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News Headlines for the month of
SEPTEMBER 2014

Mechanical mining of coal: Punjab government, Chinese company sign MoU

A MoU was signed between Punjab government and China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) for mechanical mining of indigenous coal in salt range here Sunday. Secretary Minerals Dr. Arshad Mehmood signed MoU on behalf of Punjab government while Vice President Jingkai on behalf of CMEC. Punjab Chief Minister, Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif was the chief guest of the function held at Model Town. Under the agreement, renowned Chinese Company will carry out mechanical mining of coal through modern methods in salt range. Besides modern mining, Punjab government and CMEC will also extend co-operation to each other for development of indigenous coal and its economic use. CMEC will use this coal obtained through modern mechanical methods instead of manual for the proposed power plants. The Chief Minister while terming the signing of MoU between Punjab government and CMEC a welcome step said that the friendship between Pakistan and China has converted into strategic partnership. He said that a number of Chinese companies are making investment in energy, infrastructure and other sectors. Shahbaz Sharif said that 600 million ton coal reserves exist in Punjab which can be used in energy sector. He said that the agreement with regard to mining of indigenous coal through modern methods by CMEC in this regard is a good omen. He said that with the agreement of Chinese Company, indigenous coal will be used in energy sector. Besides Chairman CMEC Sun Bai and senior officials of Chinese Company, Additional Chief Secretary Energy and concerned officials were also present on the occasion. Sun Bai said that Chinese Company will extend full co-operation in mechanical mining of coal and installing energy generating projects in Punjab. He said that the agreement made with Punjab government in mining and energy sector will be implemented speedily.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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SRSP to build 200KW hydel power house in Chitral

Sarhad Rural Support Program (SRSP) has given the approval of constructing 200 KW hydel power house for people of Reeri Oveer, a remote area of upper Chitral situated between two mountains which lacks basic life facilities including communication, infrastructure, education and electricity. The SRSP announced this during a ceremony held here on Monday with the CEO of the program, Shehzada Masood ul Mulk as the chief guest and attended by Qazi Obaidullah. Addressing the ceremony, elders of the area said that in this modern era of science and technology Reeri Oveer is deprived off, of all amenities of life. They said that in the absence of electricity children of the area could not get education while remain unaware of the day to day happenings within and across the globe. As this valley is behind the mountains, there is no permanent road that is why the people could not travel to Chitral main town. They thanked SRSP management that they fulfilled the demand of the people of the area and approved 200 KW hydel power house. Shehzada Masood stressed that people should continue commutative struggle for the community benefits and they can get lot with the unity. District program manager SRSP Tariq Ahmad said that this project would be completed with the cost of 27 million rupees with the financial assistance of Program for Economic Advancement & Community Empowerment of European Union. He said that 480 families would be benefited from this project. Papers of the project were also handed over the local public.

Copyright Independent News Pakistan, 2013

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Energy shortfall: Pakistan needs to build more nuclear power plants: Dr Ansar Parvez

Chairman, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) Dr Ansar Parvez said that Pakistan needs to build more nuclear power plants to overcome a severe energy shortfall. Addressing the 58th IAEA General Conference, Dr Ansar Parvez said that "Guided by the past interaction, we remain committed to synergizing our efforts with those of the Agency to harness the vast potential of nuclear technology--the most significant aspect of which for Pakistan is nuclear power given our limited conventional energy resources". The 58th IAEA General Conference is currently in session from September 22-26 at Vienna, Austria. Chairman PAEC informed that Pakistan's first nuclear power plant, KANUPP was established in 1972. More than forty years of its safe operation has provided confidence further to pursue the nuclear power option. PAEC Chief stated that the Chashma Nuclear Power Plants, 325 MWe units 1 & 2, built with the assistance of China are operating successfully. The performance and economics of these two units has won support for nuclear power from the decision makers and the cost of electricity from these is lower than that from all other means of electrical power generation, except hydro power. Two more units C-3 & C-4 currently under construction are expected to be completed within cost and on schedule or may be earlier. The other two units 1100 MWe each are being constructed in Karachi and with the completion of these two units, nuclear power would begin to make a sizeable contribution to electricity generation in the country, he added. He said, "The new plants being acquired for the Karachi site are Generation-III plants with enhanced safety features". He apprised the General Conference that Pakistan has firm regulatory infrastructure in place. The Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) has based its regulations on the IAEA safety standards, and also offers itself for independent peer reviews. This year an IAEA IRSS mission comprising more than 20 experts from 15 different countries visited PNRA in April-May 2014. He informed that Pakistan is also contributing to the promotion of science at the global level. As an active partner of the world renowned laboratory for nuclear research, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) based in Geneva, Pakistan applied for its Associate Membership in February 2013 and has now been admitted as an Associate Member last week. He said that PAEC has been making important contributions to many socio-economic sectors for the nation, especially providing vital service through its nuclear medical hospitals. During 2013, three such hospitals were added bringing the total number of medical centres to eighteen. These hospitals serve more than 700,000 patients each year. PAEC plans to further expand its services by setting up more nuclear medical centres, he informed. In the agriculture sector, in recognition to its scientific activities during the last several decades, the Nuclear Institute for Agriculture and Biology (NIAB), Faisalabad received the Achievement Award in mutation breeding from the IAEA's Joint FAO/IAEA Division, which celebrated its 50th anniversary. Dr Parvez reiterated that Pakistan has the credentials to become a recipient and supplier of nuclear technology for peaceful purpose. Pakistan aspires to play its part at the international level as a mainstream partner, including as full member of export control regimes, particularly the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Appreciating the role of IAEA, the Chairman PAEC said that IAEA has played a positive role in fostering the peaceful applications of nuclear technology around the world. Pakistan has greatly benefited from its co-operation with IAEA and Pakistan has also been able to make some modest contributions towards the Agency's activities by sharing experience and providing services of experts in several technical areas.-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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Islamabad, Oslo agree to enhance energy cooperation

