Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Abundant, Cheap Coal Electricity For Pakistan

Coal is the cheapest and the most common fuel used directly or indirectly to produce electricity and heat in the world today. Global coal consumption was about 6.7 billion tons in 2006 and is expected to increase 48% to 9.98 billion tons by 2030, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). China produced 2.38 billion tons in 2006. India produced about 447.3 million tons and Pakistan mined only about 8 million tons in 2006. 68.7% of China's electricity comes from coal. The United States consumes about 14% of the world total, using 90% of it for generation of electricity. The U.S. coal-fired plants have over 300 GW of capacity.

Thar desert region in Pakistan is endowed with one of the largest coal reserves in the world. Discovered in early 1990s, the Thar coal has not yet been developed to produce usable energy. With the devastating increases in imported oil bill and the growing shortages of gas and electricity in the country, the coal development is finally beginning to get the attention it deserves. Coal contributes about 20% of the worldwide greenhouse gas emissions but it is the cheapest fuel available, according to Pew Center on Global Climate Change. It can provide usable energy at a cost of between $1 and $2 per MMBtu compared to $6 to $12 per MMBtu for oil and natural gas, and coal prices are relatively stable. Coal is inherently higher-polluting and more carbon-intensive than other energy alternatives. However, coal is so inexpensive that one can spend quite a bit on pollution control and still maintain coal’s competitive position.

At the end of the decade of 1990s when the economy was stagnant, Pakistan had about 1200 MW excess capacity. Between 2000 and 2008, the electricity demand from industries and consumers grew dramatically with the rapid economic expansion that more than doubled the nation's GDP from $60 billion to $170 billion. The Musharraf government added about 3500 MW of capacity during this period which still left a gap of over 1500 MW by 2008. The economy has since slowed to a crawl, the electricity demand has decreased, and yet the nation is suffering the worst ever power outages in the history of Pakistan. As discussed in an earlier post, Pakistan's current installed capacity is around 18,500 MW, of which around 20% is hydroelectric. Much of the rest is thermal, fueled primarily by gas and oil. Pakistan Electric Power Company PEPCO blames independent power producers (IPPs) for the electricity crisis, as they have only been able to give PEPCO much less than the 5,800 MW of confirmed capacity. Most of the power plants in the country are operating well below installed capacity because the operators are not being paid enough to buy fuel. Circular debt owed to the power producers and oil companies is currently believed to be largely responsible for severe load shedding affecting most of the nation.

The circular debt has assumed alarming portions since 2008, resulting in the current severe power problems. Former finance minister Saukat Tarin recently told the News that “in real terms the circular debt has swelled to Rs108 billion which mainly includes non-payment of Rs42 billion by KESC, Rs21 billion by the government of Sindh and Rs15-16 billion from commercial consumers to the Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco)". Just prior to leaving office, Tarin decided to raise Rs. 25 billion as a small step toward settling the swelling unpaid bills owed to power producers.

Per capita energy consumption in Pakistan is estimated at 14.2 million Btu, which is much higher than Bangladesh's 5 million BTUs per capita but slightly less than India's 15.9 million BTU per capita energy consumption. South Asia's per capita energy consumption is only a fraction of other industrializing economies in Asia region such as China (56.2 million BTU), Thailand (58 million BTU) and Malaysia (104 million BTU), according to the US Dept of Energy 2006 report. To put it in perspective, the world average per capita energy use is about 65 million BTUs and the average American consumes 352 million BTUs. With 40% of the Pakistani households that have yet to receive electricity, and only 18% of the households that have access to pipeline gas, the energy sector is expected to play a critical role in economic and social development. With this growth comes higher energy consumption and stronger pressures on the country’s energy resources. At present, natural gas and oil supply the bulk (80 percent) of Pakistan’s energy needs. However, the consumption of those energy sources vastly exceeds the supply. For instance, Pakistan currently produces only 18.3 percent of the oil it consumes, fostering a dependency on imports that places considerable strain on the country’s financial position. On the other hand, hydro and coal are perhaps underutilized today, as Pakistan has ample potential supplies of both.

The country's creaky and outdated electricity infrastructure loses over 30 percent, some of it due to rampant power theft, of generated power in transit, more than seven times the losses of a well-run system, according to the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank; and a lack of spare high-voltage grid capacity limits the transmission of power from hydroelectric plants in the north to make up for shortfalls in the south.

It does seem that Pakistan is finally getting serious about utilizing its vast coal resources to produce electricity and gas. Talking recently with GeoTV's Hamid Mir, Pepco Managing Director Tahir Basharat Cheema shared the following list of coal projects being launched:

1. The Sind Government has awarded a 1200 MW project to extract Thar coal and produce electricity to Engro Power.

2. A similar 1200 MW project is being undertaken by Pepco in Thar. The Pepco project also includes a 700 Km transmission line to connect Thar plants with the national grid.

3. An experimental project for underground coal gasification is being built by Pakistani nuclear scientist Dr. Mubarakmand to tap underground coal to produce 50 MW.

4. Another experimental 50 MW project using pressure coal gasification is planned by Pepco.

The coal and various renewable energy projects are expected to be online in the next 2 to 5 years. If these projects do succeed and more investors are attracted to the power sector, then Pakistan has the potential to produce about 100,000 MW a year for a century or longer. But these efforts will not help in the short or immediate term. What is urgently needed is decisive action to resolve the circular debt problems and restore power generation to full installed capacity immediately.

Here is a video clip of former president General Musharraf talking about the worst ever load shedding being faced by Pakistanis today:

Related Links:

Pakistan's Twin Energy Crises of Gas and Electricity

Pakistan's Load Shedding and Circular Debt

CO2 Emissions, Birth, Death Rates By Country

US Fears Aid Will Feed Graft in Pakistan

Pakistan Swallows IMF's Bitter Medicine

Shaukat Aziz's Economic Legacy

Karachi Tops Mumbai in Stock Performance

Pakistan's Electricity Crisis

Pepco Increases Load Shedding By 5 Hours

Pakistan's Gas Pipeline and Distribution Network

Pakistan's Energy Statistics

US Department of Energy Data

China Signs Power Plant Deals in Pakistan

Pakistan Pursues Hydroelectric Projects

Water Scarcity in Pakistan

Energy from Thorium

Comparing US and Pakistani Tax Evasion

Zardari Corruption Probe

Pakistan's Oil and Gas Report 2010

Circular Electricity Debt Problem

International CNG Vehicles Association

Lessons From IPP Experience in Pakistan

Correlation Between Human Development and Energy Consumption

BMI Energy Forecast Pakistan


Sher said...

In your discussion you use Thar coal as producing a major portion of Pakistan's power needs. You discuss a number of projects as viable. Please also provide a schedule for producing power from this source.

Riaz Haq said...


People in charge of coal, particularly WAPDA Pepco MD Cheema, are talking about 3-5 years. I hope there is enough public pressure now to execute these projects on what is being called "war footing".

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Dawn report on US plans to help Pakistan's power sector:

LAHORE: Help for Pakistan’s energy sector will be a top priority in plans for direct US investment in the country under the Kerry-Lugar Bill, Administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Dr Rajiv Shah, said here on Wednesday.

“The US will help refurbish three thermal and one hydel power plant that will add some 4,500MW to the national grid,” Mr Shah said while talking to this correspondent at Lahore airport before leaving for Islamabad. USAID’s Pakistan Mission Director Robert Wilson was also present.

Dr Shah said the US would invest directly in Pakistani institutions in a wide range of areas. “It is time to take immediate action to aggressively meet education and health needs also.”

He dispelled a perception that a large part of the funding would go to consultants and contractors in the United States. “It will be utilised in water, education, health and agriculture sectors that are in tremendous need of development through short-, medium- and long-term infrastructural reforms.”

He said the initiatives would help create employment, especially in tribal areas where small and medium projects relating to infrastructure development, livelihood support and technology transfer would be launched.

The quality of education would be improved through teachers’ training, curriculum development programmes and provision of textbooks in other less developed areas, especially southern Punjab, he said.

In health sector, he said, the focus would be on strengthening professional institutions and USAID would arrange for capacity building of lady health workers and paramedical staff and higher education of physicians.

Dr Shah said reinvestment in agricultural research would be another major area of attention. “We are proud to be partners in research activities at the agriculture universities of Faisalabad and Rawalpindi. Now plans are afoot to improve training facilities and marketing skills of farmers as agriculture contributes more than 25 per cent to Pakistan’s Gross Domestic Product.

“We will work on the critical issue of water with programmes aimed at helping Pakistan better manage its water resources to ensure maximum water access to the people.”

Dr Shah said: “President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton launched strategic dialogue with Pakistan to make sure that our relationship is a broad and deep partnership defined by mutual respect and cooperation in a broad range of areas, especially energy, water, education and health sectors that are very important for development of cooperation.

“This trip was really an effort to follow up that strategic dialogue. We are here to meet Pakistani leaders in government, private sector and civil society. We also have a chance to meet professors at universities and hold discussions to explore effective means and ways to work together.”

Iftikhar A. Khan adds from Islamabad: Addressing a press conference in the federal capital, Dr Shah said aid to Pakistan was not tied to the country’s performance in stemming militancy. He underlined the need for financial management control to ensure that the aid was spent to achieve the defined objectives.

He said the US had significantly enhanced investment portfolio for Pakistan without setting any specific conditions.

He said the purpose of his visit was to learn about priorities in development and put in place many principles discussed during the recent round of strategic dialogue in Washington.

Dr Shah hinted at the possibility of helping Pakistan augment its water reservoirs. “We are looking at a broad range of options and will do everything which makes economic sense.” He said the US was working with other donors and international partners to help Pakistan improve its hydro infrastructure.

Anonymous said...

NEW DELHI, April 18: India now has 100 million more people living below the poverty line than in 2004, according to official estimates released on Sunday.

The poverty rate has risen to 37.2 per cent of the population from 27.5 per cent in 2004, a change that will require the Congress-ruled government to spend more money on the poor.

The new estimate comes weeks after Sonia Gandhi, head of the Congress party, asked the government to revise a Food Security Bill to include more women, children and destitutes.

“The Planning Commission has accepted the report on poverty figures,” Abhijit Sen, a member of the Planning Commission said, referring to the new poverty estimate report submitted by a government panel last December.

India now has 410 million people living below the UN estimated poverty line of $1.25 a day, 100 million more than was estimated earlier, officials said.

India calculates how much of its population is living below the poverty line by checking whether families can afford one square meal a day that meets minimum nutrition needs.

A third of the world’s poor are believed to be in India, living on less than $2 per day, worse than in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, experts say.

The Indian government spends only 1 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on healthcare facilities, forcing millions to struggle to get medicines, Oxfam and 62 other agencies said in a report called: “Your Money or Your Life” last year.

While India’s economy is slowly recovering from a global recession with a GDP growth of 7.2 per cent, millions of poor in rural India are finding it difficult to cope with around 17 per cent food price inflation.—Reuters

Anonymous said...

Nothing to do with cheap coal in Pakistan, but everything to do with expensive limes in India!. Now that MNC are bottling fresh lime soft drinks, is this why limes are costing 2-3 for Rs 10? And in this murderous weather?

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BBC report about Pakistan government's latest plan to tackle power shortages:

According to government sources, Pakistan's energy shortfall comes to around 3,668 megawatts (MW) per day.

BBC correspondents say officials hope the new measures will save 1,500 MW a day.

Mr Gilani said that Pakistan's government would pay 116 bn rupees ($1.38bn) to the power sector to help resolve the issue of debt owed to various power producers within the industry.

Measures include extending the official weekend from one to two days, early closure of street markets, and a 50% cut in power to government offices.

Pakistan's energy crisis is due to a surge in demand and a failing power distribution infrastructure.

The shortages have crippled industry and led to rioting across Pakistan.

Electricity supplies to homes and businesses across Pakistan are often cut for several hours a day because of the power shortfall.

Extending the weekend will shorten the working week and so cut electricity use by businesses.

Mr Gilani says the government will take the lead in cutting demand for energy.

"We are taking these decisions in the best national interest," he told reporters.

Other energy-saving measures include:

* The power supply to Karachi, Pakistan's main port and industrial capital, will be reduced by 300 MW a day
* Marriage halls will no longer be able to host all-night wedding parties
* Neon signs and brightly-lit billboards are to be banned

All the measures will be reviewed at the end of July.

Mr Gilani said he would introduce government units and 13 independent power producers as part of the plan.

He said the steps were necessary and that the government now had a long-term strategy to deal with the power crisis.

The BBC's Syed Shoaib Hasan in Islamabad says that the energy crisis is also seen as a threat to Pakistan's security situation.

Pakistan's leadership has been examining alternatives to its hydroelectric power-based energy producing sector.

One option they are looking at is more civilian nuclear power plants, our correspondent says.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan govt is planning to sell Islamic bonds or sukuk this year to raise money and resolve circular debt in power sector, according to Dawn:

ISLAMABAD: The finance ministry has finalised plans to issue Rs100 billion Sukuk bonds before the end of current fiscal year to retire the circular debt that has been a major concern for the power generation companies, oil suppliers, refineries and exploration companies.

“The Rs100 billion denominated Sukuk bounds will be floated in May this year and the target investors are religious-minded people with cash in hand,” said a senior official of the finance ministry.

Initially the finance ministry proposed to float Islamic papers with one year maturity period, but the State bank objected saying the central bank had already floated one year Treasury Bills.

“The ministry is now considering other options for the non-interest based bond to be launched on the pattern of Pakistan Investment Bonds (PIBs), the official said. The cut-off yield on the proposed Sukuk bonds would be around 12.7 per cent as is on the PIBs.

“The Government of Pakistan will be the sovereign guarantor of the sukuk bond issue,” the official said and added that the government needed additional liquidity to check further increase in the circular debt. The circular debt has again reached to Rs150 billion mainly due to limited collections by the eight electricity distribution companies.

The official said that the sukuk bond was expected to be heavily oversubscribed due to availability of liquidity in the Islamic banking system.

“As the Islamic banks have limited options to invest in Sharia-compliant modes, these bonds would offer an attraction to them,” he added.

It is estimated that around Rs50 billion are available with the Islamic banks, but their lending ratio is low compared to the deposit ratio.

PIBs and Sukuk bond are permanent debt and this time the government wants to raise money from Islamic banks to settle the circular debt of power sector once for all. Under the IMF conditionality which requires zero borrowing from the State Bank, the government is now heavily borrowing from commercial banks.

The government had shifted Rs85 billion circular debts to the Power Holding Company through issuance of Term Finance Certificates (TFCs) last year, which were bought by the commercial banks.

Anonymous said...

The recent Forbes Global 2000 listing is a telling indicator of India's rising economic might as well economic weakness of Pakistan. Fully 56 Indian companies are included in the prestigious list of the world's 2000 most important firms while only one Pakistani firm made it to the list. Even more interestingly, a number of Indian firms are ranked among the top 500 of the Global 2000. These include firms such as ONGC (155), ICICI Bank (282), Indian Oil (313), NTPC (341), Tata Steel (345), Bharti Airtel (471). There is no way such unprecedented - and ongoing, not one-time - rise in India's economic cannot not have an impact on the thinking of Pakistani Establishment vis-a-vis relationship with India.

India's Global 2000 firms are discussed here in TOI:

Riaz Haq said...

anon: "The recent Forbes Global 2000 listing is a telling indicator of India's rising economic might as well economic weakness of Pakistan."

India(49) also has more than twice as many billionaires as Japan (22) which is a far richer country.

Indian and UNICEF officials concur that Indians are much worse off than Pakistanis and Bangladeshis in basic nutrition and sanitation.

Meanwhile, India is worse than Bangladesh and Pakistan when it comes to nourishment and is showing little improvement in the area despite big money being spent on it, says Planning Commission member Syeda Hameed.

India might be an emerging economic power, but it is way behind Pakistan, Bangladesh and even Afghanistan in providing basic sanitation facilities, a key reason behind the death of 2.1 million children under five in the country.Lizette Burgers, chief water and environment sanitation of the UNICEF, said India is making progress in providing sanitation but it lags behind most of the other countries in South Asia.

