said the government is working with the USAID to organise an international investors conference on Diamer Bhasha Dam in September this year in Washington.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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Hydel projects, other sectors: Punjab chief minister woos Slovakian investors

Slovakian Deputy Prime Minister Miroslav Lajcak called on Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, here on Tuesday. Matters of mutual interest and promotion of bilateral relations were discussed in the meeting. Ambassador of Slovakia Jan Bory, provincial ministers Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan, Rana Sanaullah, Muhammad Shafique, Secretary Industry and senior diplomats of Slovakia were also present on the occasion. Welcoming the Slovakian Deputy Prime Minister to Lahore, the Chief Minister said there is a need to further promote trade and economic ties between the two countries. He also thanked Slovakian government for its support in the granting of GSP Plus status to Pakistan by the European Union. He said that special attention has been paid to the development of textile and garments sectors as well as increasing exports after attaining the GSP Plus status and a project has been evolved to set up a state-of-the-art Quaid-i-Azam Apparel Park near Motorway. The Chief Minister said that Pakistan is facing shortage of electricity and the government is working speedily on various projects of power generation with the co-operation of friendly countries. He said that Slovakia has expertise in hydle projects and its co-operation in this sector will be welcomed. He said that all out facilities would be provided to Slovakian investors for investment in hydle projects and other sectors. Shahbaz Sharif said that Pakistan believes in peaceful co-existence and desires good relations with the neighbouring countries. Slovakian Deputy Prime Minister Miroslav Lajcak said that his country wants to promote relations with Pakistan in energy and other sectors. He said that Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif is serving the masses with commitment and dedication and has taken exemplary measures for the prosperity of the people of the province.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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NTDCL completes Khuzdar 220KV grid station work

National Transmission and Despatch Company Limited (NTDCL) has completed construction work of 220KV grid station at Khuzdar along with 274km long transmission line from Dadu to Khuzdar with a cost of Rs 7620 million, financed by Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA). MD NTDCL Engr Tahir Mahmood has said that this transmission line has started power supply to Balochistan. He said the project is envisaged to meet power demand of remote areas of Balochistan and is a gift from Government of Pakistan to the people of Balochistan. While elaborating the details of project, Engr Tahir Mahmood said that during the construction work and laying of transmission line, NTDCL engineers, staff and contractors worked day and night to complete this vital project for the people of Balochistan. This project will improve voltage level, power capacity as well as overall power supply of Balochistan. It will also benefit industrial, agricultural, and commercial sector, hence, will lead the country to prosperity, he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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Chief minister Punjab, CMEC team discuss setting up of power plants

A high-level delegation of China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), led by its Vice President Li Jingkai, met Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, here on Sunday. Matters regarding co-operation in energy sector especially setting up of power plants to be operated with the indigenous coal were discussed in the meeting. The delegation expressed its keen interest in setting up power projects in Punjab. Talking to the CMEC delegation, the Chief Minister said that deep- rooted friendly relations between Pakistan and China have been turned into useful economic ties. He said that several Chinese companies are making investment in infrastructure, energy, transport as well as other sectors due to excellent economic and investment policies of Pakistan Muslim League-N government which has restored the confidence of foreign investors. He said that government is providing facilities on priority basis for investment in different sectors. The Chief Minister said that Punjab government has initially identified four sites for establishment of power projects based on indigenous coal while foundation stone of 1320 megawatts coal power plants to be set up with the investment of a consortium of Chinese companies has been laid in Sahiwal. Similarly, he said that work is in progress round the clock on a 100 megawatts solar project in Cholistan which will be completed by the end of the current year. He said that Punjab government will establish a 1000 megawatts solar project at Quaid-i-Azam Solar Park with its own resources. Shahbaz Sharif said that every moment of the nation is precious, therefore, energy projects are being completed expeditiously and Nandipur Power Project is a glorious example in this regard. He said that the first turbine of Nandipur Power Project has started operating within a record period of seven months and is producing 100 megawatts electricity. The Chief Minister directed that Provincial Minerals Department and Energy Department should evolve a consolidated strategy for setting up power plants based on local coal and rapid progress should be made in this direction. He welcomed the interest shown by CMEC in investment in power projects and assured that Punjab government will extend all out co-operation in this regard. Vice President of CMEC, Li Jingkai, while speaking on the occasion, said that his company wants to establish power projects in Punjab to be operated with local coal and is desirous of working in collaboration with Punjab government. Provincial Minister for Minerals Sher Ali Khan, Secretary Minerals, Chairman Quaid-i-Azam Solar Park Arif Saeed, Managing Director Punjab Power Development Board and concerned officials were present in the meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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Government pursuing investor-friendly policies: Prime Minister