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif discussed enhancing bilateral energy co-operation with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg at the United Nations Headquarters, where the Pakistani leader is attending the annual General Assembly session. "Both leaders discussed the existing level of co-operation between the two countries and decided to further enhance bilateral relations especially in the field of energy," the Pakistani Mission to the UN said. The two prime ministers also discussed the regional situation, particularly with reference to the recent developments in Afghanistan. Prime Minister Sharif informed his counterpart about the measures taken by the government to resolve the problem of electricity shortages in Pakistan and how all energy sources were being utilised to generate electricity. Norwegian Prime Minister Solberg, while appreciating the steps taken by the government to utilise alternate energy sources, assured her country''s support for Pakistan in the endeavours in the area. Prime Minister Sharif also informed the Norwegian leader about favourable investment climate in Pakistan and said that Norwegian companies would be welcome to invest in Pakistan, especially in the field of energy and infrastructure development. The Norwegian prime minister appreciated the role of the Pakistani Diaspora in the development of her country. According to the Pakistani Mission, Special Assistant to the PM, Mr Tariq Fatimi, Permanent Representative to UN, Ambassador Masood Khan, Additional Secretary, PM''s Office, Fawad Hassan Fawad were also present during the meeting.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2014

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Water experts to inspect Himachal project

A three-member Pakistani delegation of water experts reached Himachal Pradesh town on Sunday to inspect an upcoming hydropower project in the Lahaul Valley, an official said. "The delegation, led by Pakistan''s Indus Waters Commissioner Mirza Asif Beg, would visit the 120-MW Miyar hydropower project near Udaipur town in Lahaul-Spiti district on Monday," Central Water Commission regional director P. Dorje Gyamba, who is accompanying the team, told media here. The project is being commissioned by private firm, Moser Baer, in the Miyar Valley on a tributary of the Chandrabhaga River. The Indian team accompanying the Pakistani delegation included Indus Water Commissioner K. Vohra and senior joint commissioner P.K. Saxena. The Indus Waters Treaty was signed in 1960 with the support of the World Bank to settle water issues between the two neighbouring countries. Official sources said the purpose of the Pakistani team''s visit is to ascertain whether any diversion has been made in the original flow of the Chandrabhaga, which later enters Jammu and Kashmir and there it''s known as the Chenab. "We are hopeful that India will show some flexibility on (Pakistan''s) reservations over the building of new dams in India," Baig said. During the five-day trip, the delegation will also visit four "controversial sites" on the Chenab River where New Delhi is planning to construct new dams. Reiterating that Pakistan''s objections over the design of Kishanganga dam were logical, Baig said that some serious doubts pertaining to the controversial project - particularly regarding the Neelum distributary point and other dams on the Chenab River have already been allayed.