Most of the 8-9% growth has fattened the bottom line of a small percentage of India's population, with the rest getting poorer. India's Gini Index has increased from about 32 to 36 from 2000 to 2007.

India now has 100 million more people living below the poverty line than in 2004, according to official estimates released on Sunday. The poverty rate has risen to 37.2 percent of the population from 27.5 percent in 2004, according to a Reuters report.

The rising gap between abject poverty and obscene wealth in India is fueling anger, and insurgencies such as the Maoists'.

Anonymous said...

Good that Pak govt is realizing that the people who are constantly demonized in Pakistan (aka Hindus) are the ones who will save their economy. Someone said that truth is stranger than fiction.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan government should consider granting
India the 'Most Favoured Nation' status to exploit the huge
trade potential as free trade relations with it will
enable the country to achieve higher and more equitable
GDP growth, an official panel has recommended.

The recommendation was made by the Panel of Economists,
constituted by the Planning Commission, in its final report.

The report said as a first step, trade relations between
the two countries should be normalised by trading on the
Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status.

As a second step, policymakers should address problems
related to information exchange, trade facilitation,
banking, non-tariff barriers, visas and communication.

The third step is to enable environment for investment
has to be created so that India and Pakistan can enter
into joint ventures, the Business Recorder daily reported today.

The panel asked the government to allow the import from
India of raw materials not available locally.

"It is essential to move from a positive list approach to a
negative list approach. It is important for the two
countries to have a common Harmonised System of Codes
and greater transparency," the panel's report said.

"The current DTRE scheme whereby quotas are fixed for
raw material imports from India meant specifically for
exports suffers from red-tapism and graft. A better
solution is to open up raw material imports across the board," the report added.

The panel also recommended the opening the Attari-Wagah
border to allow transportation of goods by road at the
earliest as this link is already operational for movement
of passengers and asked the government to consider allowing
India-Pakistan joint ventures.

"Currently, there are no India-Pakistan joint ventures.
As several Indian companies are showing interest in
having joint ventures in Pakistan, it is important to
understand the nature of such investments and provide
timely facilitation," the report said.

The report noted that payments through formal channels
assume a greater role as there is evidence of anonymous
transactions between trading partners. Currently, the
payments system is formalised through the Asian Clearing
Union, which is inefficient as payments are often delayed.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a NY Times report about Pakistan's growing power crisis:

Pakistan is in the throes of an energy crisis, with Pakistanis now enduring about 12 hours of power cuts a day, a grueling schedule that is melting ice, stopping fans and enraging an already exhausted populace just as the blast furnace of summer gets started.

In an effort to stem that frustration, Pakistan’s government held an emergency meeting last week, bringing together top bureaucrats from across the country. But instead of easing the problem, it aggravated it, ordering power-saving measures that seemed calculated to smother some Pakistanis’ last remaining pleasures.

“They are playing a joke on us,” said Amina Ali, the mother of a bride at a wedding hall that was under orders to close early as part of the new energy-saving restrictions. Her brother chimed in: “The Pakistani people are a toy in the hands of the government.”

The power failures could prove destabilizing if they go unchecked, analysts said. Pakistan badly needs its economy to expand to make space for its bulging young population, and chronic power cuts work against that.

It is a concern for the United States, which is trying to help steady Pakistan’s wobbly finances and keep its democratically elected government afloat. The Obama administration has pledged about $1 billion for energy over the next five years.

The crisis is a snarl of unmet responsibilities, and untangling it will not be easy. It has a cast of guilty characters that goes back years: governments that are incapable of planning ahead; bureaucrats who take bribes; even ordinary people who steal about 30 percent of all the power produced. The tribal areas in the west, for example, have no meters and have never paid for power.

The result is about $2 billion a year in energy that is generated but not paid for. Industry experts said they were skeptical the government had a way to close the growing gap between Pakistan’s demand for power and the energy sector’s ability to produce it.

“There is nobody in Islamabad who is working on a coherent, integrated plan,” said one industry executive who asked not to be identified because he did not want to be seen as being critical of the government. “The discussion just keeps going in circles.”

Riaz Haq said...

Here are excerpts from a Washington Post report about China-Pakistan nuclear deal:

"President Obama has strongly advocated for restrictions on the spread of nuclear technology. But his administration has said little publicly about the China-Pakistan deal. Meanwhile, the administration announced Tuesday that China, despite its misgivings, had signed on to a draft U.N. Security Council resolution sanctioning Iran."

"A senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to talk more freely, said the United States is waiting for China to detail how it plans to proceed with this transaction. "We don't have much clarity, and so the issue has not ripened in the government," he said. He said any claim that the reactors are grandfathered "would be a hard case to make," but China could seek a formal exemption from the guidelines -- which are voluntary in any case.

Indeed, complicating matters is that the United States, after hard lobbying, in 2008 won a specific exemption at the NSG for trade with India, Pakistan's nuclear-armed rival. Pakistan has long wanted its own exemption -- and the United States has refused -- but the administration may not want to roil relations with Islamabad at a time when their partnership on counterterrorism is seen as crucial."

"Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, said the China-Pakistan deal "is some of the fallout of the India-U.S. civil nuclear agreement" -- which included the special exemption for nuclear trade. The deal was a Bush administration initiative -- but was avidly supported by then-Sens. Barack Obama, Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Hillary Rodham Clinton."

Business Energy Australia said...

I feel the economic crisis only cements the need for business to realise that good environmental policy makes good business sense. With the introduction of the 2010 carbon pollution reduction scheme (formally known as emission trading scheme), most experts agree on one thing. Energy prices will rise. Businesses that operate more efficiently and get their processes for low-energy operations right today, will be well positioned when the inevitable price rises happen in 2010. Expect efficiency and reduction of energy consumption to go straight to the bottom line. I feel when times are tough (like now!) businesses should be looking to cut costs (which means becoming more efficient) and stand out further from the crowd. Businesses all around the world are bearing the fruits of an environmental policy which creates differentiation and exudes an ethical brand to consumers. Businesses today face ever increasing competition and ever-aware consumers who factor environmental issues into their buying decisions.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a piece on plans for wind turbine domestic manufacturing in Pakistan published in Dawn:

PROPOSALS for local manufacturing of wind turbines and allied equipment on commercial basis from foreign and domestic companies for partnership with Pakistan Machine Tool Factory (PMTF) at Karachi are in advanced stage of evaluation. The initiative has been launched by the State Engineering Corporation.

In July 2009, the expressions of interest (EOIs) were invited by the Corporation internationally. World reputed manufacturers in the USA, China and the European countries were also contacted directly seeking their collaboration for progressive manufacturing of wind turbines.

Enormous potential for power generation from wind energy has been identified in various parts of the country.. In 2006, the Alternate Energy Development Board (AEDB) had announced an attractive investment policy for promotion of renewable energy and many manufacturers of wind turbines like GE Energy (Canada), Vestas (Denmark) and Siemens/Fuhrlander (Germany) had shown interest in setting up wind farm projects in partnership with domestic entrepreneurs.

This is not for the first time that efforts have been made for manufacturing of machinery for wind mills. In response to the Energy Policy 1994, two wind power projects were proposed to be established in Sindh and Balochistan. The American sponsors of Kenetech wind power project of 100 mw capacity, who are also the manufacturers of wind turbines, had collaborated with the PMTF for local manufacturing of wind turbines, under technology transfer arrangement. No physical progress was achieved as none of the projects was approved by the government, courtesy the powerful lobby of oil-based thermal power plants.

Again, in 2006, Heavy Mechanical Complex (HMC) planned to diversify its wide-range production programme of power plant machinery to cover wind energy projects as well. The pioneering efforts by HMC to obtain requisite technology for one or two megawatt capacity wind turbine from any global key player however, were thwarted by the AEDB, which instead supported private sector participation for local manufacturing. The AEDB had claimed to have signed agreements with a few Western companies for the design, engineering and manufacturing of wind turbines and accessories. Based on these agreements the AEDB was said to be looking for qualified companies to commence assembly-cum-manufacturing of equipment locally. Nothing happened.

In the recent past, New Park Energy Limited proposed to establish a wind turbine generator assembly plant at Nooriabad, Dadu. The sponsor has obtained approval for the development of a wind farm of 1,000 mw in phases, the first phase project being of 400 mw capacity.

The government has allocated 1,000 acres of land to the company in the Gharo-Keti Bunder wind corridor on concessionary rates. The first wind energy project was thus launched in December 2004, but only of 45 mw capacity, proposed to be installed with 30x1.5 mw General Electric (GE) wind turbines. The project, which was to attain commercial operations in 2007, still remains on paper and even the Letter of Support (LOS) has not yet been obtained by the sponsors, despite a lapse of five years......

If the indigenisation programme is successfully implemented it would prove to be precursor for rapid development of the wind power projects for its low cost, high reliability and for being environmental friendly. India has over 10,833 mw installed wind power capacity, as in September 2009, with majority of wind turbines produced locally. Today, India has nine principal manufacturers and suppliers of wind electric generators in the range of 225 kw to two mw units.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan plans to add ten new nuclear power plants by 2030, according to a Dawn report:

KARACHI: Ten nuclear power plants will be established in the country by 2030 to help resolve the worsening electricity crisis, said Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) Chairman Dr Ansar Parvez on Tuesday.

He added that the government had assigned to the PAEC a target of generating around 8,800 megawatts by 2030. “We are optimistic about achieving this target within the stipulated period as all the requisite projects and plans are in place for this purpose,” he said.

Dr Parvez expressed these view while speaking as a chief guest at the 11th annual convocation-2011 of the Karachi Institute of Power Engineering in the vicinity of the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant.

He said that the PAEC was striving hard to enhance its role in power generation, while in the area of defence, “we are following a well-defined path that ensures that the country has a strategic capacity which is strong enough to deter and frustrate the evil designs of anyone”. He added that an immense contribution had been made by the graduates of Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS) and Karachi Institute of Power Engineering (KINPOE) to the country’s strategic programme.

In addition to the defence and power sectors, the PAEC had also been contributing to the socio-economic sector, he said. It had 14 medical centres in different cities and four more were being built. “Similarly, our agricultural centres and bio-technology institutes are also making a contribution towards the agriculture sector,” he added.

Dr Parvez, who is also the chairman of the board of governors of the PIEAS, later conferred MSc degrees in nuclear power engineering on 49 graduates along with medal and merit certificates to the position holders. He congratulated all graduating students and hoped that they would play their due role in the country’s development.

Earlier, PIEAS Rector Dr Mohammad Aslam said that the degree-awarding institute being run by the PAEC offered masters and PhD programmes in nuclear power engineering, material engineering, health physics and information technology. He said around 10 students were completing their PhD every year from the institute.

KINPOE Director Najmus Saqib traced the genesis of the institute which started as the Karachi Nuclear Power Training Centre in the early 80s and was upgraded to the masters level in 1993. He said this was KINPOE’s first convocation after its affiliation with the PIEAS.—APP/PPI

Riaz Haq said...

Dr Samar Mubarakmand has been a strong advocate for keeping out foreigners from Thar Coal and Reko Diq projecrs, saying we can do both ourselves and be energy independent and earn billions of dollars.

The News has an Op Ed today by Dr. A.Q.Khan titled "Projects We Cannot Handle" in which he attacks Mubarkmand without mentioning his name:

"...The Thar Coal Project was, until recently, a hot topic. We probably all remember that we were promised 50,000 MW of power for 500 years, plus hundreds of thousands of barrels of diesel. There were claims that we had 185 billion tons of coal reserves, while reliable estimates put this figure at only three billion tons, and that too of low grade. That balloon burst quite quickly....
I can say with authority that we do not have experienced and qualified engineers to handle such a complicated, giant project, to say nothing of my having had to cope with those who indulge in self-projection though they don’t have fundamental knowledge or qualifications in the required field.

In my earlier column of Nov 1 I had mentioned the statements made by Dr Ansar Parvez, chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) in Vienna in which he claimed that 8,080 MW of power could be produced by 2030. In order for that to be produced, either 29 reactors of 300 MW each or ten reactors of 900 MW each would be required. A 300-MW reactor costs about $1 billion and requires eight to ten years for commissioning. A 900-MW reactor would naturally cost proportionately more and would take the same time, if not longer, to commission. I am at a loss to see how Dr Parvez aims to achieve this.

The PAEC has existed for more than 50 years and employs almost 20,000 people, but it has not been able to make a single power reactor, even of a small size. This is despite the fact that the technology itself is half-a-century old, and India and South Korea are among countries which have been producing reactors for years. The one at Karachi was supplied by Canada and the two at Chashma by China.
If important projects like those mentioned above are given to Pakistanis, they will become yet more PIAs and Pakistan Steel Mills. Nepotism, overstaffing with unqualified and inexperienced people, overabundance of persons of official cadre, fleets of land cruisers – you name it, it will be there. We have all heard details about the corruption related to the Agosta Submarine. Not only the fish’s head, but the whole body is rotten.

Disregarding the personal rivalry between two men, it's anybody's guess as to who is right.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Petroleum is seeking tenders to develop oil and gas resources in Pakistan, according to Oil Voice:

Exploration in these licenses is expected to convert conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon resources in to reserves. There are stratigraphic traps, tight gas, shale gas etc.
Dera Ismail Khan Block Overview:
The block lies in the Suleiman Foredeep with Sargodha High in the East, Khishor & Marwat Ranges in the North, Suleiman Foldbelt in the West and the Zindapir anticlinorium in the South. The development of Suleiman Foredeep is related with an uplift of the Suleiman Range, which is believed to be related to early and late Tertiary inversion of extensional and trans-tensional basins along the northwest margins of the Indian continental plate.
The block contains the stratigraphic play at Eocene and Paleocene levels. The Sembar Formation (Cretaceous) is the proven source rock in the nearby Dhodak & Salsabil Gas Fields, which lies in the Gas window in the West of D. I. Khan block. The primary reservoir targets are the Stratigraphic pinch out of Habib Rahi Limestone (Eocene) and the truncations of Lower Ranikot Formation (Paleocene). The Secondary target is the Pab Sandstone (Cretaceous). The seal is comprised of Intra Eocene Shales and the Shales of Chitarwata Formation (Oligocene) above the Base Oligocene unconformity. The Lower Ranikot and Pab Sandstone are the proven Gas/Condensate reservoir in the Dhodak and Salsabil Gas Fields.

The Kamiab-1 well (Amoco, 1974) drilled in the East encountered the significant Gas shows in the Lower Ranikot Formation.
Sirani Block Overview:
The Sembar Formation (Lower-Cretaceous) is the proven source rock in the area. Sands of Lower Goru Formation (Lower Cretaceous) are producing in nearby fields and have good reservoir quality. Shales of Upper Goru & intraformational shales provide the seal. Tilted Faults Blocks are expected in the Block.
• Four leads identified on vintage seismic data. New seismic likely to yield more leads
• Proximity to the producing Badin Oil fields to the west
• Possibility of finding additional leads in southern marshy area where no seismic data has been acquired. Good shows encountered in some wells in the block
• Nearby existing infrastructure
• Low cost drilling operations as minimum problems are expected.
• Early production through Extended Well Testing (EWT)

Naushahro Firoz Block Overview:
The Naushahro Firoz block lies in a zone with a proven petroleum system from different reservoirs. The Zamzama gas condensate discovery (2.3 Tcf and 12 MMbo)) from Late Cretaceous Pab sandstone lies to the west and Sawan gas discovery (1.5 Tcf) from Lower Cretaceous Lower Goru sandstone lies to the East of the block. Sui Main Limestone (SML) of Eocene age is a proven reservoir in a number of discoveries (over 2 Tcf reserves) located in the north of the block. The reservoir quality of SML is also proven by the Sagyun-01 well drilled in the block and wells drilled in the surrounding area. One lead and a possibility of another lead identified at SML level on sparse vintage data.
Jungshahi Block Overview:
The Jungshahi block lies to the east of two gas discoveries. An untested surface lead is separated from a gas field by a broad syncline. The Block is close to the Kitchen area. Untested surface anticlines are present in the block. Proven reservoir rocks of Paleocene and Cretaceous are present. Significant gas shows have been observed in Lower and Upper Ranikot formations in the wells drilled in the block. The Block is located close to an existing gas pipeline / infrastructure and commercial hub at Karachi. Early production is expected through EWT.

