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News Headlines for the month of
JANUARY 2015

Augmentation work of auto transformer

A 250 MVA Auto Transformer is being augmented with 160 MVA Auto Transformer at 220 KVA NTDCL Burhan Grid Station. The augmentation work of Auto Transformer will be start on January 31, to February 24, 2015 from 8:30 hrs to 14:00 hrs. During the installation of Auto Transformer additional load management will be carried out according to requirement at 132 KV Grid Stations New Wah, Faqirabad, Gondal, Attock, Sanjwal and Taxila of Attock circle. -PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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Energy projects: Shahbaz reviews progress

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has reviewed in detail the progress on various energy projects here on Friday. Special Assistant Azamul Haq, Chairman Punjab Power Development Company, Chairman Planning & Development, Additional Chief Secretary Energy, MD NESPAK, Secretary Irrigation, MD SNGPL and other concerned officials were also present. Shahbaz while addressing the meeting has said that elimination of energy crisis is vital for rapid development of the country and keeping the wheel of industry moving. He said that the government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is taking serious steps to resolve energy crisis at the earliest. He said that shortage of energy has badly affected education, health, agriculture and other social sectors. The CM expressed the hope that sincere efforts of the government to resolve energy crisis will bear fruit and the country will be rid of shortage of energy problem soon. He said that Punjab government has made planning for setting up LNG Park in the province through which 1000 megawatt electricity will be generated. Shahbaz further said that Punjab government is working on projects of generating energy through coal, hydel, solar, bio-mass, bio-gas and other alternative sources. He said that 100 megawatt solar power project is at the final stages at Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park Bahawalpur and Punjab government is executing this project through its own resources. He said that speedy and transparent completion of development projects is policy of Punjab government and it is working on energy projects under the same strategy. Shahbaz said that early completion of energy projects is priority of the government. He said that LNG is being imported for overcoming energy shortage. He directed all concerned institutions and departments to work in a co-ordinated manner for ensuring early completion of various projects.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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Foreign loans for power projects: MoF in favour of rationalising relending rates

Finance Ministry has argued in favor of rationalizing relending rates of foreign loans especially for power sector projects in view of their relevance to electricity tariff. Sources told Business Recorder that the issue of rationalization of relending policy surfaced after Economic Affairs Division (EAD) conveyed to the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) the terms of relending of buyer credit loan Agreement of $150 million at 17 percent interest rate. The PAEC reportedly argued that buyer credit loan agreement of $150 million was signed between EXIM Bank of China and Ministry of Finance and Economic Affair Division for the construction of Chashma Nuclear Power Plant-2 on March 2005 at an interest rate of 3 percent for a period of 20 years, including 7-year grace period. Chashma -2 started selling electricity to Central Power Purchasing Authority and PEPCO with effect from 18-5-2011 at a tariff approved by National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA). One year after the commercial operation date of Chashma Nuclear Plant-2 when the PAEC got the tariff approved from Nepra and repaid the first installment of loan to the EXIM Bank, EAD conveyed its approval for relending the buyer credit at 17 percent interest. Given this background, Finance Division argued in favor of the need to rationalize relending rates for power sector due to their impact on the tariff. Finance Division further argued that it considers the rationalization of policy, the preferred alternative to granting waivers on a case-to-case basis. Finance Division also proposed that if a deviation from the relending policy selected may be considered provided a rate converting the actual cost of the loan, inclusive of all loan charges, and exchange rate risk. The PAEC may move a summary to the Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) for the Cabinet approval if this option is selected. The PAEC stated that it was not possible for it to repay the loan at 17 percent because the tariff approved by Nepra was based on a 3 percent interest rate and the actual exchange rate. The ECC was informed that the Prime Minister has approved the summary for modification in the relending rate after considering the arguments of Finance Division and EAD. Based on the above approval, the revised rates come to 9 percent comprising the actual cost of loan (3 percent interest rate as per China Exim Bank and 6 percent exchange rate risk) as per relending policy on 1997. Loan charges were not included as it was argued that these had been paid by the PAEC. Subsequently, ECC granted approval for relending of credit loan at 9 percent instead of 17 percent; it was conveyed to the PAEC by EAD.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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700 megawatts projects: K-E signs accord with China’s CMEC

In order to overcome the growing demand of electricity in the metropolis, KE has signed an accord with one of the biggest Engineering and construction companies in China, called China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), which specializes in construction of power projects in Generation, Transmission and Distribution. On-board this Joint Development Agreement (JDA) is China Datang Overseas Investment Company (CDTO), which will also help in this joint project, where coal-fired power projects of 700MW would be set up, thus boosting KE''s generation capacity. As per the details laid out in KE''s press statement, power plant would be set up at Port Qasim at the cost of USD 1 Billion. This project is a major initiative highlighting KE''s vision to diversify its energy fuel-mix toward cheap sources of energy. This project will help overcome the ever rising electricity demand of the port city of Pakistan and will create massive employment opportunities. With over 100,000 employees, China Datang Corporation is among the top Fortune 500 listed companies. The President of CDTO along with the top management of CMEC and KE were present at this auspicious occasion. This project would lead to cost-savings which would be provided to the end consumer. KE''s CEO Tayyab Tareen said, "This initiative is in line with KE''s vision of Karachi being a net exporter of power in the years ahead. KE may greatly benefit from both CDTO and CMEC''s expertise in coal power and are ready to work at a very fast pace. This project will also contribute to KE''s fuel diversification strategy and marks a significant step towards a new era of cheap base load power in Pakistan". The President of CDTO, Duan Zhongmin, also spoke on the occasion saying, "We are fully committed to co-operating with KE and CMEC to successfully execute this Port Qasim project which shall go a long way to meet the energy needs of the people of Pakistan". Fang Yanshui, the Divisional Manager of CMEC added by saying, "We at CMEC are strongly committed to devoting ourselves to the social and economic development of Karachi by putting up a coal fired power plant in Port Qasim. We are extremely optimistic that this project will reach a speedy execution by having strong partners like KE and CDTO."-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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Government schools to be put on to solar energy system

Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif presided over a high-level meeting here Sunday which gave approval to converting government schools to solar energy under off-grid solar solution programme. Addressing the meeting, the Chief Minister said that more than four thousand primary schools of rural areas of Punjab will be converted to solar energy in the first phase and a programme has been evolved to install solar panels in primary schools. He said that solar panels will ensure uninterrupted supply of electricity to primary schools. Shahbaz Sharif directed that in the first phase, immediate measures be taken for converting primary schools to solar energy while comprehensive planning should also be made for introducing off-grid solar solution in other schools as well under a phased programme. He directed that medium and long term planning be made for this purpose. He said that a practicable programme should also be devised for provision of solar home solution to low-income families. Moreover, he said, a practicable project should be presented to him for converting basic health centers and agri tube-wells to solar power. The Chief Minister directed that a pilot project be evolved for the provision of electricity to rural areas from biogas and solar energy and a financial model be developed for generation of energy from biogas and solar power. He directed that Agriculture and Livestock departments should take joint measures for launching a pilot project by selecting a village at union council level and prospects of introducing this model in Thal should also be considered. He said that proposals be submitted for evolving a programme for taking steps especially with regard to drip irrigation. The Chief Minister issued instructions for setting up a committee for evolving final recommendations regarding off-grid solar solution and directed that the committee comprising secretaries of concerned departments as well as experts of financial, technical, micro finance, and Bank of Punjab should present recommendations to him within ten days.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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Gulpur Hydropower Project: IFC/World Bank approves financing

The IFC/World Bank Board has accorded approval for financing the 108 MW Gulpur Hydropower Project to be located at Poonch River, District Kotli, AJK. A high-level delegation of the IFC/World Bank here on Friday met the Finance Minister Ishaq Dar having in depth exchange of views on various WB sponsored development projects. Finance Minister lauded the WB Board's decision regarding the Gulpur Power project which he said was part of government's efforts to generate affordable energy to meet the future requirements. He appreciated WB's continued support for different projects specially the 4,200 mw Dassu Hydropower Project which he said would greatly help alleviate the energy problem. The Minister further said that as Pakistan had become eligible for IBRD economic package after achieving the 15 billion dollar forex reserves mark, there would be further expansion in WB's project funding in Pakistan. Another World Bank team earlier had a meeting with senior officials of the Finance Ministry Friday morning. During the meeting the performance of the National Income Support Programme was discussed. The delegation expressed satisfaction on the improved NISP performance saying fiscal discipline enforced by the present government had led to the improved functioning of NISP. The delegation hoped that with increased funding NISP would better reach out to poor segment of the population.-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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Pakistan-IAEA cooperation in 'Safeguards' domain discussed

Tero Varjoranta, Deputy Director General (Safeguards) of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) called on the Foreign Secretary here on Monday during which various issues of mutual interest encompassing Pakistan-IAEA co-operation especially in the 'Safeguards' domain were discussed. Sharing an overview of safety and security of Pakistan's nuclear programme with the visiting dignitary, the Foreign Secretary mentioned that Pakistan attached the highest priority to the safety and security of its nuclear programme. He highlighted Pakistan's unblemished record of nuclear safety. The Deputy DG appreciated Pakistan-IAEA co-operation and conveyed the Agency's satisfaction at implementation of safeguard measures by Pakistan. The Deputy DG praised Pakistan's active and positive role at the IAEA. Pakistan has been actively contributing to the Agency's work as member of the IAEA Board of Governors on numerous occasions. Pakistan is also among the leading recipients of IAEA's technical assistance. Chairman, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) also attended the meeting.-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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Energy crisis: German Group team meets Punjab chief minister

A high-level delegation of the prominent German Group led by its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr George Pachta called on Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. Co-operation in technology of generating energy through LNG and energy projects was discussed during the meeting. Speaking on the occasion, Shahbaz Sharif said the government is taking all possible steps for overcoming energy crisis. He said that special incentives are being given to the investors making investment in energy sector. He said that besides traditional sources, the Punjab government is also endeavouring for generating energy through alternate sources and establishing 100 megawatt solar project at Quaid-i-Azam Solar Park through its own resources which is at the final stages of completion. The Chief Minister said that this 100 megawatt project is the first solar project in the history of the country which will soon start generating energy. He said that planning is also being made for generating energy through LNG and steps are being taken for setting up projects of generating 1000 megawatt energy through LNG. The German delegation included Dr Arand Hermann, German Charge d' Affaires Peter Felton and other officials of the German Embassy besides prominent industrialist Aamir H Sherazi and others. Additional Chief Secretary Energy, Chairman Punjab Power Development Company Chaudhry Arif Saeed, Chief Executive Officer Quaid-i-Azam Solar Park and Secretary Minerals were also present on the occasion.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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Shell launches research on urbanization and energy usage