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Thursday said the government has formulated investor-friendly policies and it would welcome foreign investment in various sectors particularly in the energy sector. Talking to Canadian High Commissioner Greg Giokas the Prime Minister said his government's focus was on economic well-being of the people and pointed that for this purpose trade was a vital component. Prime Minister reaffirmed that Pakistan and Canada share similar views on a range of regional and global issues for promotion of peace and stability. During the meeting, views were exchanged on bilateral matters. PM said regular consultations and exchange of visits by parliamentarians and businessmen would be mutually beneficial for both countries. He said the presence of a large number of Pakistani expatriates in Canada gives a special meaning to the relationship and acts as a bridge of friendship between Pakistan and Canada. Prime Minister also appreciated Canada's humanitarian assistance to mitigate the natural calamities in Pakistan and hoped that development assistance would continue in the education sector. Canadian High Commissioner re-iterated commitment of its Government to further strengthening ties between the two governments and its people.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2014

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Danish envoy, chief minister Punjab discuss energy projects

A delegation led by Ambassador of Denmark Jesper Moller Sorensen and Chief Operating Officer Danny Nielson of a Danish company in the field of wind energy, VESTAS, called on Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif here on Wednesday. Matters relating to co-operation in generating energy through alternative sources particularly wind energy were discussed during the meeting and the Punjab government and Denmark agreed to cooperate in the projects of generating energy through wind. Talking to the delegation, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said that Pakistan was facing serious problem of energy shortage. He said the energy crisis was badly affecting industry, agriculture, education, health, livestock and all sectors of life and causing irreparable loss to economy. He said the government was taking all possible steps for resolving the energy crisis at the earliest. The Chief Minister said the Punjab government was working on projects of generating electricity through biomass, biogas and solar power. He said that Denmark has expertise and experience in the wind energy and the Punjab government wanted to benefit from Danish technology for generating energy through wind. He said that Danish company should conduct mapping of sites with regard to wind energy projects so that feasibility of the projects could be considered. He said the Punjab government will extend all possible co-operation to Danish company with regard to wind energy projects. Ambassador of Denmark Jesper Moller Sorensen talking on the occasion said co-operation to be extended to the Punjab government with regard to launching wind energy projects. Chief Operating Officer of Danish company VESTAS Danny Nielsen said that his company has expertise and experience in generating energy through wind and was working in a number of countries. He said that vast opportunities of generating energy through wind existed in Pakistan and his company was willing to work with the Punjab government in this sector. Provincial Minister for Industry Muhammad Shafique, Additional Chief Secretary Energy and officials were present on the occasion.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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Japan inks accord to extend Rs 5 billion loan for energy sector

The Government of Japan formally agreed to extend a concessional loan of JPY 5 billion (approximately Rs 5 billion) to the Government of Pakistan for supporting the energy sector reforms in Pakistan. The agreement was signed between Hiroshi Inomata, Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan and Ms Yasmin Masood, Additional Secretary, Economic Affairs Division, Government of Pakistan here on Wednesday. "Japan recognises that addressing power crisis is a matter of critical urgency in Pakistan," Inomata stated at the signing ceremony. "We are pleased to work with the Government of Pakistan to tackle this problem in co-operation with other development partners." This loan is provided as a part of a joint programme to support the energy sector reforms which is co-financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank (WB). The ADB, the WB and Japan have worked with Pakistani Government to develop a reform programme and set agreed policy targets to (i) manage tariff and subsidy, (ii) improve sector performance and open the market to private participation, and (iii) improve accountability and transparency in the energy sector. This loan is provided to facilitate achieving these targets by the Government of Pakistan. It is expected that pursuing this programme will not only promote the energy sector reforms but also improve the government's fiscal situation and stimulate economic activities. Japan also plans to provide technical assistance for Pakistan to implement some of the reform programmes, utilising Japanese knowledge. This loan from Japan will be provided at a concessional rate of Yen LIBOR minus 10bp. The repayment period is 30 years, including the grace period of 10years. Japan has been extending active support to the energy sector of Pakistan over the last three decades. For example, Japan financed thermal power stations in Bin Qasim and Jamshoro, and the Ghazi Barotha Hydropower Project. Japan has also supported the National Transmission and Dispatch Company to expand its grid systems by building 12 new grid stations, networking 1,487km-long transmission lines and upgrading training facilities. In power distribution, Japan has contributed a lion's share in electrification of over 6,000 villages. Japan intends to continue to provide necessary assistance to Pakistan in the energy sector at appropriate junctures, while closely monitoring the progress of the reforms and co-ordinating with other development partners.-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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Chinese companies assure Shahbaz: energy projects to be completed within stipulated time