Copyright Independent News Pakistan, 2013

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US assisting Pakistan in energy sector: Heath

Consul General of the Unites States, Brian Heath, said here on Monday that the US has been assisting Pakistan in overcoming its energy crisis on priority. Moreover, the US was also working on various projects to renovate Pakistan's existing power stations for increasing their power generating capacity, he added. Speaking at a meeting of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), he said that the severe energy crisis in Pakistan was affecting Generalised System of Preference (GSP) plus and its growth rate. He said that the US, under its assistance programme, was also helping Pakistan to build its education sector so that maximum number of children could have access to education. Expressing satisfaction over Pakistan's economic progress, he said energy and education played an important role in creating conducive environment for business as employees without education cannot be productive and efficient, while factories cannot be run without electricity. Referring to the US assistance programme for Pakistan, he said that it was aimed at helping the country to become a stable, prosperous and democratic nation. "You cannot have a stable nation without democracy and prosperity," he remarked. Brian Heath said that the USAID has been assisting Pakistan in building its infrastructure, particularly a network of roads, to ensure smooth flow of goods carrier across the country as well as to facilitate cross-border trade. Voicing his concern over terrorists and extremists' attacks in Karachi and elsewhere in Pakistan, he said such heinous crimes have been affecting investors' confidence. KCCI former president Anjum Nisar sought United States help in resolving the country's pressing issues relating to law and order, energy crisis and water scarcity. Expressing his concern over six percent decline in textile export, he asked the US authorities to help Pakistan in addressing this issue. KCCI President Amir Abdullah Zaki said that that Pakistan's vital role in combating terrorism since the occurrence of tragic incident of 9/11 has proved that the country was a true ally of the US. He deplored that although Pakistan had immensely suffered in terms of human and material losses in the war against terrorism, its contribution has not been recognised in terms of increased economic co-operation between Pakistan and the US. He said Pakistan was keen in expanding its trade with the US and in developing education, scientific research and infrastructure sectors. He said that the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) between the US and Pakistan which was signed in 2009 was required to be implemented in letter and spirit.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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Keyal Khwar hydropower project: Contract awarded to Sinohydro & Hajvairy Group

Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) and a joint venture comprising Sinohydro and Hajvairy Group signed a contract of civil works for Keyal Khwar Hydropower Project worth Rs 14.544 billion in Wapda House here on Friday. Wapda Member (Water) Muhammad Shoaib Iqbal and General Manager Sinohydro Duan Jianxia signed the contract on behalf of Wapda and the joint venture respectively. The signing ceremony was witnessed by Wapda Member (Finance) Anwar-ul-Haq, senior officers of Wapda and representatives of joint venture. Wapda is constructing the 128MW Keyal Khwar hydropower project on a tributary of Indus River in Kohistan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, about 310 kilometres from Islamabad. The project is scheduled to be completed in four years. On completion, Keyal Khwar will generate 418 million units of low-cost hydel electricity per annum. The project is being jointly funded by the European Investment Bank (EIP), the German Development Bank (KfW) and the Government of Pakistan. The European Investment Bank and KfW are providing 100 million Euros and 97 million Euros respectively for the purpose. It is pertinent to mention that the Ecnec, in its meeting held on September 13, approved the revised PC-1 of the project with a rationalised cost of Rs 27.8 billion. The German Development Bank had also issued a No Objection Letter (NOL) to Wapda for award of its civil works contract to the joint venture.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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50 megawatts wind power project in Gharo: Sindh government gets $130 million Chinese investment

The Sindh government got another Chinese investment of $130 million for setting up 50MW Wind Power Project near Gharo city, said a press release issued here on Monday. Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah witnessed the sub-lease (land) signing ceremony between AEBD and Hydro Dawood China Wind Farm (50 Mw) at CM House Karachi. Consul General of China, officers of AEBD and Energy Department were also present. Shah while talking to the Consul General China and other participants of ceremony said that Sindh Province had great potential in the field of wind energy and added that so far potential of 50,000 MM of wind energy has been identified in the Jhampir Gharo wind corridor. He said that Sindh Government had developed a comprehensive energy policy to meet it growing energy needs through cheap and indigenous resources specially wind and coal resources which are largely available in the province. The Chief Minister Sindh said that support and active participation of Chinese investment to explore both these resources in the province was highly appreciable. He said that Pakistan China friendship had a glorious past as well as bright future and would continue to act as a stabilising force for the entire region. This project is executed by two private companies which include Hydro China and Dawood Power (Private) Limited under their joint venture. The financing of this project would be made by the Chinese state-owned bank, whereas the Sindh Government has allotted 1720 acres of land to the company after it obtained LOI for 50 MW Wind Power Project from Alternate Energy Development Board (AEDB), NOC on Initial Environment Examination (IEE) report from SEPA, generation license and, upfront tariff from NEPRA and Energy Purchase Agreement (EPA) with NTDC. The Financial close of this project is expected by the end of this year and the construction will start from January 2015. The total construction period would be 18 months and commercial operation of this project would be before June 30, 2016. This project was included as one of top priority project for Pak China Economic Corridor and to generate hundreds of jobs for local people.