Shell launched a research supplement in Lahore on how cities across the world grow and consume energy after an extensive study of over 500 urban centres. The publication, New Lenses on Future Cities, produced in collaboration with the Singapore Centre for Liveable Cities and using research from global consultants Booz & Company, surveyed a diverse mix of urban centres, and groups cities into six illustrative archetypes indicating where energy use is most concentrated and where future urbanization is set to take place. It also identifies potential development pathways that help to give cities 'room to maneuver' in how they use resources and promote economic development whilst keeping the city livable. "Pakistan is projected to urbanize at a rapid rate over the next decade, with our urban and rural populations set to equalize in 2030. This growth will come with a number of challenges but also opportunities, and it's imperative that concrete urban planning and design steps are taken to ensure a prosperous future for Pakistani communities.-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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Dasu Hydropower Project: 16 local banks participate in road show

Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) held a road show in Karachi to appraise the local banks about investment potential of Dasu Hydropower Project with a view to seeking their collaboration for funding of the project. The heads of investment of as many as 16 leading local banks participated in the road show. WAPDA team headed by its Member (Finance) and Member (Water) introduced the project with emphasis on possible modalities of investment in the project. It highlighted the vast lucrative investment opportunities in the project. It was informed that WAPDA was seeking an investment of around US $1 billion from the local banks that may take benefit of the opportunity by constituting their consortium to invest in the project through workable instrument. The participants were told that World Bank has provided $588 million for Dasu Hydropower Project as first trench and will provide $533 million as second trench. In addition, World Bank will also help raise $920 million from the international and local market by offering its guarantee. The local banks, showing their keen interest, appreciated the WAPDA''s initiative. They said that the banks would thoroughly examine the various proposals presented in the road show and respond accordingly. It is pertinent to mention here that Dasu Hydropower Project is a run of river project at the Indus River located seven kilometres upstream of Dasu Town in District Kohistan of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK). The total installed capacity of the project is 4320 MW and it will be constructed in two stages of 2160 MW each. The Stage-I of the project, to be completed in a period of five years, will contribute 12 billion units of low-cost and environment-friendly hydel electricity to the national grid per annum.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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Wapda chief for timely completion of Tarbela's fourth Extension Project

The Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) Chairman Zafar Mahmood has directed the project authorities to ensure timely completion of the under construction 1410 MW-Tarbela 4th Extension Hydropower Project. He made these remarks during his visit to the project here on Tuesday. Project Director, Tarbela 4th Extension Hydropower Project and representatives of the consultants and contractors were also present on the occasion. While speaking on the occasion, Wapda chairman said that Tarbela 4th Extension Hydropower Project is of vital importance in view of the increasing demand of electricity in the country. The project, on completion, will not only help mitigate power shortage but also reduce electricity tariff and provide relief to the consumers through induction of low-cost hydel electricity in the national grid, he added. He asked the project authorities to accelerate pace of construction work on the project. However, acceleration should not compromise the prescribed quality standards, he mentioned. The general manager and consultants of the project briefed the Wapda chairman about the overall progress on the project. It was told that the project has been scheduled to be completed by the year 2016. The World Bank is providing US 840 million dollars for the project. The Wapda chairman was briefed that with the completion of this project, the generation capacity of Tarbela Hydel Power Station will increase from existing 3478 MW to 4888 MW after installation of three units of 1410 MW on Tunnel No 4. Tarbela 4th Extension Hydropower Project will add about 3.8 billion units of low-cost electricity to the national grid. The annual benefits of the project have been estimated at more than Rs 30 billion and it will pay back its entire cost in just three years. During his visit, Wapda chairman witnessed intake works on Tunnel 3 and 4 of Tarbela Dam, and took a round of powerhouse site of Tarbela 4th Extension Hydropower Project.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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MSM commissions 5 megawatts power plant

The Mehran Sugar Mills (MSM) has commissioned its 5.0 megawatts power plant to supply surplus electricity to the Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco), the company said on Tuesday. The MSM, in a notice to Karachi Stock Exchange, said the "baggasse-based co-generation" power plant had been supplying power to Hesco from January 12 of this month. "This is in line with our policy to supply electricity to national grid with increased capacity in future," said the company notice.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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Iran agrees to supply 2000MW of electricity to Balochistan

Iran has agreed to supply two thousand megawatts electricity to Balochistan. This was announced by Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik and Governor Sistan-Balochistan Aqai Ali Osat Hashmi while addressing a joint news conference in Quetta, here on Sunday. Dr Abdul Malik said that one thousand MW electricity each would be for Gwadar and rest of the province. He said Pakistan wanted to implement Pak-Iran gas pipeline project as soon as possible. The Chief Minister invited Iranian investors to invest in Pakistan''s fisheries, industry, and mining sectors. He said border committees of Pakistan and Iran would meet on 27th and 28th of this month to discuss ways to prevent border incidents. Governor Sistan-Balochistan said Iran accords much importance to its relations with Pakistan. To a question, Hashmi said some mischievous elements wanted to create disturbances on the border to harm Pakistan-Iran relations.