Riaz Haq said...

Sindh govt allocates Rs. 3.7 billion for Thar coal development in 2011-12 budget, according to Dawn:

KARACHI, June 11: Tormented by the power shortages the Sindh government focuses on developing indigenous coal reserves. In the next Annual Development Plan it has earmarked Rs3710.937 million for Thar coal project.

For energy sector a total of Rs1214.499 million has been kept in the ADP 2011-12. This include Rs1100 million for the coal gasification project.

Sindh Finance Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah while explaining salient features of the budget for 2011-12 said: “Thar coal reserves of 175 billion tons are ample for provision of cost-effective energy for centuries”.

He said that once the reserves were properly exploited they could help in generating 20,000MW by 2020.

Recently, in international competitive bidding, two Chinese companies, an Australian company, and Pakistan Petroleum Limited participated.

As a result, two Chinese companies have been selected to undertake coal exploration, power generation and establishing petro-chemical complex at two blocks of Thar.

He said the bankable feasibility study for joint venture project of the Sindh government and Engro was created to boost the potential in a record period of eight months.

The Sindh government and the federal government have included this project in the list of projects to be taken up with the Pak-China Joint Energy Working Group (JEWG) formed during the last visit of the Chinese prime minister to Pakistan, he said.

Leading Chinese companies have shown strong interest in executing this project. The mining and power generation from this project is expected in 2015-16 depending upon the financing arrangements for the project.

The test burn at Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) is expected during coming financial year. After successful testing, the project will be scaled up to produce 2x50MW electricity.

He said the government has made serious efforts to provide critical infrastructure for development of Thar coal.

A scheme for bringing water to Thar from Makhi Farash has been approved by ECNEC, feasibility studies for effluent disposal and laying of broad-gauge railway line are to be completed in June, 2011.

Work on improvement and widening of road for movement of heavy machinery from Karachi to Mithi-Islamkot is expected to start in next year.

According to rough calculations an amount of $1.20 billion is needed over a period of next five years to develop the required infrastructure for Thar.

Serious efforts are also in place to exploit the Gharo-Keti Bandar wind corridor.

During the Sindh chief minister`s recent visit to South Korea an MoU to generate 2000MW of wind energy was signed with Korea Southern Power Company.

The issue of electric power is of great priority for Sindh. The CCI has given approval to the removal of a limit on the ceiling of 50MW, which was earlier set at which provinces could construct power plants.

The Sindh government has signed a letter of intent with the Three Gorges Project Corporation, China`s premier electricity producer, to help explore the hydro power potential in Sindh.

A team from CWE, a subsidiary of the Three Gorges, recently visited Sukkur Barrage to gauge the potential for constructing a power plant.

Under the village electrification programme 446 villages were provided electricity during 2010-11, while the process for providing power to 350 more villages is underway.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Dawn report on progress of goal gasification effort in Pakistan:

KARACHI: National Assembly Standing Committee on Science and Technology has asked the federal and provincial governments to provide the allocated funds to Thar coal gasification project to speed up work on the power generation project.

Chairman of the committee Dr Abdul Kadir Khanzada, while speaking at the presentations of Thar coal and gasification projects here Saturday, said that any delay in Thar coal and gasification trial and pilot projects will further delay the addition of much needed electricity to country’s economy and industrial sector.

Representatives of Sindh Coal Authority, project coordinator Engro, Oracle Coalfield UK, PCSIR and coal gasification project gave presentations to the committee on the progress of their projects.

He said that both federal government and Sindh government should provide the committed share of the allocated funds for these projects. If you want to run the projects you need to fulfil your obligations and provide the necessary support to the on-going projects in Thar coal field.

He also asked the project runners to take media to the site to show the potential for coal gasification and power generation in Thar.

He also urged the federal Minister for Science and Technology Mir Changez Khan Jamali to provide support and funds to Pakistan Council of Industrial and Scientific Research (PCSIR) so that it can upgrade its laboratory test project of coal gasification to a pilot project and then lead to commercial production.

“You need to support them as the entire nation is now looking toward Thar coal projects as the only solution to existing power crisis”, he added.

Dr Khanzada noted that even the allocations for these projects were not sufficient.
He asked PCSIR to hold a meeting next week at its premises to demonstrate the trial production of gas and electricity based on Thar coal.

Other members of the committee Mir Changez Khan Jamali, Mrs Shamsul Sattar Bachani, Justice (rtd) Fakhar-un-Nisa Khoker, Zafar Beg Bhittani and Chaudhry Mahmood Bashir Virk in their remarks also supported the projects and urged the government to extend wholehearted support to scientists so that Thar coal can be utilized for power generation.

The Minister Mir Changez Jamali assured the NA committee for removing all the difficulties hindering the projects and said all possible support will be provided to coal gasification projects and also to power generation projects under public-private partnership.

Earlier, Specialist Science and Technology of Planning Commission, Dr M Ashraf Moten in his presentation said that coal has to be declared as a matter of national security and strategic importance to attract investment from donors and multilateral institutions.

He said that total investment requirement for 100 megawatts of electricity through underground coal gasification is $ 115.6 million and added that only 7.48 million have been received so far.

Dr Moten said that 36 holes have been drilled and stuffed through 12” and 24 “ diameters carbon steel piping and cemented and tested for gasification.

Director General PCSIR said that the conversion of coal into diesel will cost only Rs 18 to 19 per litre and cost of power generation from coal gasification will is also lower and sustainable.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's an assessment of Pakistan's electricity crisis as published in Dawn:

Renowned Scientist and Member Science and Technology, Planning Commission of Pakistan Dr Samar Mubarakmand on Tuesday said the development of Thar coal was the only viable long-term solution to energy crisis prevailing in the country.

“Only Thar Coal can provide guaranteed long-term energy security to Pakistan,” he said while speaking at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI).

He said that the solution to power shortage had to be found indigenously and in this regard the Thar coal was the best option.

He said the electricity generated through integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plants would cost Rs7 per KWH. He said that coal could also be converted into coal gas above the ground in machines called surface gasifiers, and the efficiency of the conversion of coal gas to electricity is about 40 per cent.

Dr Samar said that Thar Coal reserves could play a pivotal role in meeting energy crises both in long term and short term which would enhance industrial competitiveness due to cost effectiveness.

He said that the industrial sector could not wait for long and the government should present quick solution to fill in the gap between demand and supply of energy

He said that the 41 per cent electricity of the world was being produced from the coal, adding that India was producing 64.6 per cent electricity from the coal, whereas Pakistan was only producing 2.27 per cent electricity from coal. He said that 95 per cent natural wealth was not being utilised, whereas not a single kg of coal was mined.

He said that the current energy crisis was causing loss of Rs230 billion and rendering 400,000 people jobless. Current dependable power supply hovers around 14,000MW in summer though it drops in the winter.

On the other hand power demand in 2030 would be more than 100,000MW, he added.

Meanwhile, Mahfooz Elahi, President ICCI said that energy was the key determinant of economic development of the country as Pakistan has been facing an unprecedented energy crisis for past few years.

The government must look towards building power plants and tap alternative energy resources for overcoming power shortage, he maintained.

ICCI President said that delay in fulfilment of export consignments has become a matter of routine due to power outages.

To meet the growing demands of energy, Government should exploit its domestic energy resources which would make the country self-reliant, he emphasised.


Riaz Haq said...

Zubair Motiwala quoted in the WSJ story today is denying on GeoTV that Kingho has made a final decision to pull out of part of Thar coal project worth about $3 billion, not the $19 billion reported by WSJ. Motiwala says negotiations are still underway with Kingho to deal with some the issues of tariffs, security and other guarantees raised in discussions with them.

He also pointed that an MOU for a much bigger deal has just been signed with Global Mining Corporation, another Chinese co, worth closer to $20 billion for a number of projects related to Thar coal, including a power plant that will generate uo to 10,000 MW of electricity when completed.


Riaz Haq said...

From Global Warming Power Foundation:

New Delhi, Oct 12 (IANS) A severe shortage of coal has hit electricity output in the country and led to long and frequent power outages in many states, including the national capital, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Most of the plants of the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), the country’s largest power producer, have been generating significantly less power than their installed capacity for the last couple of weeks due to the shortage of coal supply, an official said Wednesday.

Heavy rains in coal producing areas and a two-day strike by workers of Coal India compounded the problems of many power plants across the country, he said.


From India Today:

The power sector is still struggling around the half-way mark of the ambitious target of 78,755 MW fixed for the 11th Five-Year Plan (2007-12), which was set to fulfil the UPA government's dream providing "power for all" by March 2012.

An acute shortage of coal and gas, environmental issues and the lack of funds for investing into new projects have been responsible for holding up the expansion plans in the power sector even as the demand has steadily been growing.

Given the slow pace of implementing new projects, the Planning Commission had in its midterm review slashed the target for the 11th Plan to 62,000 MW. However, the capacity addition the end of March this year was a mere 34,462 MW.

The government has now reduced its power capacity addition target for the 11th Plan to 50,000 MW but even this is unlikely to be met in the remaining months of the current financial year as each of the ultra mega power plants of 4,000 MW and above has run into fuel linkage problems.

The initiative of private sector companies - such as the Reliance Power and the Tatas - buy coalmines in Indonesia and Australia to source coal has also come a cropper as these countries have changed their pricing policy to jack up the price of the fuel. These projects do not appear viable at the moment due to the low tariffs fixed for the electricity they are expected to generate.

The shortage of natural gas is also posing a problem as the output from the giant KG basin eastern offshore gas field, operated by the Reliance Industries, has fallen short of its target. The failure of Coal India Ltd to move out huge stockpiles of coal at the pitheads of its mines is also affecting existing power generation capacity, which is adding to the woes of the consumers.

Land acquisition for the power plants another hurdle as the government has been taking its time for formulating the new policy.

The estimated potential of the hydropower in the country has been put at 1,50,000 MW but only 30,000 MW has been harnessed. Sufficient investments are not being made in this segment despite a liberal policy, which allows the sale at market rates of up to 40 per cent of the total energy produced to the commercial sector.

The sharp rise in the interest rate - which has crossed the 13 per cent-mark - has also forced many power companies to take a relook at their investment plans since this has impacted the profitability of the proposed projects. Economists attribute the hardening of interest rates to the hawkish monetary policy of the RBI, which has raised key interest rates 12 times this year to control inflation.

Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/power-outages-power-sector-upa-government/1/155005.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt of a report in The Nation about an International Coal Conf in Karachi:

The international conference was told that Thar region of Sindh province is endowed with mammoth coal (lignite) reserves estimated to be 175 billion tonnes which can produce 100,000MW of electricity for next 300 years and can be a key to energy security and economic prosperity.
“The government has started working on the policy of retrofitting 5300MW of furnace oil based power plants to coal-based initially on imported coal and then on indigenous coal when available,” he (Minister Naveed Qamar) informed the audience.
Removing the misconceptions about Thar coal, Dr Marcos Leontidis, mining expert from Greece, said that the stripping ratio in Thar is around 6.6: 1, which is much better than many lignite mines in the world including Greece.
Dr Larry Thomas, coal expert from United Kingdom, said that sulphur content in Thar is acceptable being at 0.7%, which is lower than found in many other lignite resources already being used in the world and its moisture levels are same or even less than found in most of the lignite mines in the world. He further said the coal from Thar although may not be exportable to other countries but can be transported to be used in other parts of the province after drying.
Nigel Pickett from SRK-UK in his presentation said renewable energy cannot provide Pakistan reliable energy supplies due to its seasonal and cyclic nature. It has to be part of our energy mix to meet the peak demands and reduce fossil fuel consumption. Volatility of oil prices in 2007 brought heavy stress on the economy and indigenous coal provides the only option to achieve energy security for the country.
Zubair Motiwala, Chairman Sindh Board of Investment, briefed the forum about investment potential of Thar coal and said many international companies from China, South Korea, Germany, Czech Republic, Australia, UK and Turkey have shown their interest in investment in coal mining and power generation in Thar coal and also in the infrastructure projects. He also informed that the Government of Sindh is conducting 3rd International Competitive Bidding for blocks VIII, IX and X of Thar Coalfield and also blocks in Sonda and Badin for attracting international companies to develop coal mining and power generation projects in Sindh.
Mohammad Younus Dagha, Provincial Secretary Coal and Energy Development Department/MD Thar Coal and Energy Board stressed the need to create an ideal energy mix by replacing imported furnace oil to indigenous coal for power generation.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's David Brooks of NY Times on "shale gas revolution" in America:

The United States is a country that has received many blessings, and once upon a time you could assume that Americans would come together to take advantage of them. But you can no longer make that assumption. The country is more divided and more clogged by special interests. Now we groan to absorb even the most wondrous gifts.

A few years ago, a business genius named George P. Mitchell helped offer such a gift. As Daniel Yergin writes in “The Quest,” his gripping history of energy innovation, Mitchell fought through waves of skepticism and opposition to extract natural gas from shale. The method he and his team used to release the trapped gas, called fracking, has paid off in the most immense way. In 2000, shale gas represented just 1 percent of American natural gas supplies. Today, it is 30 percent and rising.

John Rowe, the chief executive of the utility Exelon, which derives almost all its power from nuclear plants, says that shale gas is one of the most important energy revolutions of his lifetime. It’s a cliché word, Yergin told me, but the fracking innovation is game-changing. It transforms the energy marketplace.

The U.S. now seems to possess a 100-year supply of natural gas, which is the cleanest of the fossil fuels. This cleaner, cheaper energy source is already replacing dirtier coal-fired plants. It could serve as the ideal bridge, Amy Jaffe of Rice University says, until renewable sources like wind and solar mature.

Already shale gas has produced more than half a million new jobs, not only in traditional areas like Texas but also in economically wounded places like western Pennsylvania and, soon, Ohio. If current trends continue, there are hundreds of thousands of new jobs to come.

Chemical companies rely heavily on natural gas, and the abundance of this new source has induced companies like Dow Chemical to invest in the U.S. rather than abroad. The French company Vallourec is building a $650 million plant in Youngstown, Ohio, to make steel tubes for the wells. States like Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York will reap billions in additional revenue. Consumers also benefit. Today, natural gas prices are less than half of what they were three years ago, lowering electricity prices. Meanwhile, America is less reliant on foreign suppliers.

All of this is tremendously good news, but, of course, nothing is that simple. The U.S. is polarized between “drill, baby, drill” conservatives, who seem suspicious of most regulation, and some environmentalists, who seem to regard fossil fuels as morally corrupt and imagine we can switch to wind and solar overnight.

The shale gas revolution challenges the coal industry, renders new nuclear plants uneconomic and changes the economics for the renewable energy companies, which are now much further from viability. So forces have gathered against shale gas, with predictable results.

The clashes between the industry and the environmentalists are now becoming brutal and totalistic, dehumanizing each side. Not-in-my-backyard activists are organizing to prevent exploration. Environmentalists and their publicists wax apocalyptic.

Like every energy source, fracking has its dangers. The process involves injecting large amounts of water and chemicals deep underground. If done right, this should not contaminate freshwater supplies, but rogue companies have screwed up and there have been instances of contamination.

The wells, which are sometimes beneath residential areas, are serviced by big trucks that damage the roads and alter the atmosphere in neighborhoods. A few sloppy companies could discredit the whole sector...........


Riaz Haq said...

Here's a NY Times story on India benefiting from plummeting prices of solar panels and solar energy:

Over the last decade, India has opened the state-dominated power-generating industry to private players, while leaving distribution and rate-setting largely in government hands. European countries heavily subsidize solar power by agreeing to buy it for decades at a time, but the subsidies in India are lower and solar operators are forced into to greater competition, helping push down costs.