A delegation of prominent Chinese companies, Shandong Ruyi, Huaneng Shandong Company and Sepco-1 called on Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif and assured that they will make their best efforts to complete energy projects within stipulated period. Talking to the Chinese delegation, the Chief Minister said that energy is badly needed for industrial sector, elimination of poverty and unemployment besides removing darkness and there is a need to resolve this crisis as early as possible. He said that all out measures are being taken to overcome shortage of electricity. He said that the government led by Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is working round the clock to overcome energy crisis and power generations projects are being completed expeditiously in all provinces of the country as well as Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. He said that Pak-China friendship has been turned into useful economic relations and China has proved to be true and sincere friend by extending invaluable co-operation to resolve energy crisis in Pakistan. He said that China has played a commendable role for the development of different sectors in Pakistan and supported it in every hour of need. He said that China also is standing with Pakistan in countering the challenge of power shortage. Shahbaz Sharif said that several Chinese companies are making investment of billions of dollars in Pakistan including Punjab in energy sector and the historic economic package of 32 billion dollars announced by China is a proof of the love and affection of Chinese leadership with the Pakistani peoples. The Chinese delegation said that ties of friendship between Pakistan and China are strengthening with the passage of time and investment by Chinese companies will further promote trade relations between the two countries. They said that coal power plants of 1320 megawatts in Sahiwal will be completed in the stipulated period and the Chinese companies had assured execution of this project within the time frame while signing the document. Chairman Shandong Ruyi group, Yafu Qiu, General Manager Huaneng Shandong Company Wang Wenzong, General Manager Sepco-1 Wang Shoumin and Vice President Ruyi Group Jerry Liu and other officials were included in the delegation. Additional Secretary Energy, Chairman Investment Board and other concerned officials were also present on the occasion.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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Runh Power Corp holds seminar

"As energy demand continues to exceed supply, companies are looking for innovative ways to solve not only short-term electricity and heating issues but also future power generation needs that are cost-effective, secure, and sustainable," this was stated by the Guest of Honour, Sohail Lashari, President LCCI, (Lahore Chambers of Commerce & Industries) while addressing a seminar held today in a local hotel. The seminar was conducted by Runh Power Corp, Ltd, a global Chinese firm for the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) of power plants. "Runh Power's fossil fuel fired, waste to energy, and biomass power generation technologies are particularly attractive to our country at this time" Lashari added. Dr Hui Jiang, Vice General Manager, Runh Power said, "We've enjoyed a very co-operative business relationship with Pakistan since 2006, during last month, we were awarded 18MW co-generation power plant with Century Paper & Board Mills, and in the last year, we signed a 150t/h Biomass Boiler Island Project with Bullah Shah Packaging (Pvt) Ltd," he stated. On the seminar, Runh Power's associative in the country from Century Paper, Board Mills Limited and Bullah Shah Packaging also delivered a speech highlighting Runh Power's endeavour and services. Representatives from private and government power sector were also present on the occasion and took active part in the interactive session of the seminar.-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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Prime Minister inaugurates first phase of Rs 57.38 billion Nandipur power project

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday inaugurated the first phase of Rs 57.38 billion Nandipur Power Project. The first turbine of 425MW Nandipur Power Project started producing 95MW of power in the initial stage. The four-unit project would be completed by the end of this year in co-operation of Dongfang Electric Corporation China. The Prime Minister told the gathering that the first power unit of this project has started functioning in the record period of about seven months. He said that he had already laid down foundation stones of two projects in Port Qasim with power capacity of 1320MW, besides another coal-fired power project in Sahiwal with the same power capacity. The rapid speed with which foundation stones of such projects were being laid and completed, had never been witnessed in Pakistan''s history, he added. Agreeing with Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif''s views over the gross negligence and corruption of the past which made the machinery of Nandipur project to rust at Karachi Port for three years, he said a notice in this regard should be taken. He regretted that due to such delay and corruption, loss of billions of rupees was incurred to the national kitty and also cited Neelum Jehlum Project where its cost jumped manifold. The Prime Minister lamented that for completion of national projects, loans were acquired and frittered away recklessly without caring the interests of poor and toiling segments of the society. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed to come up to the expectations of the masses which had expressed their complete confidence in the leadership of PML-N. "We are not only completing projects in the areas where we got massive votes, but also in those areas where others got the mandate," he said, adding, the people who were raising hue and cry, should also know that the PML-N government would continue with the network of development projects throughout the country irrespective of such things. He said we shall work to complete Lahore-Karachi Motorway in the current tenure for which Rs 55 billion have been earmarked for land acquisition. Calling upon a bunch of critics, he said those elements that were protesting, should also reconsider that the government was working for the progress and prosperity of the country through a string of unprecedented projects. They should support the government in its endeavours for national progress and prosperity and realise whether the country might be left in the darkness or lit up with hope and prosperity, he added. The PM also referred to Karachi operation which was initiated to restore its image of "city of lights" and said the crimes rate there had been brought down. He said they were working for good governance and stability of democracy in the country but a set of people were bent upon protests, questioning them whether destruction of the country was their agenda or its development. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Federal Water and Power Minister Khawaja Asif, Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali and Dong Fang Chairman Wang Ji were also present. Since inception of Pakistan, the PM said, no major dam was constructed after Mangla Dam, Trabela Dam and Ghazi Brotha Power House, the government was working upon Diamer Bhasha Dam with power capacity of 4,500MW for which an amount of Rs 40 billion was allocated four days back for land acquisition. The work on the Dasu Dam located on Indus River would also generate about 4,500MW of power and both these projects in Northern Areas would add 9,000MW altogether in the national grid, he added. The PM also informed that during the last 65 years, a total of 23,000MW power was generated in Pakistan, but a number among the generating units were closed due to obsolete technology. He said the government would add 21,000 MW to the national grid to overcome the power issue. Appreciating the fast track progress in Punjab province, the Prime Minister said that various uplift projects were being completed within months, instead of years. He said the upgradation of Railways was underway whereas a railway line would be laid down from Islamabad to Muzaffarabd. The fiscal policies should secure interest of the farmers, labourers and business class and such proposals were made in the upcoming budget, he said, adding that a number of educational institutions and cancer research institutes would be set up. About Gwadar, the Prime Minister said that the government was endeavouring to bring it at par with Lahore and Karachi. He also thanked the Chinese leadership and the Chinese company for helping Pakistan in execution of various mega projects and vowed to strengthen the ties of friendship and co-operation further. He also lauded tireless efforts of Captain Mehmood (Retd), Director of Nandipur Project, the Punjab Chief Minister and all concerned government functionaries for their contributions. He opined Pakistanis like Mahmood should be conferred with medals and announced three months bonus for all the workers on his part and an additional three months bonus on behalf of the Punjab CM. In his address, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said the Nandipur project was a message of light in darkness of hopelessness, terming the success an outcome of the vision of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He also flayed the previous government for incurring a loss of Rs 30 billion due its negligence and bad governance. Shahbaz Sharif thanked the Chinese President, the Prime Minister, Chinese people, engineers and workers for their support, co-operation and commitment to development of Pakistan. The Chief Minister also appreciated the Nandipur project team, especially Project Director Captain Mehmood (Retd) and requested the PM to give him an award. Dong Fang Electric Corporation (DEC) Chairman Wang Ji said the Nandipur project was a symbol of co-operation between Chinese and Pakistani workers. He said the Pak-China Economic Corridor would bring prosperity in Pakistan, assuring that China would continue to extend its co-operation and work with dedication to complete development projects in Pakistan.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2014