Copyright News Network International, 2014

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Punjab government to establish energy conservation department

Punjab government is set to establish energy conservation department with a proposed huge fund of three billion rupees, as the dream of energy conservation is letting lose due to a shortage of Energy Services Companies (ESCOs) in Pakistan, said the industry sources. According to the sources, the consultation process on the idea has come to an end and the PC-one is under discussion with stakeholders at present. It may be noted that Pakistan is losing huge megawatt electricity without break due to a dearth of required strength of consultants on energy conservation. In most of the cases, sources said, the available stock consists of one-man show with fragile credibility. Sources further said the consultants got disappear from the scene suddenly after signing contract and getting advanced payments. Resultantly, the idea of energy conservation seems to be an open-ended mission in Pakistan, sources added. Meanwhile, international fund agencies including GIZ are also actively pursuing the industrial sectors in upgrading the energy staff of respective mills on how to conserve maximum energy during mill operations. The concept of energy audit is becoming popular in industrial circles fast and according to one estimate only the Punjab-based textile industry is able to save 300MW electricity through conservation measures. Similar is the case of other industrial sectors. However, there is no sufficient number of consultancy services on the subject. The entry of government in this sector is equally a source of worry for industry, saying that huge allocation of proposed fund will be spent uselessly in the absence of a strict vigilance. Sources said the government should flourish the private sector expertise instead of bringing it to the public sector. The Punjab government has been proactive on this front, suggesting many ways and means to the consumers on energy conservation, including the supply of energy savers to replace them with tube lights.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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128 megawatts power project summary approved by ECNEC

The Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved a summary for the setting up of 128 MW "Keyal Khwar Hydropower Project" with a rationalised cost of Rs 27.8 billion and an "Emergency Plan for Polio Eradication" from the country with a total capital cost of $326.838 million. The summary was approved by the ECNEC, under Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, at the Prime Minister''s Office on Friday. The summary was moved by Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms. The energy sector''s "Keyal Khwar Hydropower Project" of 128MW would be launched in District Kohistan of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa. The project will be completed by WAPDA in four years at a cost of Rs 27.8 billion. The project is proposed to be funded by PSDP and has a FEC of Rs 10.988 billion. The project will be interconnected with the national grid by 2.8-km long, 132 kV double circuit transmission line terminated at the Duber Khawar HPP switchyard. The annual energy generation has been estimated at 418 GWh. "Emergency Plan for Polio Eradication" is for the country, including Fata, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir." The project has a total capital cost of $326.838 million with Islamic Development Bank loan ($227 million), World Bank loan ($23.600 million), JICA grant ($8.031 million) and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant ($68.207 million). Interest on the loan shall be paid by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The UNICEF shall procure oral polio vaccine and undertake social mobilisation and communication campaigns at district and sub-district levels on behalf of the provincial/district governments while WHO shall conduct operational activities and actually undertake the supplementary immunisation activities on behalf/through the provincial/district governments. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said, "Financing the health services is the responsibility of the provincial governments after devolution but the federal government also feels itself responsible to arrange for the needed finances for the project through agreement with donors for the implementation of such important projects. It is unfortunate that Pakistan is still facing challenges in the eradication of polio but we are sure that soon we will get rid of this disease for good." He said that the ECNEC meeting was especially convened for approving the polio eradication plan as this is our foremost priority to make Pakistan a polio-free country. Minister of State for National Health Services, Regulations and Co-ordination Saira Rafique Tarar said, "This loan will be converted into grant as per the understanding reached with donors if we are successfully able to eradicate polio from our country." The meeting was also attended by Senator Pervaiz Rashid, Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, Khawaja Mohammad Asif, Minister for Water and Power, Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, Muhammad Zubair, Chairman Privatisation Commission, Abdul Rahim Ziaratwal, Provincial Minister of Balochistan, federal secretaries and senior officials of the government.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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Neelum-Jhelum: government seeks $300 million from China Exim Bank