This month, the government held its second auction to determine the price at which its state-owned power trading company — NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam — would buy solar-generated electricity for the national grid. The average winning bid was 8.77 rupees (16.5 cents) per kilowatt hour.

That is about twice the price of coal-generated power, but it was about 27 percent lower than the winning bids at the auction held a year ago. Germany, the world’s biggest solar-power user, pays about 17.94 euro cents (23 American cents) per kilowatt hour.

India still significantly lags behind European countries in the use of solar. Germany, for example, had 17,000 megawatts of solar power capacity at the end of 2010. But India, which gets more than 300 days of sunlight a year, is a more suitable place to generate solar power. And being behind is now benefiting India, as panel prices plummet, enabling it to spend far less to set up solar farms than countries that pioneered the technology.

In its solar power auctions, moreover, NTPC is not creating open-ended contracts. The last auction, for example, was for a total of only 350 megawatts, which will cap the government’s costs. The assumption is that the price of solar power will continue to decline, eventually approaching the cost of electricity generated through conventional methods.

Most Indian power plants are fueled by coal and generate electricity at about 4 rupees (7.5 cents) per kilowatt hour — less than half of solar’s cost now. In this month’s auction, the recent winning bids were comparable to what India’s industrial and commercial users pay for electricity — from 8 to 10 rupees. And solar’s costs are competitive with power plants and back-up generators that burn petroleum-based fuels, whose electricity costs about 10 rupees per kilowatt hour.

“At least during daytime, photovoltaic panels will compete with oil-generated electricity more than anything else” in India, said Cédric Philibert, a senior analyst at the International Energy Agency in Paris. “This comparison is becoming better and better every month.”

In addition to the federal government, several of India’s states like Gujarat, where Khadoda is located, are also buying power at subsidized rates from solar companies like Azure Power.

Analysts do not expect India’s solar rollout to be problem free. They say some developers have probably bid too aggressively in the federal auctions and may not be able to build their plants fast or cheap enough to survive. Consequently, or because their bids were speculative, some developers are trying to sell their government power agreements to third parties, analysts say, even though such flipping is against the auction rules.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's a report in The News about $10 billion Chinese investment in energy projects in Pakistan:

China’s state-owned Three Gorges Corp. plans to invest $10 billion by 2018 in Pakistan’s energy sector and a delegation is scheduled to visit Pakistan on February 7, officials said on Friday.

The Hong Kong-based United Energy Group Limited of China also intends to establish a 2,000 megawatts power project in Sindh as their delegation is also visiting Pakistan next month to hold further talks on setting up the power projects, they said.

Sindh Coal and Energy Department has signed memorandums of understating (MoU) with the two companies, which have shown interest in developing coal-fired power plants in Thar and Badin coal fields, as well, the officials said.

In an attempt to resolve the issue, the government is pinning hopes on Thar Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) pilot project, which contains the country’s largest coal deposits of around 850 trillion cubic feet spanning over 3,800 square miles, they said.

Overall, according to the World Energy Council, Pakistan has slightly more than 2,000 million tons of proven recoverable coal reserves.

Pakistan’s current electricity demand is around 25,000 megawatts per day, but the current electrical production is less than 20,000 megawatts per day, leaving a deficit of slightly more than 5,000 megawatts, and by 2015, domestic demand is projected to rise to 30,000 megawatts per day.

Currently, the country depends on oil and natural gas to generate up to 60 percent of its electricity needs, further impacting the country’s balance of payments as the price of oil rises and the ongoing power shortages are beginning to impact the country’s bottom-line exports, the officials said.

Member of the Science and Technology Planning Commission, Dr Samar Mubarakmand, has said that Thar coal project would be beneficial for common people and free from all defects.

The success of the Thar coal project would lead to investment from leading international companies, he said.

With the completion of coal-fired power generation project, the nation would get cheap and sufficient power supply, which would resolve the current energy crisis, he added.

Mubarakmand said that the country had enough coal reserves through which it could daily produce 50-60 million cubic feet gasifier, which would end gas shortage from the country.

It is for the first time that the coal gasification is being launched on commercial basis, which will help in abundant and cheap electricity.


Riaz Haq said...

Here are some promises by WAPDA as reported in The News:

“WAPDA is also working on projects that will generate 35,500 MW of hydroelectricity including 22,800 MW run of the river projects,” WAPDA Chairman Sahkeel Durrani said.

“We are committed to ensure that Pakistan takes full advantage of its hydroelectricity production potential,” he said.

The first unit of 96 MW hydropower project at Jinnah Barrage has already been commissioned and it would start operating on full capacity by the end of this year, he said.

Durrani said that the 121 MW Allai Khwar project at Battagram is almost complete and would start generating power within few months.

“Duber Khwar - a 130 MW hydroelectric project at Kohistan, is scheduled to generate full power by December 2012,” he added. In addition Satpara Dam is generating 17.36 MW of hydroelectricity.

The 72 MW Khan Khwar hydropower project in 2011 is already generating its installed capacity, Durrani said.

“This is a humble contribution of WAPDA to reduce the gap between demand and supply of electricity,” he said.

Work on high capacity hydroelectricity projects is in full swing. He said the feasibility study and detailed engineering and design of 7,100 MW Bunji project in Gilgit Baltistan has been completed and is currently under review of WAPDA experts.

He said feasibility study of Dasu Dam in Khyber Pakhtunkwa has been completed. This dam he added would store 1.15 million acres of water and produce 4320 MW hydro electricity. “Consultants for preparation of detailed design and tender documents have been mobilized,” he added.

“Hydroelectric power projects having the potential to recover cost in short time are darlings of world donor agencies,” he said. Finances for such projects are available with much ease than other power projects.

There are 17 run of the river power generation sites that have been identified by WAPDA experts and work on the feasibility studies on most of them have been initiated.

These include some high power potential projects like 2100 MW Tungas, 2800 MW Yulbo at Sakurdu, 2800 MW Thakott at Besham and 2800 Patan at Patan.

He expressed confidence that the speed of work at Neelum Jehlum Hydroelectric Project would accelerate as the high tech tunnel boring machines have arrived at site. He said this would help WAPDA to complete the 969 MW power project on schedule in 2016.

Durrani said the 496 MW Lower Spat Gah; 665 MW Lower Palas Valley; and 600 MW Mahl; run of the river projects would be completed under Public Private Partnership. He hoped that the private sector would come forwards to grab this lucrative opportunity.

Chairman Water and Power Development Authority hoped that resources for 896 MW Tarbela (extension) and 1401 MW Munda Dam would be soon mobilized. Munda with a storage capacity of 1.3 million acres feet (MAF) would also act as buffer against floods in Khyber Pakhtumkhwa.

He said Mangla raising would add 2.88 MAF of water in the reservoirs. He said 34 MAF additional water storage would be available after completion of Munda Dam, Dasu Dam, Gomasl Zam Dam and Satpara Dam. He said Diamer Basha and Khurram Tungi Dam - both of which are ready for construction would add 9.3 MAF in water reservoirs.

He said the current water storage capacity in the country is 11.91 MAF after depletion of 4.37 MAF due to silting in the existing dams.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's an update on Thar coal power plans as reported by Steelguru:

Business Recorder reported that the government will launch Interconnection of Thar Coal based 1200 MW Engro Power Plant with National Transmission & Despatch Company system' project at a cost of PKR 22.04 billion with the objective of providing consistent power supply to industrial, agricultural, commercial and domestic consumers.

The cost includes PKR 14.845 billion Foreign Exchange Component and PKR 7.19 local component. The project is likely to be financed by Japan International Cooperation Agency or through Irish Credit Bureau on buyer's credit basis and sponsored by the NTDC.

The location of the project is District Matiari, Sindh and it is aimed at providing adequate facilities for reliable and stable transmission of electrical power, keeping in view the growing demand of domestic, commercial, industrial and agricultural customers of Discos.

The project would disperse bulk power from 1200 MW Engro Power at Thar to up country by constructing 500kv D/C transmission lines, 250 kilometers long from the power plant at Thar to Matiari with extension at existing 500 KV grid station of Matiari.

Thar Coal Energy Board has been established to promote and facilitate the public and private sector coal industry. Thar coal deposits have been rapidly recognized as a major energy resource with the potential to transform the energy equations in the country. Therefore, initially the intent is to develop Thar coal mine for generation of electricity from two 1200 MW Power Plants one by Engro in private sector and another in public sector by PEPCO.

Ministry of Water and Power had decided in a meeting of Thar Coal Energy Board that NTDC would immediately prepare a work plan for providing the inter connection arrangements for dispersal of power of these power plants.

According to the document the NTDC has planned a transmission scheme for evacuation of power from 1200 MW Engro Power Plant with the following scope: considering that the proposed third 500 KV Jamshoro Moro RY.

Khan Transmission Line and 850 MW Wind Power plant is constructed before its completion. A MoU between PEPCO and Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company for detailed feasibility study had been signed.

Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company has carried out detailed feasibility study for coal mining for both power plants. The expected date of completion of the coal mining project is December 2015 while the two Thar coal based power plants of 1200 MW each is 2015 to 2016.

According to official sources, High Voltage Direct Current transmission lines will be required for evacuation of additional generation at Thar in the year 2015 to 2016 and onward as well as the power generated from the proposed power plant.

They said that in case future generation at Thar does not mature during the next two years while AES imported coal power plant and 1000 MW import of power from Iran does mature then 525km single circuit AC transmission line from Matiari to RY Khan would be required in future for the dispersal of this power.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Reuters' report on coal in Pakistan:

Yet it has one of the biggest, barely-touched, single coal reserves on the planet - the massive Thar coalfield in the northern Sindh province with 175 billion tonnes of extremely high water-content, low energy coal.

This kind of low-grade, watery coal is found in abundance in other countries, such as Indonesia, the world's biggest exporter, but it has not been economic to exploit in the past.

But high oil and gas prices, rising coal prices and new technology to dry out watery, gaseous coal or leave it in the ground but extract the gas from it instead, has prompted projects around the world.

The Pakistan government this year declared the Thar coal fields as a Special Economic Zone, with tax breaks and incentives to lure investors to develop coal gasification and mining as part of its strategy to fill the energy gulf.

"In five years, coal's contribution to the energy mix will reach 10 to 12 percent. It's minor at the moment," said Najib Balagamwala, Chief Executive Officer of Karachi-based trader Seatrade.

"The private sector is considering coal-fired plants very seriously, as there's margin there," he added.

Pakistan's energy mix has changed in recent years from mostly hydro to thermal, consisting of domestic gas and imported fuel oil, according to a report by the Asia Development Bank this month.
"The private sector is considering coal-fired plants very seriously, as there's margin there," he added.

Pakistan's energy mix has changed in recent years from mostly hydro to thermal, consisting of domestic gas and imported fuel oil, according to a report by the Asia Development Bank this month.

The supply-demand power gap at peak hours reached over 5,000 MW in financial year 2011, the ADB report said.

"The need for coal to fuel the rising demand for energy in Pakistan is well understood," said Shahrukh Khan, Chief Executive Officer of Oracle Coalfields PLC, which is developing mines in Sindh.

Of the 10 coal blocks in Thar, four have been drilled and explored by Oracle, Cougar Energy, SECMC and another un-named gasification project company, according to the Sindh province website on Thar.

Two Chinese firms are also looking to build gasification and coal mining projects in Thar, industry sources said.
The high water content of Pakistan's domestic coal makes it tricky to mine and transport long distances economically but mine-mouth power plants and coal gassification projects to capture and extract gas trapped in coal seams without mining it are much more viable, industry sources said.....


Riaz Haq said...

Here's a WSJ report on coal stocks surging again:

Coal stocks are helping lead the way for energy shares, which is the best-performing sector of the S&P 500 today after getting repeatedly creamed amid renewed worries about coal’s future.

Some supporters, it turns out, haven’t fled town.

FBR recently reiterated its view that as cheap as natural gas is, it won’t come close to displacing coal in the U.S. power fleet any time soon. Most of the utilities that have the capacity to switch to gas already have, they argue.

And exports, seen as a potential safety valve for unwanted U.S. power-plant coal, nearly tripled in March from a year earlier, Nomura notes.

Strict federal air pollution regulations likely to limit new U.S. coal-plant construction will do little to cool growing appetites for the fuel in China and India. U.S. miners are scrambling to expand export facilities to take advantage of that.

Plus, some stocks were just starting to look cheap; shares of Patriot Coal and Alpha Natural Resources, each recently up more than 8%, had each sank by more than 70% throughout the last year. Peabody Energy, up 7.4%, and Arch Coal, up 6.8%, also catch the boost.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's a NY Times report on India's fuel shortages hurting electricity generation:

India — India has long struggled to provide enough electricity to light its homes and power its industry around the clock. In recent years, the government and private sector sought to change that by building scores of new power plants.

But that campaign is now running into difficulties because the country cannot get enough fuel — principally coal — to run the plants. Clumsy policies, poor management and environmental concerns have hampered the country’s efforts to dig up fuel fast enough to keep up with its growing need for power.

A complex system of subsidies and price controls has limited investment, particularly in resources like coal and natural gas. It has also created anomalies, like retail electricity prices that are lower than the cost of producing power, which lead to big losses at state-owned utilities. An unsettled debate about how much of its forests India should turn over to mining has also limited coal production.

The power sector’s problems have substantially contributed to a second year of slowing economic growth in India, to an estimated 7 percent this year, from nearly 10 percent in 2010. Businesses report that more frequent blackouts have forced them to lower production and spend significantly more on diesel fuel to run backup generators.

The slowdown is palpable at Sowmya Industries, a small company that makes metal shutters that hold wet concrete in place while it solidifies into columns and beams, a crucial tool for the construction industry.

The company, located outside this city on the southeast coast of India, is struggling with several issues, including a 20 percent increase in the price of raw materials and falling orders.

But Sowmya’s manager, R. Narasimha Murthy, said the lack of reliable power was an even bigger problem. His company loses three hours of power every evening. And all day on Wednesdays and Saturdays — euphemistically called “power holidays” — it receives only enough electricity to turn on the lights but not enough to use its large metal-cutting machines.
A major problem is the anemic production of coal, which provides 55 percent of India’s electricity. Coal production increased just 1 percent last year while power plant capacity jumped 11 percent. Some electricity producers have been importing coal, but that option has become more untenable recently because India’s biggest supplier, Indonesia, has doubled coal prices.
For many businesses, the power shortage has become debilitating.

In the southern state of Tamil Nadu, Srihari Balakrishnan, a textile factory owner, said he goes through 6,300 gallons of diesel fuel on an average day to keep his operation running, spending $3,000 more than he would if power were available around the clock.

“We are not able to use 20 to 30 percent of our capacity,” he said. “We can’t use grid power for two full days of the week. When we have power, we have a six-hour cut,” he added, using an Indian term for blackouts.
Other companies are also stuck. Reliance Power, controlled by the investor Anil Ambani, says it has stopped construction on a large electricity plant nearby because it can no longer afford to buy coal from Indonesia as planned.


Coal said...

The investment into alternative power generating technologies such as nuclear energy may need to be measured against the potential cost when things turn against you as unfortunately happened this year in Japan. Coal prices and coal statistics show developing economies are more likely to increase their investment into & their use of coal mining in coming years because of coal's affordability and ability to quickly meet increasing demands for electricity and steel. www.coalportal.com

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BR report on 50MW Chinese coal plants in Pakistan:

Established in 1990, Ghazi Fabrics International manufactures and exports yarns, including the Panther brand, to the Far East and European markets. Set up as the first composite unit of its kind and scale in the country, the Company's manufacturing units currently have an installed capacity of over 50,000 spindles ranking it among large spinning/weaving companies in the country.

The Company also operates a sister concern, Ghazi Power, which maintains a 20 megawatt captive power plant. Not sufficing with innovations within the textile sector, the Company is also venturing into cattle breeding and other initiatives. Director, Ghazi Fabrics, Kamran Arshad shared with BR Research, the mindset behind the progressive Company. The following are excerpts from this encounter:

BRR: What are the major milestones for the Company?