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World Bank likely to approve assistance for Dasu Project

The World Bank (WB) Country Director for Pakistan, Rachid Benmessaoud on Saturday expressed the hope that the board of the bank would approve assistance for Dasu Project. "We are working day and night for Board meeting to be held on June 10 and hope that the assistance for Dasu Project will be approved," he said during his meeting with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar here. During the meeting WB Country Director assured the Finance Minister that things were moving positively for Pakistan at the World Bank. He said that they were encouraged by the positive trends of the economic indicators. The meeting was also attended by Shahid Mahmood, Special Assistant to the Finance Minister and senior officials of the Finance Ministry. Ishaq Dar informed the Country Director that Pakistan''''''''s economy was moving in the right direction and that we would continue to engage with multilateral fora including World Bank for assistance in energy and infrastructure development programmes initiated by the government. He emphasised that World Bank''''''''s assistance in energy and development projects particularly on Dasu Dam and CASA - 1000 will help Pakistan progress.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2014

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LNG import 'Pakistan can negotiate with US private enterprises'

While hailing efforts of Pakistan to set up LNG import terminal, United States (US) says that it places no bar on any non-Free Trade Agreement (FTA) countries including Pakistan to ink LNG supply deal with US private enterprises. "Having an LNG import terminal and re-gasification facility is the first step for Pakistan to negotiate a supply contract. We are fully supportive of Pakistan's efforts to increase its natural gas supply through LNG imports," US Embassy officials said. They said that Pakistan was facing energy crisis and TAPI gas pipeline project and LNG imports were options for increasing gas supply and they would integrate the region. They said that all natural gas production and LNG manufacturing in the United States was the endeavour of private enterprises and US government did not have any agreement to sell LNG and was not negotiating with any country for LNG export. "To export LNG to any foreign country, a company must get licence from the Department of Energy (DOE).Licences for exports of LNG to nations that have a certain type of the FTA with United States are deemed to be consistent with the public interest and are granted more or less automatically," officials said, adding that currently the FTA agreements are in place with 20 countries but most of these countries are not large LNG importers They said that the applications for exports to non-FTA countries, the Department of Energy must make a determination that the license will not be detrimental to the public interest and it takes into consideration of the economic effect on US markets, the environmental impact and energy security. "The licence is not given for export to a specific country like Pakistan," they said, adding that to date, licenses have been approved for seven companies to export a total of up to 9.27 billion cubic feet per day to non-FTA countries. Several additional license applications are pending before Department of Energy. The officials said that there were several applications pending before US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the construction of LNG terminals but so far only Cheniere Energy has received a license to build its terminal in Sabine Pass. When completed in 2017, it will be capable of exporting 2.7 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd). They also said it was too early to know if the prices of LNG would drop after LNG supply from companies in US. They said that the demand and supply situation would determine the price. "The Government of Pakistan should also enhance indigenous gas production by raising wellhead price to encourage exploration companies," they said, adding that transmission and distribution losses in gas utilities were also big issue. They said that 10 per cent loss by gas utilities meant 400 million cubic feet per day loss. "If it is taken as 400 mmcfd LNG, it would be $1.3 billion per year loss adding that the government would have to reduce losses in gas sector before injecting LNG in the system. They said that the World Bank was working on a good project to reduce losses. They added that the recovery of bills should be improved in power sector and losses should be slashed to bring efficiency.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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LNG terminal: Ogra awards licence to ETPL