Copyright News Network International, 2015

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Bahrain's investment sought for energy sector

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Thursday said that Pakistan was looking forward to early establishment of Pakistan Energy Fund to help overcome its acute energy shortage and invited Bahrain's investors for joint ventures in energy sector. In a meeting with Bahrain's Energy Minister Abdul Hussain Bin Ali Mirza here, the Prime Minister invited him to bring a delegation to Pakistan and explore possibilities of joint ventures in the energy sector. He said that Pakistan was an attractive destination for foreign investors because of its liberal policy and high rate of return. Chief Executive of Nogaholding company, Mohammad K Al-Khalifa also attended the meeting along with senior officials of the company. The company is an investment and business development arm of National Oil and Gas Authority (NOGA) of Bahrain and plays a key role in the implementation of NOGA strategies.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2015

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Up to 2,000MW to be added to national grid by May: National Assembly informed

Minister of State for Water and Power, Abid Sher Ali has informed the lower house of the parliament Wednesday that 1,500 to 2,000 MW would be added to the national gird by May this year. During question hour, Abid said Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government is installing coal, hydel, gas, wind and solar power projects to increase electricity generation and reduce its per unit cost. He said the government would try its best to end load-shedding by 2018. He said the government has chalked out a National Power System Expansion Plan envisaging elimination of load-shedding by 2017-18. He said there was 18-hour load-shedding when the present government took over, but presently urban areas are facing 6-7 hours and rural areas 8-9 hours load-shedding daily with the addition of 1,800 MW to the national grid last year. Responding to a supplementary question, the minister said steps are being taken to permanently eliminate the circular-debt. Minister of State for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar also informed the House that Federal Health Commission would be set up during next two months in the capital to regulate health-related issues. Answering a question, he said a big unlicensed company situated at Gadoon Amazai in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa involved in manufacturing of spurious drugs has been sealed and the accused have been arrested. She said culprits have also been caught from Punjab and Sindh who are involved in this dreadful trade. Answering another question, she said Pakistan has made significant progress in ending polio virus transmission. She said that Pakistan presents as one of the most complex polio eradication environment in the world. Out of total 295 cases reported this year; more than 80 percent belonged to inaccessible and security compromised areas, she said. The minister said that an amount of Rs 5.32 billion was utilised for polio eradication out of the allocation made available in the last two PC-1s of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) covering the period of 2004-05 to 2011-12. She said subsequent to declaration of public health emergency, the government has approved the dedicated PC-1 for polio eradication at a total cost of Rs 32.6 billion, from July 2012 to December 2015 including its own contribution of Rs 25.1 billion as loan obtained from the Islamic Development Bank ($227 million) and World Bank ($24 million). Replying to a question, Parliamentary Secretary for National Food Security and Research, Rajab Ali Baloch told the House that the government is in touch with millers to sort out issues regarding low prices of sugar in the international market. Minister of State for Religious Affairs, Pir Aminul Hasnat said an Umrah policy would soon be announced to facilitate those who intend to proceed to the holy land for this purpose.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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'Punjab government distributes solar lamps among 200,000 students last year'

Punjab Finance Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman has said that the Punjab government distributed solar lamps among the 200,000 students last year with a cost of Rs 2.5 billion under Ujala Programme so that loadshedding could not disrupt their study. He stated this while talking to various delegations of youth here on Wednesday. The Minister said during current fiscal year laptops and solar lamps are being distributed among students on merit under a transparent system.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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K-2 and K-3 nuke power plants: Dar discusses mechanism for financial management

Finance Minister, Ishaq Dar, here on Wednesday presided over a meeting deliberating on mechanism for financial management of K-2 and K-3 nuclear power plants. The meeting attended by PAEC, SPD, SECP and senior officials of the Finance Division and EAD considered mechanism for handling financial matters/utilization of funding for two plants in a completely foolproof and transparent manner. The meeting was informed that the two plants will generate 2200MW of power helping to alleviate the problem of energy shortage. The Exim Bank of China, it may be added, is providing funding for K-2 and K-3 being established along the Karachi coast.-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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Government to pull solar energy into national power grid