Kamran Arshad: In 1990, after acquiring land for setting up the facilities, we became the first company at that time to establish three textile mills in a single location simultaneously. Starting off with such a large base also brought along some teething concerns, as we did not have room to be able to learn from our mistakes before expanding. Partly as a result of this, we did not grow at the same rate as some of the other significant players. On the other hand, we are among very few companies that have never defaulted. We have always maintained good standing with all lenders and financial institutions and we are a very strong contributor to the national exchequer in the form of taxes.
BRR: Has the Company considered coal based power generation?

KA: As a matter of fact, we are considering that and what we have found is that coal based power generation is feasible, if there is sufficient steam utilisation. If that happens, the tariff is similar to that offered by SNGPL. In China, there has been a recent shift in government policy regarding coal based power plants. Earlier that government had been promoting the establishment of such power plants, but now after the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, the Chinese government has ordered that all coal based power plants with a generation capacity of fewer than 50 megawatts, should be shutdown within two years.

As a consequence, these power plants are selling at half the price of a new plant. We believe there is an opportunity for Pakistan here and I am personally quite sure that some entrepreneurs will venture into bringing a power plant here from China. The composition of the coal produced in this country, be it from Thar or from Chakwal; is quite comparable to the Chinese variety so these power plants will require a few if any modifications.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's John Daly of OilPrice.com on coal energy plans in Pakistan:

Pakistan has glimpsed its energy future, and it is brown – coal, to be exact.

Sindh Engro Coal Mining Co. is developing the $3 billion Thar Coal mining project in partnership with the government of Sindh. The Thar project is expected to produce 100 megawatts of electricity by 2016 using Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) technology. The Thar UCG pilot project is situated in the Tharparkar desert in Sindh eastern Pakistan.

UCG converts coal to gas while still in the coal seam, where injection wells are drilled and used to supply the oxidants to ignite and fuel the underground combustion process, with separate production wells bringing the resultant gas to the surface. The high pressure combustion is conducted at temperatures of 1,290–1,650 degrees Fahrenheit, but can reach up to 2,730 degrees Fahrenheit. The process produces carbon monoxide and dioxide, hydrogen and methane.

Boosters of the Thar UCG project note that Block Number 5 of Thar Coal Project contains 1.4 billion tons of low-grade lignite coal reserves. Overall the coal reserves at Thar are estimated at 175 billion tons of lignite coal.

The project is being driven by Pakistan’s dire electricity situation. With about 50 percent less electricity generation capability than the actual demand, Pakistan’s National Grid currently faces more than a 5,000-megawatt shortfall in power generation, leading to blackouts in both urban and rural areas of the country. Due to unscheduled shortages by the National Power Control Center, urban areas are now subjected to unscheduled minimum 8-hour power blackouts each day, while in some parts of the country, blackouts can last up to 22 hours.

So, where will the $3 billion financing come from? According to Sindh Engro Coal Mining Co. CEO Shamsuddin A. Shaikh, “The bulk of financing will be arranged from China - we may also seek funds from other places if need be.”

Interestingly, the Thar project may also improve relations with India. When asked about Thar's geographical proximity to India and the possibility of Indian participation in Thar Shaikh replied, “Yes, that's something we have in mind. India is supposed to develop an additional 100,000 megawatts based on coal in the next five years. India currently generates more than 50 percent of their electricity from coal, using about 450 million tons of coal every year. Most of that is indigenous and about 50 million tons is imported coal. They will need to import coal, we can utilize the railway line, which will be serving our own plants as well, to export coal to India. We can also put up a power plant at the mine mouth and export electricity to India. The economics are very much there, but India-Pakistan relations are always more delicate than just the economics. A plus point of working with Indians is that they have immense knowledge and experience of coal. They have been dealing with over 400 million tons of coal per annum for a number of years. It makes more sense for us to use their expertise instead of having experts from China or anywhere else.”..


Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Washington Post piece on India's thirst for energy:

Like China two decades ago and the United States in 1950, India stands on the cusp of transformational economic and social change, a jumping-off point at which the demand for electricity is about to explode.

Its economy and population are among the fastest growing in the world, and it has ambitious and energy-intensive plans to develop its infrastructure and industrial base. But business leaders are crying out for uninterrupted power supplies, and a third of India’s population is not even connected to the national grid.
Every modern, industrial society in history has gone through a 20-year period “where there was extremely large investment in the power sector, and electricity made the transition from a privilege of an urban elite to something every family would have,” Varro said. “India is right now just at that jump point.”

Whether it succeeds in meeting that demand could be the single most important determinant of India’s economic prospects over the next two decades, one of the main factors that will decide whether the country can continue to pull hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and realize its ambitions to be a 21st-century economic powerhouse.
But even if India finds the fuel it needs to power its generators, it is not clear how it will pay for the electricity they produce.

State electricity distribution companies across India are mostly bankrupt, forced by their political masters to give power away — free to farmers to run water pumps to irrigate their land, and at below-cost prices to everyone else. Theft and losses of power amount to 28 to 30 percent of output, further bleeding the distributors of resources.

Nationally, separate ministries for coal, gas, power and renewable energy routinely fail to coordinate.

“Policymaking in the energy sector is rather fragmented, and we really don’t have a forward vision,” said Rajendra Pachauri, who won the Nobel Prize in 2007 for his work as head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Pachauri forecasts that if India continues on its path of “business as usual,” it will have to import unimaginable, and unfeasible, amounts of coal and oil in two decades.

A failure to invest properly in researching and developing renewable energy also threatens environmental ruin. “India can’t possibly continue on the path we are on,” he said.

Charles Ebinger, director of the Energy Security Initiative at the Brookings Institution in Washington, said the difficulties that India faces in meeting its rising energy demand “would pose a serious political challenge for a well-run government — and that certainly isn’t the case here.”

He said the country could struggle to hold its own against other emerging economies, including Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa, countries that with India constitute what is known as the BRICS group.

“If I had to bet, I would say there is a greater possibility of India failing to meet the challenge than of meeting it,” Ebinger said. “You will see India slip down, out of the ranks of the fast-growing BRICS emerging markets, and you will see more political disturbances when energy fails.”


Riaz Haq said...

Here's a News report on Pak energy policy encouraging Thar coal-fired power plant development:

Of course, it was not an easy decision in the context of country’s squeezed financial resources as elaborated by Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf himself while presiding over a recent meeting of Thar Coal and Energy Board at PM Secretariat the other day in which the request of Sindh government for modelling of two Jamshoro plants on coal source was not only accepted but also made the basis of switching the entire thermal generation industry to coal.

During this meeting, the prime minister admitted that, given the financial constraints, it was very difficult to give sovereign guarantees nevertheless he directed the Ministry of Finance to arrange sovereign guarantee for Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC), a joint venture of Sindh government and Engro Power Generation, with the sole objective of starting work, without further delay, on coal-based generation. The first two projects include one existing 800MW unit and another new 600MW unit, both located in Jamshoro, Sindh. These two plants would be redesigned and designed, respectively, as per Thar coal specifications and this conversion would be financed by ADB.
the SECMC and Engro Corporation are working on $1.3 billon integrated coal mining and power project in Thar area. The project covers mining of 6.5 million tonnes of coal and generation of1200 MW power. It is a matter of national pride to note that the Thar lignite (coal) resources of 175 billion tonnes constitute the sixth largest reserve in the world (however, total national coal reserves amount to 185.5 billion tonnes). For sure, these resources present an opportunity for development into a sustainable fossil fuel reserve that has the capability of meeting a large portion of Pakistan’s energy needs.


Here's an ET report on ADB supporting Thar coal-fired plants development:


The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has dispelled the impression that the bank has some reservations about the viability of Thar coal consumption in power plants, but at the same time it lays stress on the importance of environmental standards and project timelines.

ADB Country Director Werner Liepach highlighted the issues in a meeting between Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and ADB board of directors at Chief Minister House on Wednesday.

Speaking about the potential of Thar coal, the chief minister said coal was the most feasible fuel for power plants, which were being switched to coal. A new 600-megawatt coal-based power plant is also being set up at Jamshoro with the aim of diversifying the fuel mix and moving away from expensive imported furnace oil...
Officials of the provincial government told the meeting that international environmental standards would be followed in Thar coal mining. They also said any timing mismatch between conversion of existing power plants into coal and readiness of coalmine at Thar block-II would be covered by Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company through imported coal of Thar specification.

It was agreed that the ADB and Sindh government would work for a better understanding and push ahead with different projects. An amount of $105 million will be extended for such projects.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's Power Engineering report on Japanese investment in Pak coal power transmission project:

ISLAMABAD, Nov. 3 -- Japan has offered to support Thar Coal power projects and construct transmission line to inter link the project with national grid.

Japanese Ambassador to Pakistan, Hiroshi OE stated this during a meeting with the Federal Minister for Water and Power, Ch. Ahmed Mukhtar here on Thursday.

During the meeting, the Ambassador discussed various matters of mutual interest, energy situation and current political situation.

The Ambassador expressed his views on investment opportunities in Pakistan and observed that the investment environment is better here in Pakistan so that Japanese companies are interested to put their capital in Pakistan in various projects. He also offered to invest in the Mangla Dam power extension project. He assured that Japan would continue its financial and technical support for social sector development. The Ambassador also appreciated the current recovery drive of the Ministry of Water and Power and said that it would help to increase the cash flow for power generation.

The Minister while welcoming the envoy appreciated the Japanese offers and said that the government is taking all possible measures for generation of cheap electricity. He said that the indigenous resources are being utilized for future projects to generate affordable energy. He said that a wind power project would start generation next couple of month while the other wind projects would be completed next year. Mr. Mukhtar also asked the Ambassador to invest in the wind, solar and other hydel power projects.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET piece on energy situation in Pakistan:

..Since Pakistan came into being, people have been facing loadshedding due to shortage of power supply, with frequent outages affecting economy in many ways.

Uncountable working hours have been lost, leading to an increase in poverty and economic loss of billions of rupees to the country. Surprisingly, it is happening despite the fact that only about 60% of the population has access to electricity. According to the World Energy Statistics 2011, published by the International Energy Agency (IEA), Pakistan’s per capita electricity consumption is one-sixth of the world average.

World average per capita electricity consumption is 2,730 kilowatt hours (kwh) compared to Pakistan’s per capita electricity consumption of 451 kwh.

According to the Pakistan Energy Year Book 2011, the country’s installed power generation capacity is 22,477 megawatts and demand is approximately the same. The country needs to redesign the electricity portfolio and substitute oil and gas with an abundantly available indigenous fuel source. It must develop indigenous energy resources to meet future electricity needs and can overcome energy crisis by utilising untapped coal reserves.

Fortunately, Pakistan has a very inexpensive source to get energy through coal. Coal is economically viable and a long-term solution to balance the demand and supply chain of electricity in the country, which has the fifth largest coal deposits in the world.

According to last estimates made in 2011, coal deposits in the country are up to 185 billion tons. The largest deposits are in Thar desert, which is about 850 trillion cubic feet spanning over 10,000 square kilometers, surprisingly more than the oil reserves in Saudi Arabia having a collective quantity of approximately 375 billion barrels.

At present, 40.6% of world’s electricity is being generated from coal and it is the single largest contributor to world electricity generation. By looking at the electricity generation mix of the countries that are blessed with coal, it is evident that coal is the largest contributor.

Countries like Poland, South Africa, China, India, Australia, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Germany, USA, UK, Turkey, Ukraine and Japan are generating 96%, 88%, 78%, 78%, 77%, 72%, 69.9%, 52.5%, 52%, 37%, 31.3%, 27.5% and 22.9% of electricity from coal respectively. In comparison, Pakistan generates only 2.27% of electricity through coal.

However, coal reserves of only Thar can generate 20,000MW of electricity for the next 40 years without loadshedding and at a rate Rs4 less than the current cost of electricity production. The government has given the task to experts to enhance energy efficiency by focusing on coal and ensure large scale power generation through this resource.


At the International Coal Conference 2011, Pakistan had invited investors from around the world, encouraging them to pour money into coal power projects as the country initially requires $1.2 billion to build power generation infrastructure in Thar. Japan is keen to finance transmission lines from the Thar coalfield to the national grid and Chinese companies have expressed interest in developing coal-based power plants in Thar and Badin.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET story on decline in circular debt:

The good news is that circular debt in the energy sector is going down. The bad news is that it is doing so for all the wrong reasons.

Circular debt has now become shorthand for the crippling string of financial liabilities that energy companies owe each other because the federal government fails to live up to its promise to pay out energy subsidies that it announces as vote pleasers. This debt has resulted in a massive cash shortage virtually all along the energy chain and significantly reduced the ability of power companies to operate at full capacity, which in turn causes massive power outages throughout the country, particularly during the summer months of peak demand.

But now at last, it appears that the government is paying out what it owes in subsidy payments. Azfar Naseem and Sateesh Balani, research analysts at Elixir Securities, an investment bank, estimate that total circular debt throughout the energy chain has not only stopped growing, but has shrunk by about Rs137 billion during the first six months of the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013.

Part of this reduction has come from higher subsidy payouts to the energy sector from the finance ministry, which rose to Rs160 billion between July 1 and December 20 of this year, about 5% higher than the net payouts throughout the whole previous fiscal year that ended June 30, 2012.

Another significant chunk came when the government effectively forced the state-owned Oil & Gas Development Company (the largest company in Pakistan by market capitalisation) to buy about Rs82 billion in government bonds meant to clear out the outstanding liabilities. The bonds do not mean that the government has paid out its liability: they just mean that they forced OGDC to pay the rest of the energy chain and promised to pay OGDC back.
The government was given this fiscal breathing room by the inflow from the United States in the form of $1.1 billion in outstanding dues on account of the Coalition Support Fund. That entire amount, by some accounts coming out of the finance ministry, was spent on power subsidies. Yet the government may well be running out of accounting tricks to patch up the power sector before the elections.

The reason the government has tried to juggle around its scarce cash reserves is because it wants to make sure that the power companies have enough cash to buy the fuel they need to keep the lights on in the country, at least most of the time, in the run-up to the elections, expected around May 2013.

These techniques appear to be having at least some positive impact: the outstanding receivables at Pakistan State Oil, the largest oil retailer in the country, are down by almost 40% to around Rs120 billion. Receivables at Hub Power Company and Kot Addu Power Company (which supplies politically important regions of southern Punjab) are also down substantially....


Riaz Haq said...

Here's ET on ADB not objecting to Thar coal:


Engro Corporation President and CEO Muhammad Aliuddin Ansari has stated that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) does not object to financing the switchover of thermal power plants to Thar coal.

“The directors of ADB have met me and the chief minister of Sindh and said that they had no objection to the conversion of power plants to Thar coal and are ready to finance [such projects],” he told The Express Tribune.

The revelation comes on the heels of the Ministry of Water and Power’s claim that the ADB is not ready to finance the conversion of power plants to Thar coal, and that the lending authority would finance power plants that run only on imported coal.

Ansari also said he is ready to travel to Manila along with a delegation from the water and power ministry to meet ADB officials and negotiate a financing deal for such projects.

Ansari recalled that it had been decided in a special board meeting of the Thar Coal Energy Board (TCEB) on October 3, 2012, chaired by the prime minister of Pakistan, that existing oil-based power plants should be modified and redesigned to Thar coal specifications, and that new coal-based plants should also be designed keeping the same specifications in mind.

It was also decided in the meeting that agreements would be signed between power generation companies and the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) for the supply of coal for an existing 420 megawatt (MW) power plant in Jamshoro, as well as a new 600MW power plant to be built in the same location. These agreements were to be finalised and signed within a week, but never materialised.

Ansari said that Pakistan was facing a circular debt issue due to the poor energy mix employed by generation companies, and that conversion of power plants to run on Thar coal could address this issue. He claimed that Thar held the future of Pakistan, and reiterated that all future power plants should be designed on Thar coal specifications.