Pakistan has sought a non-commercial funding of $300 million from China Exim Bank for 969 MW Neelum-Jhelum Hydroelectric Project (NJHEP) as funding gaps are delaying the project which is scheduled to be completed by 2016, well informed sources told Business Recorder. "GoP sent a letter to China Exim Bank a week ago and expressed its preference for a non commercial loan instead of a commercial loan. However, no reply has been received so far," sources added. When contacted Chairman Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda), Zafar Mehmood said that it is for Economic Affairs Division (EAD) to look for the funding source, adding that China appears to be a good option. The sources said, 66 per cent project has been completed with an investment of Rs 122 billion despite the fact that the project has not achieved a financial close. According to sources, Wapda is facing a funding gap of $475 million as of today and EAD is being held responsible for not arranging the funding to complete the project. In reply to a question, the sources said, that though private sector loan is expensive, Chairman Wapda and CEO NJHEP argue that saving a few pennies under a non-commercial loan may increase the cost of the project manifold due to delays which implies savings will be meaningless. According to sources, Government''s top office is extending full co-operation to complete the project on time, but other subordinate offices are creating hurdles. "When financial close has not been achieved, how can the government ask Wapda to complete the project immediately?" the sources asked. "There are gaps in funding which have to be filled. The option to borrow from the private sector is also on the cards," the sources continued. When contacted CEO, NJHEP, Muhammad Zubair, said that tubes have been fixed in the power houses and expressed satisfaction with the progress despite financial constraints. According to initial estimates, half of the cost had to be arranged through a collection of 10 paisa per unit surcharge from power consumers (Rs 57.4 billion) of which Rs 33 billion has been collected. The remaining amount was to be arranged by the federal government. However, with a manifold increase in cost, 10 paisa per unit surcharge collection only met 10 per cent of total expenditure and there were no arrangements for generating the remaining 90 per cent expenditure after Saudi Fund, Kuwait Fund and other institutions backed off. In May this year, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approved Rs 14 billion for the project which was released immediately from the PSDP. However, no funds have been allocated in PSDP for Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project in 2014-15. Around Rs 48 billion were earmarked for 2013-14 for the project out of which Rs 37 billion was spent. This year''s requirement is Rs 72.9 billion but no arrangements have been made so far. Sources further told this correspondent that Pakistan lost its case against India at The Hague-based International Court of Justice (IJC) and three former top officials ie former Secretary Water and Power Ashfaq Mehmood, former Special Secretary Ministry of Water and Power, Riaz Ahmad and Indus Water Commissioner Jamaat Ali Shah were responsible for defeat at the international forum. After the announcement of decision by ICJ, Minister for Water and Power, Khawaja Asif announced that he would take action against those Ministers and bureaucrats who were responsible but so far there has been no action against them. Sources further maintained that recent talks held in Lahore with Indian Indus Water Commission on Kishanganga Hydroelectric Project are an eyewash and waste of time.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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Pakistan's energy sector: China Exim Bank vows to invest billions of dollars

China's Exim Bank has pledged to invest billions of dollars in Pakistan's energy sector, in line with the Chinese government's policy to have maximum economic interaction between the two brotherly countries. In this connection, a framework of credit financing will be signed during the forthcoming visit of the Chinese President to Pakistan, said Lei Wentao, Deputy General Manager of Exim at a press briefing held here on Wednesday. The bank has already provided 800 million dollars to Pakistan as financial support for carrying out its development projects, mainly in energy and transport sectors. Lei said a number of agreements and MoU will be signed during the President's visit to help Pakistan to improve economy. He further said the financial arrangements with Pakistan have been smooth and positive in the past. "Pakistan has very good credit record," he remarked. He further said that Chinese leadership attached great importance to Pakistan and wished actively participation of its socio-economic development. The bank, he added, is willing to provide maximum support to Pakistan for overcoming its electricity shortage. "We are waiting feasibility reports of some projects from Pakistan, so that the financial arrangements could be finalised," he added. He said they are also looking forward to invest heavily in construction of Pak-China economic corridor. To a question, Lei said 90 percent credit of the bank to Pakistan is going to energy sector, hoping Pakistan will soon overcome this problem. He also appreciated the current economic growth in Pakistan and said it is very attractive for the Chinese companies. More and more Chinese companies are now willing to invest in Pakistan.