Amid a worsening energy crisis, Pakistan has approved the use of grid-connected solar energy, rooftop solar installations and mortgage financing for home solar panels to boost uptake of clean energy in the country. The government has also reversed course and eliminated a 32.5 percent tax imposed on imported solar equipment in the country's 2014-2015 budget. The reversal aims to bring down the cost of installing solar panels. The approval of net-metering - which allows solar panel purchasers to sell power they produce to the national grid - is a major breakthrough that could spur use of solar energy and help government cut power shortages in the long run, said Asjad Imtiaz Ali, chief executive officer of the Alternative Energy Development Board, a public organization. "The initiative will help scale up demand for solar energy across Pakistan," he said, "and we hope the increased demand will also result in sufficient decreases in the price of solar equipment." Ali said the government decided to cut newly imposed taxes on the import of solar panels following pressure from business owners, the public and media. And the decision to allow solar generators to sell their excess generating capacity means "consumers can now install rooftop solar systems and sell the extra energy to the national grid," he said. Currently, rural areas face blackouts of over 11 hours a day while urban areas suffer up to eight hours of daily power cuts. The total power shortfall stands around 6,000 megawatts. Safeer Hussain, a registrar at the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority, said consumers who intend to sell solar-generated electric power to a distribution company would need to register with his authority. "Net-metering is a sophisticated system and the applicant would be responsible for the installation of the equipment used for interconnection," he said. HOW IT WORKS Net-metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the national grid. If a solar household uses more grid power than it supplies to the grid from its solar panels, it would still be billed each month for that excess power. But if it supplies more electricity than it uses in a month, then it will receive a credit against future bills or, be paid for the power on an annual basis, Hussain said. "The tariff applicable for purchase of electricity from the consumer will be the same at which he has been billed by the company for electric power," he said. Nauman Khan, one panel importer and chief executive officer of Grace Solar Pakistan, said the changes could triple his solar imports in 2015. Private sector imported 350 megawatts of solar panels in 2013 but that dropped to 128 megawatts in 2014 after the government imposed taxes on import of the panels, he said. "The tax exemptions and other initiatives to boost clean energy are a welcome move by the government," he said. "We hope the private sector would import around 800 megawatts of solar panels in 2015 to meet the demand." Net-metering will not only help consumers get uninterrupted power and energy credits through the year but also help the government bridge its power shortfall, he said. Khan and the heads of two other solar companies plan to install rooftop solar on 100,000 homes in Lahore, Karachi, Rawalpindi and Islamabad in next two to three years, with Bank Alfalah Limited, a private bank, offering financing to buyers.

Copyright Reuters, 2015

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Zardari inaugurates work on two hydro projects near Sukkur

Former President and co-chairman Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari on Monday inaugurated work on two hydro power projects to be constructed on Nara and Rohri canals at a cost of 84 million dollars near Sukkur. The PPP Co-chairman accompanied by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari inaugurated work on the two hydro power projects. One of the projects would be constructed on Nara Canal while the other on Rohri Canal near Sukkur. Zardari said that Nara Hydro Power Project to be constructed at RD-26 of Nara Canal at a cost of 47.6 million dollars. It would generate 15 MW electricity. Talking about Rohri Hydro Power Project, he said that it would be built at RD-15 of Rohri Canal. Its capacity in the peak season will be 9 MW and its construction cost would come to 36.4 million dollars. Former President Asif Ali Zardari appreciated the Sindh government's efforts for following the guidelines of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto for investing in power generation. "Once these projects become operational it would create great impact on local economy," he said. Moreover, Asif Ali Zardari said that another mega project of 40MW hydro power project will also be installed at Guddu barrage. Talking about Sukkur Barrage the PPP co-chairman said that without changing its structure, a rehabilitation study of the barrage would be conducted. "This barrage is an state-of-the-art. It has revolutionised the economy of the province. Therefore, it would be protected and strengthened," he vowed. He directed that these two projects should be completed within the stipulated time of two and a half years. Earlier, consultant of the hydro power projects Khursheed Ahmed Jamali briefed the president regarding the projects.

Copyright Independent News Pakistan, 2015

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2,600 megawatts may be added to system by April: Khaqan

Ministry for Petroleum has reportedly said that around 2,600MW electricity is expected to be added to the system by April 15, 2015 through allocation of gas and on-site power projects. Sources quoted Minister for Petroleum Shahid Khaqan Abbassi as claiming that 300MW would be added to the system through 325MMCFD RLNG allocations, and 1,000MW by on-site power on raw gas as well as 1,300MW through short-term power LNG/DOM. A meeting of sub-committee constituted by the Prime Minister under the chairmanship of Finance Minister was held on Friday to finalise recommendations for submission to the Prime Minister at the next meeting of Cabinet Committee on Energy. An official of Finance Ministry who attended the meeting, said that the meeting was informed that all available additional gas and new discovered gas would he provided to the power sector. Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif also briefed the meeting on current demand and supply of electricity and a future scenario in the light of existing power generation in the country. The meeting held at Finance Ministry reviewed the salient features of short- and long-term plans of the Ministry of Water and Power for meeting energy shortage countrywide, in line with the instructions of the Prime Minister. The meeting held deliberations on the proposed two-pronged short-term policy which envisages as an immediate measure generation of 1,000MW electricity based on well-head gas in areas under Hesco and Sepco. Secondly, there is a plan for another 1,000MW power generation package, also under Hesco and Sepco based on local gas supply. Bids for these projects have already been invited till 15th of January. The meeting was informed that as long-term policy LNG based power plants of 3,600MW capacity would be set up till 2017 at Haveli Bahadur Jang, Balloki and Bhakki near Shahdara, Lahore. Altogether, the short- and long-term measures would add up to 5,600MW of electricity to the national grid. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar reportedly stated that along with power generation, proper transmission facilities should also be ensured - a foremost requirement for success of both short- and long-term measures, he added. The minister directed re-convening of the sub-committee on Monday to finalize its deliberations and formulation of recommendations for submission to the Prime Minister at the next meeting of Cabinet Committee on Energy. It may be added that apart from these two short- and long-term projects, there are also a number of coal, wind and solar based energy projects which are to be undertaken as part of the China-Pakistan Energy Corridor. Senior officials from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministries of W&P, P&NR and Finance attended yesterday’s meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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National Management College delegation visits NTDCL