The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) has awarded the licence of construction and operation of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to Elengy Terminal Pakistan Limited (ETPL). Initially, the regulatory body has issued the license of LNG terminal to EPTL for two years which would be reviewed after two years. The license is only applicable to the floating storage re-gasification unit (FSGU), senior Ogra officials said. As per license EPTL could import a maximum 500 Million Cubic Feet per Day (MMCFD) of LNG at Port Qasim and if the EPTL is willing to increasing the capacity of LNG terminal the Ogra will review it as per LNG rules 2007. Pakistan is going to begin talks with Qatar to finalise plans to import 3.5 million tons of LNG per year. The EPTL has already started the construction of LNG terminal at Port Qasim Karachi which would initially handle around 200Million Cubic Feet per Day (MMCFD) of LNG. "The decision would enable the government to save around Rs 60 billion per annum in oil imports and alleviate the energy crisis. In addition, it would have a positive impact on circular debt and was expected to reduce the weighted average electricity tariff by at least 10%, if LNG were to replace HFO and HSD in existing power generation units," officials added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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Pakistan’s oil and gas industry growing

The oil and gas sector of Pakistan is on the rise and working hard to fulfil the national demand. Oil and gas are the two of the key components of the energy mix contributing around 80% share to the 64 million TOE of energy requirement in the country. Industry is growing very quickly and the drilling activities in the country are going above the average. There were 76 well drilled in the last year and it was never ever seen in the past years to drilled so may wells in a single year. According to last Economic Survey 2013, Pakistan estimated that there are 27 million barrels of reserves available that are recoverable for the use and Pakistan’s consumption is 19.21 million tones. The average oil production was 66,032 barrels per day in 2013 and it was the growth of around 13% over the last year. There are total 7 oil Refineries, 6772 petrol stations are operating in Pakistan and 258 oil & gas discoveries and 803 wells drilled till now. The liquidity ratios of Pakistan oil industry is not much efficient as it should need to be. Current ratios give us the sense about the ability of a company to turn its product into cash. The current ratio of industry is decreasing with the passage of time which means the ability of industry to pay its short term liabilities is getting low as compare to past few years. Also the cash ratio of the industry is not much stronger as the industry has to pay high debt to its suppliers. It means that ratio of cash and marketable securities against current liabilities is very low but cash ratio is increasing with the passage of time and working hard to pay its liabilities. There are several reasons behind lowness of these ratios. The main reason is the high amount debt taken by industry from its suppliers and in order to pay those debts, industry does not have much cash in hand. As per profit of the industry concern, it is increasing with the passage of time. Profit of oil industry has been increased in the ninth month or 3rd quarter of fiscal year 14 while it was decreasing before. It is come to know that the earning of oil and gas explorers increase by 18% in third quarter of FY14 while in the previous quarter ended in Dec 2013, the earning of the sector declined due to the appreciation of Pak rupee against dollar. Major oil and gas exploration and production companies working in Pakistan include Pakistan Oilfield (POL), Gas development Company and Pakistan Petroleum.

Copyright Daily Times, 2014

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Prime Minister inaugurates Mehar Gas Processing Plant

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday inaugurated the Mehar Gas Processing Plant which will produce 30 million cubic feet gas per day and 3,300 condensate barrels per day. Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Minister for Defence; Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Minister for Petroleum; Jaap Hujskes, Board Member of OMV; Erwin Kroell, SVP Middle East and Caspian Region; and Axel Welch, Austrian Ambassador were also present during the inauguration ceremony. Prime Minister admired the team of OMV and its joint venture partners ie, GHPL, OPL and Zaver Petroleum for their commitment, resolve and hard work in achieving successful completion and commissioning of Mehar Gas Plant. "It is encouraging to know that OMV has been immensely contributing to the oil and gas sector of Pakistan, since commencement of its operations in 1990," PM added. "I also appreciate that OMV has also undertaken a number of initiatives focusing on community education and health through several community development schemes for the population in and around the areas of its concessions. These community development schemes provide quality education and health facilities to the population of Mehar area and provide employment opportunities for the local youth," PM said. Prime Minister assured that the Government of Pakistan was committed to provide secure and peaceful working environment for unhindered oil and gas exploration activities in the country. "Supply of indigenous gas is the major component of our total energy mix and mainstay of our economy. Indigenous gas saves Pakistan billions of dollars in foreign exchange as it constitutes about 50 percent of our energy mix. I am also pleased to know that Pakistan is going to achieve production of over 100,000 barrels of oil per day by the end of this year," PM further said. "We invite OMV and other international companies to come forward and take advantage of our business friendly policies," PM said. Earlier, the PM was briefed that on the commissioning of second phase of Mehar Gas Plant Facilities, production of gas will rise to 80 million cubic feet gas per day and condensate production will be enhanced to 8,800 barrels per day. LPG production will be up to 170 tons per day. Both the phases of Mehar Gas Field have to cost around $440 million.-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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PIBT stands to gain as country's first coal terminal