Copyright Independent News Pakistan, 2014

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Windmill projects: COO Nordex briefs Pakistani ambassador

Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Nordex, Lars Bondo Krogsgaard has briefed Pakistan ambassador in Berlin, Germany Syed Hasan Javed about windmill projects being executed in Pakistan in collaboration with the local partners to augment energy shortfall. The COO Nordex, one of the largest producers of windmills, said that Pakistan has the potential of producing around 50,000 MW of electricity through wind mills, said a message received here Tuesday from Pakistan Embassy in Berlin. Pakistan was an ideal market for investment, Krogsgaard added. Ambassador Syed Hasan Javed said that Nordex should undertake more mill projects in Pakistan as its energy sector offered one of the best investment regimes to the investors.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2014

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Wapda's hydel stations deliver 2236m electricity units in August

The hydel power stations operated by the Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) delivered 2236 million units of electricity to the national grid in August 2014 as compared to 2143 million units generated during the corresponding period last year. This generation registered an increase of 93 million units at a time when the country is in dire need of electricity. It is also pertinent to mention that the average peak share during August 2014 remained 6355MW against average peak share of 6166MW in August 2013, representing an increase of 189MW. This increased generation and average peak sharing is due to enhanced water outflows from the reservoirs by IRSA, and efficient operation and maintenance of hydel power stations. The role being played by hydel electricity in keeping the power tariff at present level can be measured from the fact that according to data for fiscal year 2013-14, per unit generation cost of hydel electricity is merely Rs 1.65 on an average as compared to Rs 7.53 for gas, Rs 11.66 for coal, Rs 18.68 for furnace oil, Rs 28.41 for diesel (HSD), Rs 6.38 for nuclear and Rs 14.55 for wind. The hydel power generation capacity of Wapda stands at about 7000MW - about one third of the total installed capacity in the country. Hydel is the cheapest, cleanest and environment-friendly source of power generation. Wapda is executing a least-cost energy generation plan on priority basis with a view to improving the ratio of hydel electricity in the national grid. The under construction projects are 969MW Neelum-Jhelum, 106MW, Golen Gol, 1410MW Tarbela 4th Extension, 2160MW Dasu Stage-I and 4500MW Diamer Basha Dam. The 7100MW Bunji hydropower project is ready for construction whereas studies for 1320MW Tarbela 5th Extension are being conducted and the project will be taken up simultaneously with Tarbela 4th Extension.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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InfoTech awarded contract to provide complete tech systems to Pesco

InfoTech Group has announced to have successfully won the bid to provide the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) a complete suite of technology systems and solutions, a project that is funded by USAID - under its Power Distribution Programme-administered by International Resources Group (IRG-USA). InfoTech was awarded the contract, following a competitive bidding process, based upon its experience of implementing similar solutions within and outside Pakistan including CIS, Billing and Smart Grid initiatives at SSGC (Sui Southern Gas Company) and KE (Karachi Electric). As part of the project, InfoTech will supply and implement Oracle's Utility Suite for Billing and Customer Care, and seamlessly integrate the same with ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) Suite of Oracle, including Financials, HRMS & Supply Chain. Once implemented these technology solutions will enable PESCO to improve billings, collections, and revenue management, allowing the company to be more service-oriented and focused on customer needs. With the solutions in place, PESCO hopes for substantial reduce technical and non-technical energy losses, including reductions in energy theft and power factor optimisation. Commenting on the occasion, Naseer A Akhtar, President and CEO of InfoTech, said, "Having gained many valuable lessons from the implementation of Smart Grid Technology Platforms with K-Electric (KE) and other customers, InfoTech is now ready to meet the demands of all power distribution companies in Pakistan. The InfoTech's technology solutions will enable the company to improve customer interactions and services, enhance operational and fiscal efficiency, thus allowing the company to be profitable enough for further investments into power distribution sector."-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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PPL announces second discovery in Sindh

In less than six weeks after its last discovery in exploratory well Sharf X-1 in company-operated Gambat South Block on August 5, Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) has announced another gas-condensate discovery from exploratory well Adam West X-1 in Hala Block, District Matiari, Sindh. Hala Block is a joint venture with PPL as operator with 65 percent working interest and the remaining 35 percent stake held by Mari Petroleum Company Limited. Exploration well Adam West X-1 was spud on May 21, 2014 and reached final depth of 4,057 meters on July 29, 2014. Based on wire line logs, potential hydrocarbon-bearing zones were identified, which are currently under testing. Initial testing in the Massive Sand of Lower Goru Formation flowed 18.6 MMscfd of gas along with 31 barrels per day condensate at 32/64" choke, thereby confirming the presence of commercial quantities of natural gas and condensate at Adam West X-1. At current estimates, flow potential of Adam West X-1 translates into approximately 3,200 barrels per day in oil equivalent, resulting in potential foreign exchange saving of USD 355,000 per day. However, the well is being flowed at different choke sizes to measure gas flow, full potential of which will be determined after completion of the test.-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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Byco to invest $250 million to increase refining capacity