National Transmission and Despatch Company Limited (NTDCL) has commissioned One 500 kV grid station and eight 220 kV grid stations along with hundreds of kilometres transmission line during last six months across the country. The addition of new capacities will strengthen transmission network, voltage profile and reduce line losses. This was stated by Managing Director NTDCL Engr Tahir Mahmood during his briefing to a 15-member delegation of National Management College, here at WAPDA House on Wednesday. Delegation comprising senior officers of the Federal and Provincial Civil Services was led by Noor Salam Shah. Tahir Mahmood gave comprehensive briefing on power sector as well as roles and functions of NTDCL and elaborated its four major functions comprising of Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA), System Operator, Transmission Network Operator and Contract Registrar and Power Exchange Administrator which has yet to be operational. He informed that NTDCL acts as backbone of power sector, which maintains thirteen 500 kV grid stations, Thirty Five 220 kV Grid Stations with 5183 km of 500 kV transmission lines and 9104 km of 220 kV transmission lines throughout Pakistan. Dilating upon the upcoming projects, he said that work on Neelum Jhelum transmission line is being done on fast track and will be completed before the commissioning of hydro power plant. On the other hand the transmission lines and substations are being constructed to evacuate power from hydel, wind, solar, nuclear and coal power projects. He also informed that a comprehensive National Power System Expansion Plan (NPSEP - 2030) has also been chalked out to mitigate the prevailing energy crisis of future energy needs in the wider interest of the country, which is also being updated through JICA-aided consultants. While responding to the questions of the participants, Engr. Tahir Mahmood said that NTDCL is capable of evacuating/transmitting the present power generation in the country and also provided two alternate sources of power supply to Balochistan through Khuzdar and Loralai Grid Stations. While talking about sabotage activities and terrorist attacks on NTDCL installations/pylons, he said that the engineers and officials have laid down their lives in the line of duty. Later, souvenirs were exchanged between MD NTDC Engr Tahir Mahmood and Group co-ordinator Noor Salam Shah. General Manager Planning Power R.S Rehan, General Manager CPPA Muhammad Arshad Chaudhry, Finance Director Hammad Ahmad, DG HR Muhammad Gulzar Sheikh and other official were also present on the occasion.-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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Punjab to have LNG Power Park

LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Tuesday said the government had decided to set up an LNG Power Park, which would produce 1,000 MW of electricity. Presiding over a meeting, which reviewed the project of production of 1,000MW electricity from LNG and Taunsa Hydro Power Project, he said the project would be completed soon. He directed authorities concerned to complete feasibility report at the earliest with best coordination among all relevant institutions for speedy implementation of the project.

Published in Dawn January 21st , 2015

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First shipment of LNG to arrive on March 31: Khaqan

Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said that the first shipment of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) will reach here on March 31, 2015 and the construction of Iran Pakistan (IP) Gas Pipeline Project is under way which will be completed by the end 2016 or start of 2017. Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday the minister ruled out any petrol crisis in future. He said arrangements have been made keeping in view expected reduction in oil prices next month and rising demand of petrol. He said petrol consumption in the country since January 2014 has increased from 9,000 tons per day to 15,000 tons in January 2015 and for February the government has projected an estimated demand of petrol at 19,000 tons daily. He said during ongoing month petrol consumption was recorded at 450,000 tons and for next month it is estimated to touch 540,000 tons per month due to expected reduction in the prices. Diesel consumption during past one year has also increased by 12 percent and to meet the future requirements the government is taking all necessary steps. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said petrol crisis was overcome by taking effective measures and the first LNG shipment will reach here on March 31, which will be provided to power generation plants. Abbasi said that Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is an important part of the country''s energy mix which will be promoted. We will not allow any crisis to damage the world''s number one industry and efforts were underway to revive it, he said. To a question, he said sufficient stock of diesel and furnace oil has also been ensured. The Minister said CNG sector has been allowed to import LNG and the government will transport it to provide CNG and alternate fuel to consumers. He said pressure on petrol will be reduced with the availability of CNG and people will get relief. He said additional CNG will be available soon. He said petrol consumption was increasing with each passing day due to reduction in prices and selling of 40,000 bikes per month adding that last year around 500,000 motorbikes were sold in the country. It is natural that you should import gas from that country, gas is a cheap fuel, clean fuel, it can easily be transported, and Pakistan is a very old gas country, we have extensive gas network, even villages have gas, industries are on gas, fertilisers plants are on gas, so we need gas, what I am saying is, in future I see not just one pipeline but I see three or more pipelines from Iran," Abbasi said. "So we went through different ways to develop the project and what we did was that we have signed an understanding with the Chinese company and this is part of the Gwadar project also, we will build an LNG terminal at Gwadar and 700 KM pipeline would be built from Gwadar to Nawabshah, about 70 kilometres to be constructed to reach Iran border." The minister said the government has taken provision of environment-friendly and economical fuel to masses as a challenge, adding that import of LNG will begin from March after which no CNG station would face closure. Abbasi said the price of CNG would be deregulated. It would be linked to crude oil and its price would be 30 percent cheaper as compared to petrol. The move will have a positive impact on the budget of masses, environment, oil import bill and job market, he added. He said revival of CNG would help establish an alternative fuel system which will not be affected by petrol scarcity or vitality of market, hence providing relief to masses. The minister lauded the CNG sector for taking initiative to import LNG to overcome crisis, ensuring that the government is fully co-operating in this regard. "We have offered fiscal incentives for import of LNG so that once vibrant sector can again flourish," he stressed. He asked other industrial groups to follow the footsteps of CNG sector to settle their energy problems offering all-out support. Speaking on the occasion, Ghiyas Paracha lauded the government support for import of LNG for CNG sector terming it the beginning of the end of energy crisis in Pakistan. He said the import of LNG will have a positive impact on all the people and every sector of the country.