With the government focus on new coal-fired power plants to solve country's power shortage, Pakistan International Bulk Terminals (PIBT), stands to gain as the first coal terminal in the country, says a press release issued here on Monday. Recently listed on the Karachi Stock Exchange PIBT was the highest traded scrip on Friday as market interest peaked in this stock. Given 6 new 660 MW power plants announced in Punjab and several conversions of old power plants and new ones being planned in Sindh, from K Electric to Jamshoro, Coal demand in Pakistan is poised to grow exponentially. Each new 660 MW power plant requires 6 million tons of coal annually. PIBT is ideally placed to take advantage of this build out and up gradation as it will come on line in 2016 at the same time as the first of these new coal fired power plants come on line boosting coal demand in the county. Pakistan already currently imports on average 5 million tons of Coal for the last 5 years, mostly for the cement industry. However, power generation from coal for the country coal is less than 2% currently of total power generation. This is in great contrast with most developed economies such as the US or China where 40 to 60 percent or more of energy need is met through coal. With indigenous coal from Sindh's Thar region still not available for several years imported coal will be key item for these new plants. Even when Thar coal comes on stream several years from now as low quality lignite coal Thar coal is not feasibly transportable to the new power plants. The ideal use for Thar coal will be mine mouth power plants which will generate power on site. With no other coal handling facilities in the pipe line, though new bidding tenders are in the process of being prepared, PIBT will have the first mover advantage in this space. Currently Karachi Port Trust handles most of the coal import of the country but not as a modern, up to date, dedicated facility. Instead the coal is handled by self-craned ships for unloading and then the coal is shovelled into trucks for transportation. PIBT's new design and efficient equipment will be able to handle this entire process more quickly and at significantly lower cost than current handling. Added to the massive new demand of coal coming up in the country and first mover advantage, smart investors know that the success of the company is guaranteed. -PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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Oil production surges to 100,000 bpd

ISLAMABAD: In a major development, Pakistan’s oil production climbed 30 to 40 percent in one year to 100,000 barrels per day from 68,000 barrels per day, Zahid Muzaffar, Advisor to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, divulged on Saturday. In July 2013, the oil production stood at 68,000 barrels per day, which escalated to 100,000 bpd as of today – up over 30,000 bpd, he told the Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar during a briefing. Chairman Oil and Gas Development Company Limited was also present. The advisor said the government issued over 41 block licences in 2014. He said the total consumption of petroleum products in the country stands at 21.2 million tonnes of oil equivalent annually, while the country produces 4.7 mtoe of crude oil annually. Muzaffar sensitised Dar about the positive development with regard to increase in the volume of gas production, saying during the last one year, 539 million cubic feet per day of natural gas has been added to the system. However in the old gas fields, there has been a significant decline due to non-availability of modern equipment needed for gas exploration, he added. There is no equipment with the OGDCL for shale gas exploration and efforts are being made to invite local and foreign private investors for joint ventures in this sector. The ministry advisor further said Pakistan is an under explored country where only 44 percent of the area is explored whereas the success rate is much higher in the country as compared to other regions, including Middle East. In Pakistan, exploration well success ratio is 1:3, whereas in Middle East, it is 1:5 or more. He said the OGDCL plans to increase efficiencies in the seismic, drilling, production and processing by establishing partnership with the latest technology partners. Foreign exploration and production companies will be invited to participate as joint venture partners. The ministry advisor discussed the plans for attracting foreign direct investment to accelerate domestic production in oil and gas sector. In the last one year, the domestic production of liquefied petroleum gas was doubled from 1,000 metric tonnes per day in July 2013 to over 2,000 metric tonnes per day. In line with directives of the Prime Minister, LPG will be provided to cities of Balochistan and far flung areas where there is no gas transmission line and distribution system, he added. The Finance Minister said that the government had already announced special incentives for foreign direct investment in oil and gas exploration. He said that it was high time that the foreign companies should be invited to invest in Pakistan. The minister said the corporate tax rate has been reduced from 33 percent to 20 percent for the investment project set up by June 13, 2017 and at least 50 percent of the total project cost is in the form of equity through FDI. Dar said to achieve the vision of an industrialised Pakistan in the future, “We have announced this special package”. The finance minister directed the advisor petroleum ministry for adopting an aggressive marketing strategy to attract foreign investment in the light of the new incentives given in the Finance Bill 2014-15. Senator Dar added that a comprehensive strategy and vision was required to overcome the energy crisis and to increase significantly the oil and gas production in order to operate it on international standards. He said the finance ministry would facilitate foreign investment in oil and gas sector.