Byco is planning to invest some $250 million in the next three years to enhance its refining capacity to 220,000 barrels per day (BPD). Over the years, Byco has invested over $700 million, with around 65 per cent foreign investment, for the development of the oil refining sector in Pakistan. It includes the largest oil refining complex in the country as well as the country's first Single Point Mooring Buoy (SPMB) which is the third port of entry for crude oil in the country. "Despite, millions of dollars investment in the country, Byco is still struggling for a level-playing field", said Derek Alan Lawler CEO Byco Oil Pakistan while talking to Business Recorder. He said that other refineries enjoyed guaranteed returns, infrastructure support, low-priced utilities, including water, power and gas, while Byco itself resourced all these utilities and has also been maintaining 23-km-long access road for the last 10 years," he added. However, the company is seeking a level-playing field to secure its investment in the country, he said, complaining that his company which was not even permitted to build storage at the Keamari Terminal, completed all its projects with less or no support from the government. With the setting up of the Byco oil refining complex, the deficit of High Speed Diesel Oil (HSDO) would reduce drastically by 71 per cent, deficit of Motor Speed (MS) would decline by 68pc and that of furnace oil would reduce by about 27pc. "We are committed to developing the energy sector in Pakistan and leading such development by adopting innovative technology," he added. He said that Byco is currently operating two oil refinery complexes with a cumulative refining capacity of 155,000 BPD. The company has also planned to gradually increase its refining capacity up to 220,000 BPD with an additional investment of $250 million. The expansion is likely to be complete by 2017-2018, he added. He said that the Byco, with a view to handling the oil import through latest technology, has set up a floating crude oil berth, called the `Single Point Mooring' (SPM) in the open sea, about 26 nautical miles by boat from Karachi Port. "The SPM has brought a revolution in the industry wherever in the world it has been installed, and has received instant acceptance world-wide due to its simplicity, easy installation and round-the-year functionality and minimal maintenance expense", he added. He said that the SPM due to its location in the deep sea with 26 meters of draft could easily accommodate a ship of 100,000 tons dead weight. The system is combined with a fluid transfer and a local management system that enables connection of sub-sea pipelines to the oil tanker berthing at the SPM, he said, adding that the mooring system, comprising lines and anchor points, has been specifically designed to match a vessel's requirements and local environmental conditions. Byco established the country's first-ever SPM towards the end of 2012 by importing the first shipment of crude oil. Since then, the SPM is in use by Byco to cater the needs of its two refineries at Mouza Kund in Balochistan's district Hub, he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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Ministry allowed to import LNG for CNG sector

The Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has decided, in principle, to approve a Ministry of Petroleum proposal to import Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) for the CNG sector. The meeting chaired by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar constituted a Committee comprising Secretary Finance, Secretary Petroleum and Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to calculate the fiscal and financial impact of the proposal and bring it in the next ECC meeting. A summary was put up by the Ministry of Textile Industry with respect to priority in gas and electricity load management; upon which the ECC directed Secretary Textile Industry and Secretary Petroleum to discuss the issue mutually and decide further details, subject to the availability of gas for the export-oriented sector. The ECC asked the Ministry of Petroleum to submit a summary for Liquefied Petroleum Gas Production and Distribution Policy 2014 to the Council of Common Interest (CCI), which is the right forum under Article 154 for taking a decision. Dar also advised all the representatives of Ministries to discuss all the proposals with the purpose to settle their differences before mooting a proposal for ECC approval. The ECC was informed that year on year inflation (CPI) was recorded at 7% in August 2014, wholesale Price Index (WPI) at 3.3%, whereas Sensitive Price Index was 5.2% as per figures provided by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. The ECC was further informed that worker'' remittances during the month of July-August 2014-15 were $2.97 billion as compared to $2.64 billion in the same period last year, reflecting an increase of 12.5%. Revenue collection by FBR during July and August 2014 was Rs.319 billion, a 14.33% increase from the corresponding period of last year. Large scale manufacturing (LSM) recorded a growth of 4.6% in August 2014 as compared to the same month of last year. The ECC was also informed that the prices of onion, potato, petrol - kerosene oil, garlic, high speed diesel, pulse moong, pulse masoor, vegetable ghee, wheat, tomato and red chili powder have decreased in the month of August. The prices of rice basmati broken, Irri-6, Nido, mustard oil, cooking oil, tin, vegetable ghee tin, salt powder loose and pulse mash remained unchanged during August. The ECC was also informed that the country has enough stocks of wheat (6.916 million tones) and sugar (2.088 million tones) as per the latest figures of September 2014. It was also informed that the country has been producing 15,207 MW of electricity as per the figures of July 2014. The stock exchange has registered 42.9% growth in rupee terms and 37.8% growth in US dollar terms since May 2013, according to the figures provided by KSE. The meeting was also attended by Senator Pervaiz Rashid, Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, Khawaja Mohammad Asif, Minister for Water and Power, Zahid Hamid, Minister for Science and Technology, Khurram Dastagir Khan, Minister for Commerce, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Abbas Khan Afridi, Minister for Textile Industry, Anusha Rehman Khan, Minister of State for IT and Telecom, Muhammad Zubair, Chairman Privatisation Commission, Miftah Ismail, Chairman BoI, federal secretaries and other senior government officials.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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Two Australian ships carrying 55,000 MT of coal arrive