“Not only has the fuel mix shifted from gas to furnace oil, the price of furnace oil has increased four times in the last five years. This has increased the furnace oil bill by 461%, whereas power generation through furnace oil has increased by only 79%,” said a handout provided by Engro Corp as part of the interview.

Ansari said that Indonesia and India both held coal reserves that were similar in specification to the coal available in Thar. He remarked that India is expected to become a major market for coal by 2016: it already imports significant quantities to meet its needs....


Riaz Haq said...

Here's ET on ADB funding of coal power in Pakistan:


Giving in to the pressure from an international lender, the government has reversed its decision on consuming domestic coal for power generation as the Council of Common Interests has approved using a blend of imported and Thar coal in power plants.

The move will pave the way for an early sanction of a $900 million loan by the Asian Development Bank that will go for the construction of a 600-megawatt coal-fired power plant at Jamshoro and for switching an existing 600MW power plant to coal.

According to sources in the finance ministry, further discussions on the $900 million loan will be held with ADB Director General of Central and West Asia Department Klaus Gerhaeusser, who was due to arrive on Wednesday.

During his two-day visit, Gerhaeusser will meet Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and Water and Power Minister Ahmad Mukhtar. He will also hold meetings to review communication projects.

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf had placed a ban on imported coal-powered plants in a bid to encourage consumption of Thar coal in such projects. However, the ADB resisted the move and refused to extend loans for Thar coal-based power plants.

The bank was of the view that higher dependence on lignite would increase pollution, which was against the environmental policy of the lending agency.

Following the ADB’s decision, the federal government placed the case in a meeting of the CCI – a constitutional body headed by the prime minister with all chief ministers as members – on January 23. According to official documents, the CCI decided that “instead of using only Thar coal, a blend of imported and Thar coal will be used in the 600MW Jamshoro plant.”

In this meeting, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, who actively promotes mining and consumption of Thar coal, was also present.

CCI also decided that the Ministry of Water and Power would work out further details in deliberations with representatives of the ADB.

Apart from the ADB, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has also expressed interest in constructing power plants in Pakistan, besides laying a power transmission lines from Thar to Matiari.

In the past many years, heavy reliance on furnace oil has disturbed the country’s energy mix. Against a one-third share of thermal power generation earlier, the ratio has increased to three-fourths. The recent emphasis on the shift to coal is aimed at tackling the runaway circular debt that has plagued the entire energy chain, forcing the government to spend billions of rupees every month to prop up the energy system.

According to a government official, it was not yet clear whether Pakistan will again take up the issue of financing the Diamer Basha Dam with the ADB director general.

However, he said these days the dam, costing $11.3 billion, was not the top priority of the government, which has shifted funds meant for the dam to another project, the Neelum Jhelum hydropower plant. An amount of Rs1 billion has also been diverted to the PM’s discretionary funds.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Dawn report on KESC's plans to invest $500 million in Karachi power infrastructure:

KESC would invest about $500 million for setting up of coal-based power plants, improvement in transmission and distribution systems in Karachi during the next five years, said Tabish Gohar, chairman, KESC board of directors here on Thursday.

A five-member KESC delegation briefed the Minister for Water and Power, Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar, on plans to improve power supply situation in Karachi.

Mr Gohar said that the Bin Qasim power plant would be converted on imported and local coal to generate 400MW cheaper electricity with an investment of $300 million.

The conversion plan would take almost 20 months to complete.

The KESC would spend $80 million on conversion of gas-based plants on combined cycle, while $80 million would be spent on smart grid station that would help improvement and transmission system.

The KESC chairman said that due to investment plan, the power system in Karachi would improve, and power thefts and line losses would be checked.

He also briefed the minister on outsourcing of some of its feeders and future plans to meet the electricity requirements.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's a report on new investment in coal-fired power plant in Karachi:

Companies from the United Arab Emerites and China have inked an accord to develop the first phase of 500 (4×125) megawatts (MW) power plant at Port Qasim Karachi.

Burj Power, based in UAE, is a development and advisory firm focused on projects in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Harbin Electric International Co Ltd out of China is the technical partner.

The first plant is expected to become operational by 2016.

The Express Tribune reports that the total investment will be between $650 million and $700 million.



Riaz Haq said...

Here's a PakistanToday report on Sindh coal plans:

KARACHI - The Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) and Government of Sindh broke ground on Thursday to mark the beginning of coal extraction project at Thar Coal block II.
Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah attended the groundbreaking ceremony, along with the other government officials and Senior Management of Engro Corporation, says a statement issued by Engro Corporation. Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company is a joint venture between Engro Corporation and Government of Sindh. The SECMC has completed the feasibility study on Thar Coal project, confirming the technical, commercial and environmental viability of the project.
All the required government approvals have been obtained and the Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) has approved $700 million sovereign guarantee for the project. The mining project, which will cost US$ 1.3 billion, is likely to start later this year and is expected to take less than four years for completion. Speaking the occasion, Ali Ansari - President and CEO Engro Corporation said, “For over four decades Engro has been a part of Pakistan’s economic landscape sharing the various challenges and triumphs that the country has offered.
As a good corporate citizen, our investments in Thar Coal project today are a preliminary step towards building the capacity, which will foster a more developed and energy-efficient Pakistan. Investments in Thar Coal are not only the need of the hour but also make sound economic sense.” On the occasion, Shamsuddin A. Shaikh - CEO Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company said, “Thar has an enormous energy potential. SECMC’s Thar Block-2 can produce 4000 MW for next 50 years. Total foreign exchange savings for 4000 MW of Thar coal based power plants are estimated at more than US$ 50 billion for life of the project.
The strategic investment and development of the Thar Coal Block II will not only help alleviate the chronic energy crisis of the country but also usher in a new era of prosperity for the people of Sindh and ultimately the people of Pakistan.
The project will yield 4,000 new direct and indirect job opportunities for the local community. The SECMC applauds the support and efforts of the Sindh Government and reiterates its firm commitment to fulfil all its obligations in a timely manner, which will bring energy security to Pakistan and accelerate the industrial development in the country.
The Engro Corporation Limited is one of Pakistan’s largest conglomerates with businesses ranging from fertilizers to power generation. Currently Engro Corporation’s portfolio consists of seven businesses, which include chemical fertilizers, PVC resin, a bulk liquid chemical terminal, foods, power generation and commodity trade.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's Express Tribune on private sector jumping in to add power generation capacity:

After five years of unbearably long daily power outages, Pakistan’s private sector has had enough: over the next five years, they plan on investing over $14.3 billion in increasing the nation’s power production capacity by nearly 46%, and they are doing so by investing in the cheapest possible sources of electricity.

According to data released by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) in its 2012 State of the Industry report, private sector firms have already begun work on dozens of projects that would substantially increase the country’s electricity generation capacity. For the purposes of this special report, we include only those projects that are scheduled to be completed by the end of the next administration’s term in 2018.

If the next administration were to do absolutely nothing to prevent or slow down the progress currently being made on projects that are already approved and progressing, Pakistan’s power generation capacity will increase to 34,200 megawatts (MW), compared to the approximately 23,500MW today. Of that increase, more than 80% is coming through private sector initiatives.

Yet it is not just the private sector’s initiative that deserves to be applauded: it is also their foresight. Nearly all of the private sector projects scheduled to come online use the cheapest fuels possible. These firms are scheduled to add about 4,900MW to the nation’s hydroelectric power generating capacity, for example. Another 800MW will be added in terms of gas-fired thermal power plants. And nearly 3,000MW will be added or converted to coal and bagasse (a waste product from sugar manufacturing).

Residents of Karachi should rejoice in particular: the Karachi Electric Supply Company is converting 840MW of oil-fired thermal power stations to coal, which will dramatically increase the country’s only private utility’s ability to generate cheaper electricity. Put simply, this will mean even fewer power outages in Karachi.

The private sector’s focus appears not only towards fuel sources that are cheap, but also easily available. Natural gas, for instance, is possibly the cheapest source electricity, cost an average of Rs4.24 per kilowatt-hour, according to Nepra. But the bulk of the investment is going towards hydroelectricity, which, according to Nepra’s tariff determination, is expected to cost Rs5.43 per unit for the first 12 years of a project’s life, while the debt used to finance the plants is still being paid off, following which the tariff will be reduced to Rs2.47 per unit.

The preference for hydroelectricity has to do with the fact that Pakistan’s natural gas reserves are rapidly being depleted and importing gas is far more difficult than importing coal. Power plants that run on imported coal can produce electricity for an average of Rs10 per unit, according to industry experts, much cheaper than the Rs16 per unit that oil-fired thermal plants cost.

Compared to the $14.3 billion being invested by the private sector, the government is planning to invest just over $2.5 billion over the next five years to upgrade its power infrastructure, which will add about 2,100MW of electricity generating capacity over the next five years, the overwhelming bulk of which will be in thermal power plants that can run on both oil and gas.

The picture, of course, is not completely rosy. Power projects are notorious for not meeting their deadlines so it is possible that the next administration will not see all of these projects come to fruition during its term. But given the private sector’s commitment to solving Pakistan’s energy problems, the least the government can do is not create hurdles in their way. It will only help their own re-election chances.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's a National Geographic piece on Thar coal development in Pakistan:

The current acute energy crisis in Pakistan, certainly the worst of all times is heating up an indigenous extractive resource scramble in a remote part of Pakistan with unusual demographics. The Tharparker District or simply the Thar Desert located in the southeastern province of Sindh is under spot light because of a 175 billion tons of estimated coal reserves lying beneath its surface. These reserves have been known for around two decades, but only recently has development gained momentum to generate power in order to propel the country’s ailing economy. The signs of a resource boom are already animating the dull landscape of the region – roads, airports, site offices, power lines, guest houses and rising real estate price are evident. Near the town of Islamkot, an underground coal gassification pilot project represents the scale of possible change where workers sourced from local communities rest their heads after long-hour shifts.

Understanding the quandary faced by the residents of the Thar Desert took me to several villages situated in the vicinity of the coal fields to gather some basic ethnographic data on community perceptions of the project. Tharparker is home to around 1.5 million people stretching its boundaries with Indian Rajasthan and the Great Ran of Kutch salt marsh. The indigenous communities of Menghwar, Kolhi and Bheel make up a large part of the rural human settlement. The land is famous for rippling sand dunes, distinct folklore, rain-starved shrubs, drying wells, bottomed indicators of health, poverty and education and the most food insecure district in the country. One of the villages Mauakharaj of Tharparker, just beside an airport being built to host coal companies, has abject poverty and deprivation. The whole village is culturally and socially crippled because of fluorosis; a disease caused by consumption of excessive fluoride in groundwater, with no remedy and still people compelled to use it.
The conversation did not lead to consensus on what approach should be dominant but there was a agreement that Thar coal development should not be a first resort but much further down the priority scale for addressing Pakistan’s energy crisis. As Pakistan’s election approaches, energy is a ballot issue and polemics are rife on panacea solutions. It is high time that Pakistanis consider their energy predicament with a multifaceted strategy that transcends petty nationalism so that communal harmony is not compromised for short-term and inefficient power solutions.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Express Tribune report on Engro-KESC deal for coal electricty:

Karachi Electric Supply Company and Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) inked a memorandum of understanding to construct a power generation project capable of producing 600 megawatts (MW) at Thar coal field.
According to the agreement, SECMC – a joint-venture between Engro Powergen and the Government of Sindh – will develop a 600MW Mine Mouth Power Plant in Thar field’s block 2, whereas KESC will purchase power from the plant to meet the rising power demand in Karachi and adjoining areas of Sindh and Balochistan, according to a press statement on Wednesday.
Both the parties believe that the agreement will serve as the base for a mutually beneficial partnership for future progress and development of one of largest coal reserves of Pakistan.
The two companies acknowledged that coal from Thar had the potential to address the country’s severe power shortages and bring energy security which is indispensable for economic growth.
The Thar Coal Power Project aims to provide affordable and sustainable electricity to consumers using domestic resources. Reliance on indigenous fuel is likely to save billions of dollars in foreign exchange currently spent on import of the expensive alternative furnace oil, cutting the overall cost of power generation.
After the signing ceremony, Sheikh said, “Thar coal is a project of national security as it will bring much-needed energy security to propel the nation into an era of prosperity and development. SECMC’s Thar block 2 alone can produce 5,000MW for the next 50 years, amounting to an estimated foreign exchange savings of $50 billion throughout the life of the project. This project will demonstrate maturity and capability of corporate sector to join hands and synergise on national level.”


Riaz Haq said...

Here's a GlobalPost report on coal conversion of gas-oil-fired power plants in Pakistan:

Pakistan has asked the Manila-based Asian Development Bank to help finance two coal-fired power units at the Jamshoro thermal power station in Sindh, a senior official of Pakistan's Water and Power Development Authority told Kyodo News this week.

Zafar Umar Farooqi, chief engineer at the authority, said Pakistan had initially sought a $433 million ADB loan for one 600-megawatt unit but the bank has now been asked to consider a loan for two units.

He said the size of ADB loan will be decided after consultations with the bank, but he indicated the total cost of Jamshoro project would be around $1.5 billion.

The government-owned WAPDA operates an 850-MW oil-gas fired thermal power plant at Jamshoro at less than 40 percent of its capacity because of a shortage of fuel oil and gas.

The ADB loan will be used to convert the existing plant to coal and set up an additional coal-fired plant at the site, increasing installed capacity at Jamshoro to 2,050 MW.

The government has already invited expressions of interest from consultants to oversee construction at Jamshoro, which is about 150 kilometers northeast of Karachi and uses water from the Indus River for cooling.

Pakistan has long examined setting up coal-fired power plants to use its own lignite coal, but efforts have been unsuccessful because of the high ash content in the coal.

Ismail Khan, senior external relations officer for the ADB for Pakistan, said the new units at Jamshoro would be designed to use mixed local and imported coal, most probably from Indonesia.

Farooqi said separate tenders will be invited for conversion of existing Jamshoro plant from oil-gas to coal.