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Long-term LNG contract with Qatar likely

Pakistan is likely to strike a long-term Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) supply contract with Qatar at an estimated price based on current commodity rates in international market in the range of $8 to $10 per mmbtu, it is learnt. According to sources privy to the development, Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi who has just returned from a visit to Qatar has summoned a high-level meeting of relevant stakeholders of the LNG project on January 26 (Monday) to discuss the terms and conditions of the final agreement with Qatar. Sources said during his recent visit, Qatar had assured Pakistan of supplying sustainable LNG for 15 years at 13.5 percent of Brent and Pakistan presented two drafts of agreements - one long-tem and the other medium-term. During the visit, the two countries discussed Sales Purchase Agreement (SPA) for LNG and the minister will share the details of his talks with Qatari officials before making a presentation to the Prime Minister, the official maintained. The ad hoc Managing Director Pakistan State Oil, who assumed the office less than a week ago and MD Inter State Gas Company, Hassan Mehmood, as well as a senior official of the Petroleum Ministry along with other officials, accompanied the Minister to Qatar to finalise Heads of Agreement (HoA) of LNG. "As yet both the countries have not agreed on LNG price but it will be in the range of $8 to $10 per mmbtu. The Qatar government has assured Pakistan of supplying required quantity of LNG. Pakistan has addressed all the concerns of the Qatari government and they are ready to supply LNG," the official stated. Pakistan is facing a massive demand/supply gap at present and the government intends to meet the gap through 2 Billion Cubic Feet per Day (BCFD) LNG imports by 2017. The government of Pakistan on a fast-track basis wants to commence importing 400 Million Cubic Feet per Day (mmcfd) of LNG from Qatar for which a LNG terminal has reached its final stage at Port Qasim, Karachi with a capacity to handle a maximum of 600 mmcfd of the commodity. The official said that Malaysian LNG producer and supplier Petronas has also assured Pakistan of supplying 200 mmcfd of LNG per annum. He added that during a recent visit, the senior management of Petronas showed great interest in supplying 1.5 million tons LNG per annum.

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Supply of RLNG: planned construction of pipeline approved by ECC

The Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has approved, in principle, the construction of a 1100 kilometer North South Gas Pipeline from Karachi to Lahore for supply of RLNG to the proposed gas fired power plants in northern Pakistan. Sources said the project has been approved in the light of a decision taken by Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCOE) headed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The Ministry, on the directive of CCOE, submitted a proposal to the ECC arguing that the approval of the project is critical for the supply of RLNG to power plants in northern Pakistan. The Ministry requested ECC''s approval of the project, in principle; and that Inter State Gas Systems Private limited may be designated as the executing agency to implement it under a government-to-government arrangement in liaison with Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL). The meeting was further informed that gas supply-demand gap has widened to 2 million cubic feet with a supply of 4,000 million cubic feet per day (MMCFD). The Ministry further argued that in order to bridge the supply-demand gap, the Ministry is pursuing certain transnational gas pipeline projects (Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India Gas Pipeline Project) while the LNG Terminals at Port Qasim and Gwadar Port have also been planned to handle imported Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) with the capacity to re-gasify approximately 2 billion Cubic Feet Daily (BCFD) equivalent of natural gas. Its availability would enable Pakistan to meet its ever-growing energy needs and give the option to diversify gas supply resources through international energy market. The ECC of the Cabinet has already approved Fast Track LNG Import Terminal which is being constructed as per an agreed time-frame and is expected to be commissioned in the first quarter of 2015. The ECC was informed that the existing gas infrastructure was not designed to transport large quantities of gas from southern to northern regions of the country as it lacks capacity to handle any additional volume of gas supplies. This project is critical for supply of RLNG to the proposed gas fired power plants in northern Pakistan. The fast-track implementation of pipeline infrastructure projects is therefore an essential requirement to transport the additional volumes of gas well before the completion of LNG terminals at Gwadar and transnational gas pipeline projects. Both gas utility companies of Pakistan are engaged in augmentation of their gas pipeline infrastructure for receiving the additional volumes of gas into their system. Keeping in view the anticipated gas supplies, consideration is being given to undertake the laying of North-South Gas Pipeline (about 1100KM-long) from Karachi to Lahore. Not only will the Pipeline only enable the ministry to efficiently transport imported RLNG, it will also give transport capabilities for the Iran-Pakistan and TAPI gas pipeline projects which are expected to come online in the next 3 to 5 years. The Ministry of Petroleum stated that the project would be capable of transporting 1.2 BCFD of gas from Karachi to mid-country.