Copyright The News, 2014

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Wooing investment in oil and gas sector

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Saturday asked the ministry of petroleum and natural resources to adopt an aggressive marketing strategy to attract foreign investment in the light of new incentives given in the Finance Bill 2014-15. During a meeting with Adviser to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources Zahid Muzaffar, who is also the OGDCL chairman, the finance minister emphasised that a comprehensive strategy and vision was required to overcome the energy crisis and to significantly increase the oil and gas production. Dar said that the government had already announced incentives to attract foreign direct investment in oil and gas exploration and it was high time that the foreign companies should be invited to invest here. He said the corporate tax rate had been reduced from 33 per cent to 20 per cent if the investment project was set up by June 14, 2017 and at least 50pc of the total project cost was in the form of equity through FDI. He said this special package was announced to achieve the vision of an industrialised Pakistan. The adviser to petroleum ministry informed the finance minister that the total consumption of petroleum products in the outgoing fiscal year stood at 21.2 million tonnes of oil equivalent (TOE) and of which local crude oil production was 4.7 million TOE only. He said that record 41 licences for oil and gas exploration were issued this year and over 30,000 barrels per day (bpd) had been added to the system taking the total local oil production to over 100,000 bpd from 68,000 bpd. Besides, around 539 mmcfd of natural gas were also added to the system. However, in in the old gas fields, there had been a significant decline due to non-availability of modern equipment needed for gas exploration. He disclosed that the OGDCL had no equipment for shale gas exploration and efforts were being made to invite local and foreign private investors for joint ventures in this sector. He informed that Pakistan is an under-explored country where only 44 per cent area is explored whereas the success rate is much higher as compared to other regions including Middle East. He said that in Pakistan exploration well success ratio is 1:3 whereas in Middle East it is 1:5 or more. He said that the OGDCL plans to increase efficiencies in the seismic, drilling, production and processing by establishing partnership with latest technology partners. He informed that foreign exploration and production companies will be invited to participate as joint venture partners. He discussed the plans for attracting FDI to accelerate domestic production in oil and gas sector. On LPG, he informed that in the last one year, the domestic production has been doubled from 1,000 tonnes per day in July 2013 to over 2,000 tonnes per day.

Copyright Dawn, 2014

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Significant oil reserve discovered in Jehlum

Mari Petroleum Company Limited (MPCL) the operator of Ghauri block situated in District Jehlum, Punjab has discovered a significant reserve of crude oil with estimated production of 5,500 barrels per day, the company announced here on Friday. According to a spokesman of the MPCL, the block was jointly operated by MPCL along with joint partners Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) and Hungarian MOL. The spokesman said that 5,500 barrels of oil production per day with 1100 psi at 32/64 choke size with an estimated production of 22 million barrels reserves have been made at Sohawa. As per Petroleum Ministry officials after the current discovery country''s crude oil production has crossed 100,000 barrel mark per day from current production of 97,000 barrel per. "Pakistanis will have soon many other good news as the oil/gas exploration and production companies are working in a block in Hangu District of KP and are of the firm believe that from this area they will find one of the biggest oil/gas reserve of the country," he added. The Ghauri X-1 Well is located at village Dhemak in district Jhelum. The 3800 meter deep Ghauri Well discovery is a landmark achievement being the first hydrocarbon discovery in the eastern part of Potohar Plateau. It would go a long way in exploiting the so far un-tapped potential in the area for other E&P Companies operating in this region. Though the in-place oil reserves are estimated at 22 million barrels with expected additional volume in the Kussak Formation, which has also flowed Oil at the rate of 136 barrels /Day with nitrogen kick off owing the tight nature of the reservoir, this well is considered to be among the top ranking oil producing wells in the country. Lieutenant General Nadeem Ahmed (Retd) CEO/MD of Mari Petroleum Company Limited while addressing the employees on this historic occasion said "By the grace of Almighty Allah and dedicated efforts of MPCL''s team along with participation of J.V partners and the office of Directorate General Petroleum Concessions, we have made a major oil discovery in Sakessar Formation, eastern Potohar region in Ghauri X-1 Well. The GJV comprises MPCL-Operator with 35% working interest, PPL and MOL 35% and 30% respectively. With Ghauri X-1 discovery the company has made yet another success; following its last month''s discovery of gas/condensate in its Sujjal Well located in Thatta District of Sindh Province. Ghauri X-1 discovery has further enhanced MPCL exploration well success rate, which already ranked as the highest in the country. MPCL presently, operates 2 Development & Production Leases, 9 Exploration Blocks and has joint venture interest share in six other Exploration Blocks.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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Annual Plan 2013-14: IP gas line project to be initiated in 2014-15