Pakistan has an acute power shortage and the new government of Pakistan Muslim League (N) has given top priority to increasing power generation.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Express Tribune report on Islamic Development Bank (IDB) funding for energy projects in Pakistan:

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) ) on Monday announced its commitment for $850 million support for development projects in Pakistan.
According to a release, the support was announced as a five member IDB delegation headed by the institution’s vice president Birama Boubacar Sidibe called on Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in Islamabad on Monday.
Sidibe said that the IDB was prepared to disburse $850 million dollars in addition to the 750 million Euros in support and the $150 million in trade assistance it had approved and started paying in August. The fresh project assistance to Pakistan will be provided over the next three years.
The IDB VP informed Dar that he expects project Pakistan plans to undertake in future would make IDB one of its largest operations. “Your priority is our priority” said Sidibe.
In addition to the financial assistance, Sidibe said that the IDB was also ready to constitute consortiums for financing projects in Pakistan.
The finance minister said that Pakistan looks forward to stronger and better economic relations with IDB in the future.
Sidibe added that Pakistan is an important member country of the IDB. He added that Pakistan’s support of the agency had played some part in helping it secure a AAA ranking from international rating agencies.
Dar briefed the delegation on status of ongoing power projects in Pakistan including the 969 MW Nelum Jhehum Hydropower Project which the IDB is financing. The finance minister hoped that the project, whose cost had tripled due to neglect of the previous government, would be completed by 2016.
Similarly, work on the 425/525 MW Nanidpur Project, which had been delayed for over three years, had been started in full swing.
Additionally, Dar said that the government is working to add 10,000 MW of generation into the national grid and is presently working on the 2117 MW Karachi coastal project and 6600MW coal fired thermal Project in Gadani. He added that the government was also working on the parallel projects of Diamer Basha Dam and the Dasu Project.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Business Recorder story on Pakista MOUs with Chinese compamies to build power plants:

KARACHI: A Chinese world famed company, Chinese Power International Holding will set up ten coal fired power plants of 660 MW each, making total 6600 MW, at Thar coal fields ; with total estimated investment of dollars 7.2 billion.
A memorandum of understanding was earlier inked between China Power International Holding and the Sindh Government for these power plants. Signatory to this MOU were SECMC and Global Mining Company (GMC)/ Sino Sindh Resources (SSR).
Coal will be supplied by SECMC and GMC/SSR from Blocks I and II of Thar coal fields.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, during a press conference here at the Chief Minister House on Monday on his return from his visit to China, said many Chinese companies showed their interest to invest in Pakistan especially in Sindh.
He informed the Chinese investors that his Government was creating an enabling environment for potential investors in developing infrastructure, coal mining, coal and wind power generation in the province. Thar coal fields have estimated reserves of 175 billion tons. These reserves could be utilised to produce 100,000 MW of power for many decades.
He also informed that public private partnership had been initiated through an international competitive bidding process to ensure fast track development of Thar coal.
He assured on behalf of the government of the provision of requisite infrastructure adding that the investors would find Thar as an exceptionally peaceful area.
The Chief Minister, giving the details of his 5-day visit to China-- Sichuan province's capital Chengdu and China's capital Beijing- said his Government sought Chinese investment in development of Thar Coal mining and coal- based power generation, development of Wind Corridor and technical assistance in modernising agriculture.
The Chief Minister visited Chengdu to participate in the 14th Western China International Fair on invitation of Governor Sichuan, Wei Hong.
Sichuan province has a strong economy with a GDP of dollars 383 billion. It has robust agriculture, water management, strong mining technology coupled with high tech industry in Chengdu.
Sichuan province Governor, Wei Hong assured all possible support to Sindh Government for collaboration in Thar Coal mining, coal and wind based power generation and establishment of an industrial zone in Sindh.
Sichuan Governor and Deputy Secretary General of Chinese Communist Party, Li Jiaguo accepted his invitation and assured to visit Sindh province, said Syed Qaim Ali Shah.
Syed Qaim Ali Shah witnessed the signing ceremony of 249.6 MW Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) contract signed between NBT Wind Power Pakistan II, a subsidiary of NBT Pakistan Holding (Pvt) Ltd of Singapore (NBT) and Harbin Electric International to build the largest wind farm in Pakistan using 156 units of 1.6 MW wind turbines made in China.
NBT is developing 650 MW of wind farms in the wind corridor of Sindh.
NBT, Harbin Electric International and GE are working jointly with a bank syndicate on project financing for this wind farm. The EPC contract includes 5 years of operation and maintenance services to wind turbines......


Riaz Haq said...

APP reports that Asian Development Bank has agreed to finance coal-fired power generation plant in Pakistan in spite of strong opposition from the environmental lobby:

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing a $900 million loan for a new supercritical coal power generation unit in Pakistan that will deliver reliable and cost effective electricity to hundreds of thousands of energy-starved households and businesses.
The coal-fired generation unit, the first in the country to use supercritical boiler technology, will be built at an existing power plant in the town of Jamshoro in Sindh province, about 150 kilometres east of the provincial capital, Karachi.
It will employ state-of-the-art emission control equipment resulting in cleaner emissions than the existing heavy fuel oil-fired generators and subcritical boiler technology, which is more commonly used, according to ADB statement issued on Monday.
Pakistan only has 19 percent of the global average for carbon dioxide emissions per person and has only one coal-fired power plant in operation generating 0.7 percent of the generation mix.
Recycling ash from the plant will also save about 115,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalents per year, the statement said adding the electricity generated from the plant will alleviate some of the power shortages and replace generation from small individual oil and diesel generators which is expected to save a further 503,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
The new plant will generate electricity at a lower cost saving about $535 million per year on its fuel import bill compared with oil fired generation.
The new unit is a part of broader government efforts to decrease electricity tariff.
Coal-fired power plants, using cleaner technology, provide an environmentally sound and cost-effective medium-term energy solution at a time when the country's natural gas reserves are dwindling.
Resolving the energy crisis is a priority for the country and the government is pursuing all options including large hydropower plants, renewable energy, energy efficiency, increasing domestic gas production, and importing electricity and natural gas.
Pakistan has substantial potential for large hydropower which will be developed to meet long-term energy needs because of the longer construction period involved.
Small and medium sized hydropower will be developed to meet medium-term needs, it said adding the stable base-load power provided by this project will enable the fluctuating power from solar and wind power to be used without disruption to the grid.
ADB's assistance, which includes $870 million from ordinary capital resources and $30 million from its concessional Asian Development Fund, will be complemented by cofinancing of $150 million from the Islamic Development Bank and counterpart funds of $450 million from the government.
The project is expected to be completed by December 2018. ADB's assistance will also provide 5 years of operation and maintenance support after its completion.




Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET report on ADB financing for Jamshoro coal-fired 1200 MW power plant:

Despite opposition by the United States (US), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $900-million loan for converting the Jamshoro Power Plant to a coal-fired one, giving a boost to the government’s efforts to improve the energy mix.
According to sources, hectic diplomatic efforts, launched by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, saved the day for Pakistan after the US had indicated its opposition to the deal to the ADB’s Board of Directors. The US cast its vote against Pakistan, the sources said.
However, Canada, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Japan cast their votes in favour of Pakistan.
The loan was approved by the ADB Board of Directors, according to Ministry of Finance. The project will have an installed capacity of 1,320 megawatts (MW) and will add 1,200 to the national grid.
The new plant will generate electricity at a lower cost, saving about $535 million per year on fuel imports compared to oil-fired power plants.

Three-fourth of the board voted in favour of the loan, the finance ministry said. Dar also thanked the ADB and countries that supported Pakistan’s proposal, it added.
The previous government had initiated the process of converting and running the power plant on imported coal.
However, the PML-N government plans to construct coal power plants at Gadani with a total capacity of 6,600 MW as part of its policy of producing electricity on cheaper fuels like coal, Dar stated.
According to the ADB, out of the total sum of $900 million, an amount of $870 million will be at a higher interest rate while $30 million will be at a concessional one. The Islamic Development Bank will also provide $150 million, while $450 million will be arranged by the government, to meet the total estimated project cost of $1.5 billion. The ADB said that project is expected to be completed by December 2018.
While the ADB approves the loan, the Pakistani authorities have yet to sort out the actual price. After the Ministry of Water and Power overestimated it at $2 billion (Rs220 billion), the federal government had constituted a committee to review the cost, which had originally been estimated at $1.5 billion (Rs165 billion).
The ADB said that in order to address environmental concerns, it will employ state-of-the-art emission control equipment resulting in cleaner emissions than the existing heavy fuel oil-fired generators and subcritical boiler technology which is more commonly used.
Before approving the loan, the ADB had pressed Pakistan to agree to using imported bituminous coal for 80% of the plants fuel requirement, and Thar coal which is lignite and has a low heating capacity for the remaining 20%.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's a News story on US support and funding for Central Asia-South Asia (CASA) transnational grid:

WASHINGTON: The United States has committed $15 million in financing towards the Central Asia-South Asia electricity transmission project (CASA-1000) that on completion would help bring electricity to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

While announcing the funding the State Department expressed the hope that the US financial support for CASA-1000 would help leverage other donors to support the project and encourage the World Bank to present the project to its Board of Directors for final approval next year.

“We believe CASA-1000 can be a potentially transformative project, helping create a regional energy grid that connects Central and South Asia for the first time,” a statement released by the Office of the Spokesperson said.

When completed, CASA-1000 will allow Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to profit from existing, unused summer generation capacity by selling electricity to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Afghanistan would doubly benefit from the project as a consumer (300 MW) and as transit country generating revenue.

“Pakistan would add 1,000MW to its national grid during the summer months when it experiences its peak demand period and have access to a reliable, clean, and cheaper energy supply.”

According to the State Department, CASA-1000 is entirely dependent on existing hydropower generation so it will not affect water-sharing agreements for other Central Asian countries. It also complements ongoing efforts by the Asian Development Bank and others to support a regional energy grid.

“These types of projects can enhance economic interdependence and support peace and stability in the region for years to come. That is why the United States has been supporting the CASA-1000 Secretariat for several years, and is now committing an equity stake in the project.”

“US support for CASA-1000 is representative of our long-term commitment to peace, stability and prosperity for Afghanistan and its neighbours. CASA-1000 is a practical example of a project that supports regional economic connectivity and our New Silk Road vision. The United States looks forward to working with the World Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, and other development partners to support CASA-1000 and other projects which connect Central and South Asia.”


Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Australian proposal to convert coal into diesel in Pakistan:

Australian mining billionaire and philanthropist, Andrew Forrest, has made an informal deal with Pakistan to free about 2.5 million slaves in return for allowing his firm to convert billions of tonnes of cheap coal into much-needed energy.

The CEO of Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG), who made the announcement at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos, said the agreement would give the Pakistani state of Punjab access to Australian technology that converts lignite coal into diesel.

In return, he said Pakistan has agreed to bring in laws that will tackle the problem of slavery, or bonded labour, in the Punjab province, home to more than 100 million people, reported The Australian.

Forrest says the technology, developed by Curtin University, has the potential to be cost-effective.

"Turning lignite to diesel is proved – so we have no doubt it's going to happen," he was quoted as saying.

The deal earned the approval of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who sung its praises during a brief chance meeting with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Davos.

According to the Global Slavery Index, compiled by Forrest's Walk Free Foundation, about 16 million people are held in slave-like conditions through debt and forced labour in Pakistan and India.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's an AFP story on coal power for Pakistan:

....Late last month, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his former rival, ex-president Asif Ali Zardari jointly inaugurated the construction of a $1.6 billion coal plant the southern town of Thar, hailing their shared goal of ending the nation’s power crisis. The government has also green-lighted the construction of a pilot 660 megawatt coal-fired plant in Gadani, a small, serene town on the Arabian Sea known as Pakistan’s ship-breaking hub. A 600 megawatt plant has also been given the go-ahead in the southern city of Jamshoro......
“This is a major and historic fuel switching plan as we generate zero from coal compared to India which generates 69 percent of its electricity from coal-fired power plants,” Pakistan’s minister for power and water Khwaja Asif told AFP.

Pakistan has struggled with scheduled power cuts for decades. But the problems have been particularly acute since 2008, with regular outages of up to 22 hours a day for many domestic users and even longer for industries — costing about two percent of GDP per year.
In the hot summer, when temperatures soar to 50C in the country’s centre, Pakistan produces around 18,000 MW of power, with an average deficit of 4,000 MW. A lack of capacity together with huge debt cycles exacerbated by poor rates of tax collection are seen as some of the major factors contributing to the country’s dismal power shortages.
The issue was also a central campaign theme in last year’s general elections, which saw Nawaz Sharif elected to the top post. Faced with a growing bill for imported oil that currently stands at $14 billion and a rapidly depleting supply of natural gas, the country’s private and public plants are switching their oil-plants over to coal. “Pakistan has been facing rising oil prices and declining gas reserves as well as tight foreign account situation, rendering the reliance on the import of oil to fuel power plants increasingly unaffordable,” the Asian Development Bank said in a statement. Pakistan’s largest private sector power utility Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC), which provides electricity to the country’s biggest city, has taken the lead in plans for the coal switch.
The company has recently granted engineering, procurement and construction contracts to Chinese company Harbin Electric International to convert two units of the Bin Qasim thermal power stations with 420 megawatt capacity.
The $400 million project is expected to be completed by 2016. Alongside the conversions, Pakistan is also upgrading its port facilities to increase its ability to import coal.
“Ports are the lifeline of the country,” says Haleem Siddiqui, a veteran seaman who pioneered the first state-of-the art container terminal at Karachi Port and whose company is building a “dirty cargo terminal” at Port Qasim along Arabian Sea.
The fully-mechanised terminal would be able to handle four to eight million tons of coal in the first phase to be completed by 2015, growing to 20 million tons in the extended phase in 2020, at a cost of $200 million.

----- Which is why Pakistan is determined to find some of its energy needs under its own soil. Some experts have pointed to the Thar Desert in southern Sindh province, which sits on top a vast potential source of 175 billion tons of coal.
“It is very huge reserve and is equivalent to combined oil reserves of Iran and Saudi Arab in terms of heating value,” Agha Wasif, chief of the provincial energy department told AFP. Engro Powergen Limited, a joint venture of public and private sectors, is developing a block of the Thar coal field with $800 million dollars investment which is set to open by 2016....


Riaz Haq said...

Post-2000, the awkward, inconvenient truth is that, particularly during the regime of retired General Pervez Musharraf and former chief minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim, the physical infrastructure of Tharparkar reached an unprecedented level of progress.

Where, for example, in previous times, only about two kilometres of metalled road was built in a whole year, roads of the same length and more were built every month, and in even less time, for several years.

Grid electricity to main towns, water pipelines to large settlements, preparatory infrastructure for exploitation of coal reserves including work by the post-2008 PPP government, rapid proliferation of telecommunication and mobile phones have vastly enhanced mobility, access and information flow. http://www.dawn.com/news/1091961/tharparkar-a-famine-of-facts

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a News report on Pak Army mobilizing to help Tharparkar victims:

To help the affected population in Mithi and Tharparker, relief teams of the Pakistan Army have reached the area and have setup a Field Hospital and are also providing Food Packs to the affected families.

According to an ISPR press release, Doctors and Paramedics have established a field hospital to provide healthcare to the malnourished and sick at Diplo. On the first day of the relief operation, 10 tons of relief items were distributed and a total of 613 patients were treated at the medical camp.

General Officer Commanding Hyderabad Garrison, Major General Inam is in the area to oversee the ongoing relief efforts.

Panu Aqil and Karachi garrisons are also gearing up to reinforce relief activities with the help of civil society. Relief camps will also be established at Mithi, Chachhro, Nangarparker, Islamkot and Khinsar. The support will continue till the time crisis situation is normalized.


Anonymous said...

Sindh experts say the area is virtually ruled by the Makhdoom family and four sons of Makhdoom Amin Fahim, the senior PPP leader, are directly involved and responsible. In the Sindh government, all the four sons hold key positions.

Makhdoom Jamil Zaman is the provincial minister for relief and revenue. Makhdoom Aqil Zaman held the post of Tharparkar deputy commissioner until two days ago. Before him, six months ago, it was Makhdoom Shakil, another son, who held the position of district management for three consecutive years. Amin Fahim’s another son, Makhdoom Khalil Zaman, is a member of the Sindh Assembly (MPA) from the same district.

It is also a fact that the Makhdoom family holds widespread spiritual following in most parts of Tharparkar. But they have been found negligent and the latest crisis has proved that. Makhdoom Aqil was transferred only after the tragic death of children came to the light.

Makhdoom Jamil, the Relief and Revenue minister, is responsible for supplying relief to the affected areas. He reportedly does not take interest in the affairs of his ministry and has never even attended his office, insiders told The News. Also when the news of Tharparkar broke out, he did not take any action for any measure for relief.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Dawn report on additional $400m from ADB for energy projects in Pakistan on top of $900m for coal power at Jamshoro:
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved $400 million loan to help Pakistan carry out reforms for overcoming power shortages.

An agreement in this regard was signed by Secretary Economic Affairs Division Nargis Sethi and ADB's Country Director for Pakistan Werner E. Liepach here on Monday. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and ADB's Governor witnessed the signing ceremony.

“The ADB has approved a soft and concessionary loan for Pakistan, which has the best terms and conditions with interest rate of even less than 2 per cent annually,” said Ishaq Dar.

He said the ADB had also recently approved a loan of $900 million for Jamshoro coal power project to produce cheaper electricity.

Speaking on the occasion, Werner E. Liepach said the loan would support key reforms in the energy sector to ensure uninterrupted supply of cheaper and dependable power to millions of industrial and private consumers, who were presently adversely affected by long power outages.

“This important energy sector assistance will propel growth, boost businesses, and create jobs that are critical to reduce poverty in the country,” said Liepach.

In line with Pakistan's National Power Policy approved in 2013, the sustainable energy sector reform programme targets robust policy, capacity development and institutional strengthening action to reduce crippling power shortages that according to estimates, are costing the country about 2 per cent of its GDP growth every year.