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LNG-powered electricity plants to be set up

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chaired the 7th meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Energy on Friday, which reviewed progress on the implementation of decisions taken in previous six meetings. The Prime Minister said the government is making all-out efforts to eliminate loadshedding during its tenure in office and said priority is to increase generation in the short-term to add additional electricity to the national grid by the summer this year. He directed that efficient projects should be undertaken so that provision of electricity to people at affordable rates can be ensured. Alternate sources of energy including solar and wind power, must also be tapped to reduce dependence on any one source, and all impediments in the way of speedy generation of electricity be removed, he said. The Prime Minister was informed that Expressions of Interest have been invited for the construction of 1100-km South-North gas pipeline to be completed in two phases which would reduce cost of transmission of gas leading to a decreased cost of power production. He directed that time lines should be set for the project to achieve the objectives within a specified timeframe. The meeting decided that to meet severe energy crisis, LNG-fuelled power plants would be installed. The Prime Minister emphasised that electricity transmission system should be improved to reduce line losses. Ministers for Finance, Ishaq Dar; Water and Power, Khawaja Muhammad Asif; Petroleum, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi; Planning, Ahsan Iqbal; Railways, Khawaja Saad Rafique; Chief Minister Punjab, Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif; Minister of State for Petroleum, Jam Kamal; Minister of State for Water and Power, Abid Sher Ali; Advisor to PM on National Security, Sartaj Aziz and SAPM on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi attended the meeting along with senior government officials.

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OGDCL successfully completes drilling process of 10 wells: MD

Oil & Gas Development Company Limited has successfully completed drilling process of 10 wells while rest 25 wells will be completed till June 2015. In the context of production OGDCL has also set additional targets for exploration and drilling during the current financial year. This was stated by MD/CEO OGDCL Muhammad Rafi while addressing to the officers and staff of OGDCL here on Thursday at Head Office. Muhammad Rafi said that OGDCL has achieved target of 250 percent increase in exploration as well as 142 percent increase in drilling in the current year as compare to the last year. The MD OGDCL further disclosed that 2354, 2-D line kilometer target achieved during July to December 2014 while during 2013 it was only 962, 2-D line kilometer. He also told that OGDCL achieved the target of drilling 10 wells during said period while only seven wells were drilled in 2013. He further said that OGDCL made three new discoveries during last half year while in 2013 only one discovery was made by the company. Daily production of gas has increased upto 41 MMCF per day. Managing Director told that OGDCL set a target of drilling of 35 wells during 2014-15 from which 29 wells marked on ground and land acquisition has been done for 27 wells while civil works completed for 15 wells.-PR

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Local crude oil production crosses 100,000 bpd: Khaqan

Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resour-ces, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Wednesday said Pakistan''s local crude oil production has crossed 100,000 barrels per day, as the country in past one year added 34,000 barrels to the total oil production. Talking to reporters here while witnessing the signing of Petroleum Concession Agreement and Exploration License with Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) over Kulachi Block, Khaqan said that exploitation of indigenous hydrocarbon resources is the top priority of the government to bridge the gap between demand and supply. The minister said that Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority during on-going winter season has failed to control the prices of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), saying that LPG marketing companies and dealers have increased the commodity prices by Rs 700 per cylinder. Replying to questions regarding the high LPG prices, he said that to maintain the commodity prices in affordable range, the government needs to regulate the prices for which the Petroleum Ministry has finalised the recommendations and forwarded a summary to the Council of the Common Interests, which will be taken up during the upcoming meeting of the council. He said the government was trying to start import of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) by the end of March 2015, for which the ministry is holding talks with Qatar, Brunei and Malaysia. Kulachi Block is located in D I Khan, District of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, Layyah, DG Khan, and Bhakkar districts of Punjab. The total area of the block is 2495 Sq. Km and minimum firm work commitment is US $10.10 million. Apart from minimum work commitment, company is obligated to spend a minimum of US $30,000 per annum on social welfare schemes in the area encompassing the block. The Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Resources after taking all provinces on board in finalizing Model Petroleum Concession Agreement (MPCA) and Model Exploration Licence (MPCA), awarded 50 blocks on provisional basis to nine E&P companies. Of which 21 blocks are in Balochistan, 15 in Punjab, 6 in Sindh and 7 in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa whereas one is in FATA. The Ministry has already signed (44) ELs and PCAs in short span of time. Due to grant of 45 new blocks during the tenure of the current Government the area under exploration has increased from 269,152 to 362,117 Sq Kms, which is about 44 % of total sedimentary area. The Minister for Petroleum informed the media that since the taking over by the current government 154 number of wells have been spudded and 45 discoveries have been made so far while 500 MMCFD gas and around 34000 barrels of oil per day has been added to the system. "Oil production has crossed 100,000 barrel per day which is the highest oil production level achieved so far," the minister maintained. He said during the previous fiscal year 103 wells were spudded, 28 discoveries were made, 43 Exploration Licences and 14 Leases were granted. Jam Kamal Khan, Minister of State for Petroleum & NR, Secretary Petroleum, Abid Saeed, Zahid Muzaffar, Advisor to Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Resources Director General (PC) and Managing Director OGDCL were also present at the signing ceremony.

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