Two ships namely D L Dahlia and Ever Mighty from Australia carrying 55,000 MT of coal (each) have arrived at Pakistan Steel Jetty, Port Muhammad Bin Qasim, Karachi on September 5 and 6, 2014. With the arrival of latest ships the total quantity of raw materials stock has increased to 158,000 MT coal and 52,000 MT of Iron ore (Lump/Fine). Pakistan Steel Management is confident that with the arrival of the latest ships the production and capacity utilisation will further increase helping to achieve the targets set by Government of Pakistan. It is pertinent to mention here that the current average capacity production utilisation is 25 percent in September 2014. PSM workers and staff are working hard for the revival of this national asset under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Major General Zaheer Ahmed Khan (Retd). Furthermore, the arrived raw material will help in increasing the production level and ultimately upto 77 percent by January 2015. However, the timely release of financial facilities will be of pivotal importance. PSM Management thanked the Government of Pakistan, especially Ministry of Industries and Production, Privatisation Commission, Ministry of Finance, related organisation and forms for their positive role in the revival of Steel Mills. On the occasion CEO and Management of Pakistan Steel congratulated the employees with whose efforts and prayers the much awaited revival of PSM has begun. It is further informed that one more ship carrying 55,000 MT Iron ore (Fine/Lump) from Mauritania will arrive in the third week of current month. In addition to that another ship of 55,000 MTN Iron ore will reach in October 2014 from Mauritania.-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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Chinese team visits Petroleum Institute of Pakistan

The annual meeting of the International Gas Union (IGU) is scheduled to be held in October in Berlin, China's Beijing Gas Group's Director Wang Yi said here on Thursday during his visit to Petroleum Institute of Pakistan. Wang Li, who is also member of working committee for IGU presidency election, said that at IGU meetings to be hosted by the IGU's German Charter Member will he convened from October 14 to 17. Manager and Deputy Manager of China Gas Association, Zhao Mei and Jin Lei, respectively, were also present on the occasion. "The People's Republic of China is also applying for the Presidency of the International Gas Union 2018- 2021, and for the organisation of the 28th World Gas Conference-2021 in Beijing", he added. In this regard, China has established an IGU 2018-2021 Presidency Campaign Working Committee, led by Ms Li Yalan, China's IGU 2018-2021 Presidential Candidate. Ms Li is presently serving as Chairman of the Board of Beijing Gas Group. He said that on behalf of Ms Li Yalan, the Chinese delegation has visited Petroleum Institute of Pakistan office to introduce their candidate and to inform that how the IGU could develop to serve us in the future. He said that Ms Li Yalan, who is the vice chairman of the China Gas Society, China Gas Association and Chairman of the Board of the Beijing Gas Group, is the candidate for president 2018-2021. If elected, she would be the first woman in the history to serve the IGU family as president. Her leadership experience in the government and enterprises has made her professional in engineering technology and she possessed rich experience in company management, he added. Besides, Mr Zhang Guobao is the candidate for Chair of the National Organisation Committee, 2018-2021. He is former director national energy administration and Chairman of the China Overseas Development Association. During his tenure as the director of national energy administration, he devoted his energies to accelerate and transform the energy development mode and energy structure adjustment. Dr Che Lixin is the candidate for Chair of the Co-ordination Committee, 2018-2021. China will continue to promote the role of gas in the sustainable development of world economy, he said, adding that the country will carry out IGU tradition, and enhance its prominence in the world gas industry. Beijing which had successfully hosted the 2008 Olympic Games and Apec summit has world-class, modem facilities and venues for hosting international conference, he added. He said that their goal for the IGU is to raise its status and enhance its voice in the international energy affairs.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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