The ADB along with Japan and the World Bank have been working with the Pakistan government to formulate and implement a five-year plan targeting increased power supply, reduction of losses and boosting the efficiency of the power sector.

The programme would support government's plans to rationalise tariffs and eliminate subsidies by 2016, except for low income customers.

“The reforms will improve transparency and accountability, which will also go a long way in leveraging stronger private sector led investments in the power sector,” said Werner Liepach.

The full programme, set to complete by June 2018, spans a total of $1.2 billion investment by the ADB, and for the first sub-programme, co-financing is expected from Japan with $49 million and the World Bank with $600 million.

The ADB is the lead development partner in Pakistan's energy sector supporting a wide range of power sector development activities, including energy efficiency, transmission, distribution, cross-border natural gas pipelines, power generation, and renewable energy projects.

The ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region.

In 2013, ADB assistance totalled $21 billion, including co-financing of $6.6 billion.


Riaz Haq said...

LONDON (Alliance News) - Oracle Coalfields PLC Thursday said it has signed a engineering procurement and construction agreement in Beijing with SEPCO Electric Power Construction Corp for the construction of an integrated coal mine and power plant.

SEPCO is a power and construction group in China.

Oracle Coalfields, which is a developer of a lignite coal mine located in the south eastern Sindh Province in Pakistan, said the construction of the integrated coal mine and power plant is a major milestone in the development of the Block VI project in the Thar Coalfields.

Through its local coal mining subsidiary Sindh Carbon Energy Ltd, Oracle owns the mining lease for Block VI in Thar Coalfield, for the mining of lignite coal. Oracle plans to develop the mine and to sell coal to a new created company, provisionally called Electric Power Ltd, at an integrated power station next to the mine.

Oracle said that SEPCO has also proposed a financing structure to potentially securitise up to 85% of the cost of the two EPC contracts, which would be provided by Sinosure, the China Export & Credit Insurance Corp, and some Chinese banks.

The EPC contract is for a 4.2 million tonnes per year coal mine and the 600 megawatt power plant.

The combined EPC transaction value is around USD1.3 billion, Oracle said.

The EPC framework agreement confirms SEPCO's intention to purchase minority equity interests in Electric Power and to potentially make an investment in Sindh Carbon Energy Ltd, Oracle said.

"Entering the EPC Framework Agreement with and receiving a financing proposal from one of China's largest state-owned enterprises in the energy sector is another step towards bringing the project to reality. Both SEPCO and Oracle are eager to succeed in the development of our integrated coal mine and power plant project and to play an effective role in addressing Pakistan's energy crisis," said Oracle Chief Executive Shahrukh Khan in a statement.


Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan’s first LNG terminal is finally on track to come onstream by early 2015, but whether the country can afford LNG imports is still in doubt, according to analysts.
Houston-based Excelerate Energy has agreed to install an FSRU off the coast near Port Qasim by the end of Q1 next year, which it will lease to Pakistan for 15 years, Daniel Bustos, Excelerate’s chief development officer, told Interfax.
Meanwhile, Pakistani conglomerate Engro Corp. is laying the pipelines and other infrastructure needed to deliver the LNG into the market, under an LNG service deal it reached with state distributor Sui Southern Gas Co. earlier this year.
In addition, consultancy FGE was appointed in September to advise the government in negotiations for “viable and competitive” LNG supplies.
These agreements have given the project considerable momentum following years of corruption scandals and other setbacks.
“Previously, the government always tried to get the supply before putting the terminal in place, and that brought delays over and over again,” said Bustos.
“What they’re doing now is running the process in parallel, but they started with the terminal. The big advantage of that is that when the suppliers see the terminal is a reality, they get more aggressive in dealing with the customers and are more willing to close a deal,” he added.
The FSRU will have the capacity to store 151,000 cubic metres and import 3.5 mtpa, or 11.3 million cubic metres per day (MMcm/d). According to Engro, the volume would reduce Pakistan’s gas shortfall of 45.3 MMcm/d by 25%.
Domestic output – the country’s only source of gas at present – declined from a 10-year peak of 41.2 billion cubic metres in 2012 to 38.6 bcm in 2013, according to statistics from BP.
The need for more gas could underpin the development of a second terminal close behind the Excelerate FSRU, Bustos said. Local news reports in September said Sui Southern Gas planned to issue a tender within weeks for a 5.7 MMcm/d regasification facility.
“It’s a market that has tremendous possibilities to grow,” said Bustos. “Pakistan is following in the path of Argentina and Brazil in terms of continuing to add units – once they start seeing the benefits of FSRUs, they keep going back to the same concept.”
Credit problems
While the terminal’s development appears to be moving ahead, it is harder to discern any progress in the government’s LNG supply negotiations – although the finance minister said it is looking to secure the full 3.5 mtpa.
Islamabad has been in discussions with Qatar over the past few years, but the seller’s demand for a high oil-linked price was reportedly an issue when the two sides met in July.
There have also been suggestions Pakistan is beginning talks with Malaysia’s Petronas, which is expanding its large Bintulu LNG complex.
However, Pakistan’s ability to sign deals for long- or short-term LNG is questionable, particularly because the country’s credit risk would require it to pay more than already high Asian LNG prices.
“As a marketer of spot LNG, your main concern is your buyer’s creditworthiness, and we’ve seen other credit-insecure LNG buyers such as Argentina having to pay for cargoes with cash in advance – that precedent is already set,” said Benjamin Gage, an associate director of global LNG at IHS.
“The project will be subject to scrutiny and it will be closely watched, particularly in the context of intensified pressure on the government over its record of attracting investment and bolstering energy security, and as opposition parties seek to seize on opportunities to weaken government credibility,” said Fry.


Riaz Haq said...

China’s state-owned Power Construction Corporation and Qatar’s Al Mirqab Capital are to jointly invest in a $209m coal-firedpower plant project in Pakistan, the firms have announced.
The plant is to feature two 660 MW supercritical units and will be built in Karachi, at Pakistan’s second-largest port, Port Qasim. The bulk of the fuel is to be shipped in from Indonesia. Power Construction Corporation, which is set to build the project, aims to complete it in 32 months.
Of the $521m project capital, 51 per cent is to be invested by Power Construction Corporation and 49 per cent by Al Mirqab Capital, with the remaining $1.56bn to come from loans. The companies said the plant will be constructed and run on a build-own-operate model.
In a statement, Power Construction Corporation said: “The Pakistan Port Qasim power project is a large energy project of great political and economic importance between the two countries, as a high-priority project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. This project fits the company’s development strategy and investment direction”.

Pakistan currently suffers from an energy shortfall of around 5 GW. The 3000 km, $45.6bn Economic Corridor project, which aims to connect Pakistan’s southern Gwadar Port with China’s northwestern Xinjiang region, includes plans for a gas pipeline from Iran to Pakistan, on which construction work has already begun although a formal deal won't be signed until later this month. According to reports, the pipeline could eventually provide Pakistan with enough fuel to generate around 4.5 GW of power.
In February Pakistan shelved a planned 6.6 GW coal-fired power project after Chinese investors backed out, citing lack of adequate infrastructure.


Riaz Haq said...

ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) -- Shanghai Electric Power signed an agreement with government regarding Thar coal power project on Friday. Federal Minster of Power and Energy Khawaja Asif said that the project worth 2 billion dollars with will bring 1320 Megawatt (Mw) which will be charged at an initial tariff of 8 rupee per unit, reported Dunya News.

Talking at the occasion, Federal Minster of Power and Energy Khawaja Asif said that Thar coal power project is a vital part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The project, costing 2 billion dollars, will be completed in 2018. He said that project will bring 1320 Mw which will be charged an initial tariff of 8 rupee per unit.

Federal Minster of Power and Energy said that LNG is being supplied to the power plants.


Riaz Haq said...

#China, #Pakistan ink $2 billion deal to build massive #coal power plant in Sindh - The Economic Times #CPEC #Energy http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/business/china-pakistan-ink-2-billion-deal-to-build-power-plant-in-sindh/articleshow/50273768.cms …
BEIJING: China and Pakistan today signed a $2 billion agreement to jointly build a massive coal- fired power station in Pakistan's southern Sindh province.

The project will cost in excess R$2 billion, including the exploitation of a 3.8-million-tonne coal mine and the construction of a 660,000-kilowatt power station near the mine, China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

China will contribute USD 800 million to the financing, while the Pakistani partners will provide $500 million, mainly through China Development Bank and Habib Bank.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2017, and it will be the first such project in the China- Pakistan Economic Corridor.

The corridor will be a 3,000-kms long network of roads, railways and energy infrastructure between the ports of Gwadar in Pakistan and Kashgar in China's Xinjiang.

It was established to help lift Pakistan out of its economic slumber and boost growth for the Chinese ..

Riaz Haq said...

#China consortium to help finance $2 billion #Engro #Thar coal-mining & power generation project in #Sindh #Pakistan http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2015-12/22/content_22771350.htm …

A consortium led by China Machinery Engineering Corp is set to finance a coal-based power plant and a mining project being developed by Engro Corp, a Pakistani firm.

The first phase of the $2 billion project will consist of a coal-based power plant with two 330-megawatt units in Thar Block II in the Sindh province of Pakistan and a coal mining project for power generation.

The project is also part of the cooperation along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which runs about 3,000 kilometers from Gwadar to the northwestern Chinese city of Kashgar, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, a part of the ancient Silk Road linking Eurasia and Africa, CMEC said in a statement.

Zhang Chun, president of CMEC, said that it is the first integration project of coal mining and coal-based power plant among the projects in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is expected to push forward the economic development in Pakistan.

"I think we have opened a new chapter in the overseas market with this project," Zhang said.

"Since our strength lies in foreign engineering project contracting, it will become a model project in Pakistan."

The deal follows President Xi Jinping's state visit to Pakistan in April, when the two sides agreed to set up an economic corridor to bolster China's new trade initiatives-the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

Wang Shida, an expert on Afghanistan at the Beijing-based China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said that the project will help bolster Pakistan's energy supplies, something that has hindered local economic development.

He said Pakistan relies heavily on imported crude oil, diesel and natural gas, with less than 0.1 percent of energy coming from coal-fired power stations, leaving much potential for growth in coal-based power projects.

"The cost is very high due to the reliance on imports. Construction of more coal-powered plants will ease the demand-supply gap in Pakistan," he said.

China has already invested more than $40 billion for development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor with energy projects being a major focus including hydropower plants, coal-fired stations and wind farms, experts said.

The signing ceremony also involved financial groups like China Development Bank and Habib Bank Ltd in Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Chinese-backed coal excavation and power plants will displace thousands of people and deplete groundwater in Thar, a region ravaged by drought.

The Thar desert in Sindh province contains 175 billion tonnes of lignite coal – one of the largest untapped coal deposits in the world. It is also one of the most populated deserts in the world – home to world heritages sites and endangered species. Most of the 1.6 million people who live in the Thar desert region live in poverty and are highly vulnerable to extreme weather events. Twenty five percent of people live within the proposed coal development area. They thought they would benefit, but that has not been the case.


It was only in 2015 that work began on the fields, when the Thar coal project was included as part of a string of energy and infrastructure deals signed under the USD 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. These agreements included eight coal-fired power plants and a 3,000-kilometre network of roads, railways and pipelines to transport oil and gas from Gwadar Port on the Arabian sea to Kashgar, in the northwestern Chinese province of Xinjiang.

In December 2015, China approved a USD 1.2 billion investment for surface mining of Thar coal and the establishment of 660 MW power projects. The deposits are divided into 12 blocks, each containing 2 billion tonnes of coal. In the first phase the Sindh provincial government has allocated block II to Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) to excavate 1.57 billion tonnes of coal and build a 660 megawatt power plant. The plant is expected to send power to the Pakistani national grid by June 2019 and will later be expanded to produce 1,320 MW of power.

A state-owned Chinese company, the China Machinery & Engineering Corporation, is providing the machinery and technical support for the excavation of coal and building and running the power plant. The local company will provide human resources, management and be responsible for the distribution of power. SECMC say the project has created 200 technical jobs and 1,600 menial positions. But locals have been protesting that the company has not even given them the menial jobs. Around 300 Chinese, including the engineers, miners and experts are also working on the site.


The Chinese team have started excavating the first pit. In the first phase SECMC will relocate five villages, which are located in block II, including Thario Halepoto village.

SECMC has started paying villagers for their homes and agricultural land. SECMC’s chief executive officer, Shamsuddin Ahmed Shaikh, claims that his company will do all they can to help the villagers.

“We will construct model towns with all basic facilities including schools, healthcare, drinking water and filter plants and also allocate land for livestock grazing,” he told thethirdpole.net

He said that the company is paying villagers above market prices for their land – PKR 185,000 (USD 1,900) per acre. However locals say this price does not take into account its high environmental value and they do not want to be relocated to the new towns, the exact location of which is yet to be decided.


A SECMC official said that the company will plant 10 trees for every tree cut. So far the company has planted 12,000 trees in an 18 acre area called the Green Park and more trees will be planted in next two years.


SECMC’s Shaikh rejected such claims saying his company would only use 1,400 acres for two reservoirs to store the water extracted during excavation. “It will be natural underground saline water, not toxic or poisonous in any way and it will not affect any village,” he claimed.




Riaz Haq said...

Thar Revisited:

Last week I had the chance to visit Thar again after more than a decade. While it remains an extremely poor and least developed region of the province of Sindh, I was struck by a few changes that have the potential of transforming the region into a vibrant economic player. Water is the most basic need in a desert. Last time round, I observed that Thardeep, a rural support organisation that has worked in the area since the early nineties, had achieved some success in improving provision and quality of drinking water in selected areas. Traditional birth attendants, some dispensaries and a few “barefoot” doctors was all that it could manage in the field of health. It also ran a number of schools. Linkages between craftswomen and middlemen from the market were few and far between. Government presence was minimal. The district hospital in Mithi was a mess. Roads were almost nonexistent.

Fast forward to August 2016. The road from Karachi to Thatta is a shame and Thatta to Thar via Badin is tolerable. Enter Thar and it is a different world. The main road here is probably the best highway of Sindh. It leads to coal mining areas, power stations and the gasification plant. Coal mining is a joint venture of the Government of Sindh and ENGRO, subcontracted further to a concern named Bilal. There is no knowing whether usable coal will eventually be available to the power plant being constructed next door. The coal gasification plant is no more than a monument to our atomic veteran.

The impact of the road, augmented by mobile connectivity, is multidimensional. Walking long distances has given way to motorbikes and overloaded buses have taken the place of kekras, the rickety shuttle truck-bus of the World War II vintage. Children suffering from malnutrition and other ailments are reported directly to the media as well as the hospital in Mithi on mobile phones. The high numbers of the suffering children had always existed; only the media was late in discovering these cases. The media attention did bring politicians and bureaucrats to the region, facilitated of course by the road. The hospital in Mithi is now much better staffed and well-stocked with medicines. It is now a thriving town with a good number of schools and a college. Even an English-medium private school was in evidence. A sub-campus of a university is also coming up. Locals complained about the lack of girls schools, especially at the post-primary level. This is a sign of growing awareness. There was also frustration that the locals are not given the party tickets for the National and Provincial assembly seats. Mobile connectivity and the road have linked the famous craftswomen of Thar with the main markets much more effectively. At a community meeting in Islam Kot, women were quoting prices that broadly corresponded with the prices charged in Karachi’s Zeb un Nisa Street.

Another change is the large number of government buildings, most of them left incomplete. Many that are completed, are uninhabited. Those complete and inhabited are poorly maintained. The tourist complex built at the legendary Marvi well is a case in point. A beautiful tourist complex in Nagar Parkar, designed by friend Arif Hasan, funded by Sindh’s Planning and Development Department and managed by Thardeep is another case in point.

At the end of the day, there may or may not be good quality coal or power, but the very presence of the road is rapidly opening up the area. As for power, the people are beginning to learn that the best off-grid solution is the sun that shines over Thar most of the time. I, though, had the good fortune of witnessing rains and greenery in a desert — an exhilarating experience.