The government plans to implement Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project in 2014-15, the Annual Plan 2013-14 documents indicated. The government has indicated that it will commence work on the IP pipeline as soon as finances for the project are arranged and the issue of sanctions against Iran resolved. The Annual Plan further states that Pakistan will take further significant steps on imported gas pipeline projects, including Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) and IP 2014-15. It added that import of up to 200 million cubic feet per day of LNG is likely to start by December 2014. As per planned major activities on Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project, wherein the TAPI parties have already appointed Asian Development Bank (ADB) as Transaction Advisor (TA), selection of investors for the construction of the pipeline will commence. Fast track LNG terminal project having capacity of 400-500 Million Cubic Feet per Day (MMCFD) will be pursued by Inter State Gas System (ISGS). The Elengy Terminal Pakistan Limited (ETPL) has been declared as successful bidder for setting up of LNG terminal at Port Qasim and the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) management has already negotiated the LNG services agreement with EPTL. The government of Pakistan will pursue the procurement of LNG from different potential sellers, particularly from Qatar on government to government basis, Annual Plan 2014-15 reveals. Iran and Pakistan have already made following developments on IP project: Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS) on September 2012, Front End Engineering Design (FEED), Detailed Route Survey (DRS), Social Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA), Initialisation of Co-operation Agreement with Iran, Cabinet approval to give effectiveness to the co-operation agreement, installation of concrete markers on right of way and land acquisition, initialisation of Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract along with the financial agreement. The estimated cost of laying the Pakistan segment of the 42" diameter IP pipeline is $1.24 billion, which will initially carry 750 MMCFD of natural gas. Under TAPI 3.2 Billion Cubic Feet per Day (BCFD) of natural gas would be imported from Turkmenistan of which Pakistan and India will receive 1.325 BCFD each while Afghanistan will receive 500 Million Cubic Feet per Day (MMCFD) gas. The estimated cost of the 56" pipeline project is around $7.6 billion. The TAPI parties have already finalised the Transaction Advisory Services Agreement (TASA), the main task of the TA is to identify and select a world class technically competent and financially capable international company as consortium leader for the project through competitive solicitations. The plan also revealed that in 2014-15 local crude oil production will be 97,590 barrels per day - from 85,000 barrels per day in 2013-14, while the local gas production is like to decline by 300 MMCFD from 4.1 Billion Cubic Feet per Day (BCFD) to 3.8 BCFD.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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Chinese companies assure Shahbaz: energy projects to be completed within stipulated time

A delegation of prominent Chinese companies, Shandong Ruyi, Huaneng Shandong Company and Sepco-1 called on Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif and assured that they will make their best efforts to complete energy projects within stipulated period. Talking to the Chinese delegation, the Chief Minister said that energy is badly needed for industrial sector, elimination of poverty and unemployment besides removing darkness and there is a need to resolve this crisis as early as possible. He said that all out measures are being taken to overcome shortage of electricity. He said that the government led by Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is working round the clock to overcome energy crisis and power generations projects are being completed expeditiously in all provinces of the country as well as Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. He said that Pak-China friendship has been turned into useful economic relations and China has proved to be true and sincere friend by extending invaluable co-operation to resolve energy crisis in Pakistan. He said that China has played a commendable role for the development of different sectors in Pakistan and supported it in every hour of need. He said that China also is standing with Pakistan in countering the challenge of power shortage. Shahbaz Sharif said that several Chinese companies are making investment of billions of dollars in Pakistan including Punjab in energy sector and the historic economic package of 32 billion dollars announced by China is a proof of the love and affection of Chinese leadership with the Pakistani peoples. The Chinese delegation said that ties of friendship between Pakistan and China are strengthening with the passage of time and investment by Chinese companies will further promote trade relations between the two countries. They said that coal power plants of 1320 megawatts in Sahiwal will be completed in the stipulated period and the Chinese companies had assured execution of this project within the time frame while signing the document. Chairman Shandong Ruyi group, Yafu Qiu, General Manager Huaneng Shandong Company Wang Wenzong, General Manager Sepco-1 Wang Shoumin and Vice President Ruyi Group Jerry Liu and other officials were included in the delegation. Additional Secretary Energy, Chairman Investment Board and other concerned officials were also present on the occasion.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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Budget 2014-15: Rs 260 billion to be allocated fore energy sector: Ahsan

Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal on Saturday said Rs 260 billion will be allocated in the budget 2014-15 for energy sector while Rs 151 billion will be set aside in the coming budget for transport sector. Addressing at a news conference on Saturday, Ahsan said that out of Rs 260 billion, Rs 84 billion would be spent on projects for hydel power generation, Rs 33 billion for thermal power projects and Rs 48 billion for electricity generation through nuclear power generation projects. He added that 2200MW of electricity will be generated through atomic power generation. He that Pakistan Railways is the backbone of economy and a hefty amount is being allocated to develop Pakistan Railways. In the year 2014, a number of closed trains have resumed their operation and in coming budget Rs 39 billion would be allocated for Pakistan Railways. Ahsan further said the government accords priority to infrastructure development. All the developed countries initially developed infrastructure to ensure economic development and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also has the same vision, he added. He said that most modern transport system is being introduced to link Pakistan with Central Asian countries and China which would help increase the country's exports. Ahsan further said that in the budget 2014-15, budgetary allocations are being made for making Gwadar modern port, airport and Expressway in Balochistan. He said that a modern hospital, water filtration and power plants would also be set up in Gwadar. Answering a question, Ahsan said, "At present an attempt is being made to create rift between media and army as well as army and politicians. Those who are adding fuel to fire cannot be well wishers of the country." The Minister said the government is trying to introduce reforms in salaries and pensions. He said the government will allocate a substantial amount for social sector development. He added that a most modern cancer hospital will be set up in Islamabad. Ahsan said focus is being given to increase GDP growth rate besides tax net to achieve the progress in diverse sectors. He said foreign investors are taking keen interest in different sectors due to the better economic policies of the government. He said the government is taking all possible measures to develop better system to streamline the state of affairs. He said there is need to bring rapid changes in different sectors to make progress. He further said the upcoming budget would unfold priorities of Vision 2025, which would also start from the budget. He said the government will allocate funds for promotion of research, human resource development, education and health sectors.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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