Nawaz-led govt committed to eliminate energy crisis and help revive industrial and business activities
About 84 percent of work on LNG-based Bhikki power plant has been completed and it will be producing 716MW of energy initially before the summers this year. This power plant has a total capacity of 1180MW and would be fully operational by the end of 2018. With work is underway on several power projects, it is expected that the rising sun of 2018 will witness Pakistan as a country self-sufficient in energy. Tireless efforts of the PML (Nawaz) government are not only restricted to end power shortages from the country by 2018 but the long term plans of the government include production of more than 30,000MW of electricity by 2022.
The government plans are also under way to set up two more LNG terminals in its concerted bid to use this fuel being imported from Qatar to overcome gas shortages and significantly increase power generation. These two planned terminals of Liquified Natural Gas would be established at the coasts of Sindh and Makran (Gwadar), official sources told PAGE.
“Never in the history of Pakistan have there been such huge investments made for production of electricity; aiming to fulfill our needs and also cater for the projected demands in the future,” official sources said.
While the Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif was personally monitoring the progress on the ongoing power projects across the country, it is set that around 10,996 MW of power would be added to the national grid by March 2018 against an expected generation shortfall of 7000 to 8000MW, estimated for 2017-18. Moreover, the system augmentation work for carrying the additional capacity will be completed by the end of 2017, which will make the country’s 90 percent transmission system constraint-free, the recent meeting was informed.
On LNG import, the sources said, Pakistan signed a 15 year agreement with Qatar to import up to 3.75 million tonnes of LNG a year, which was being highly appreciated by the business community as the previous governments had been reluctant to take any practical step in this regard.
With arrival of LNG, industries, gas-based power units, CNG sector, fertilizer plants and especially domestic consumers started receiving uninterrupted supply, which is not less than of any miracle by any mean.
A LNG-terminal is already operational at the Port Qasim, while two more terminals each at Gwadar and Karachi are also being set up on priority to handle increased cargoes of the imported commodity for onward injection in the transmission network of gas companies – Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited and Sui Southern Gas Company Limited.
On hydropower side, a breakthrough of the right tunnel at the Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project is likely to be achieved in April this year, and with this achievement, excavation of 68.5-kilometer long tunnels, considered to be the most critical component of the project, will stand completed.
The 969 MW-Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project, on completion would help produce cheap electricity. The construction work on this project which started in 2008 remained slow due to certain reasons — financial constraints and redesigning of the project during the construction phase being the major contributing factors. However, most of the bottlenecks have been removed during the present regime.
Consequently, the construction work gained momentum and the project is now 90 percent completed. Two of the four generating units have been assembled and are now in place in the power house, while the remaining two units are being assembled.
The project management is confident that the first unit of Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project will be ready for wet commissioning test run in February 2018, whereas rest of the three units will also commence test run by April 2018.
The sources said the government is actively pursuing hydropower projects to meet the country’s growing electricity demands, sources have claimed. Their claim points to a 9,550-megawatt hydropower project, which is in advance stage of construction. This project is part of an under-construction run-of-the-river hydroelectric power scheme designed to divert water from the Neelum River to a power station on the Jhelum River. The power station is located in Azad Kashmir in south of Muzaffarabad and will have an installed capacity of 969 megawatts. The construction began in 2008 after a Chinese consortium received a contract in July 2007, the sources added.
On the other hand, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor portfolio encompasses early harvest projects of 10,400 megawatts and actively promoted projects of 6,645 megawatts. “The 12,000-megawatt-hydropower projects are currently under process,” the sources said. “Various energy projects presently being pursued on top priority are designed to produce 43,127 megawatts of electricity by 2018-19.”
MAJOR ENERGY PROJECTS
The major energy projects currently ongoing in Punjab included: 1180MW Bhikhi Power Plant at Sheikhupura, 1223MW Baloki Power Plant in Kasur, 1320MW Qadirabad Power Plant at Sahiwal and 1230MW Haveli Bahdur Shah Plant at Jhang.
Moreover, the Punjab government is also working with leading International Financial Organizations to create an energy fund of US 1.5 to 2.0 billion dollars for the development of energy infrastructure. This is going to be a huge step forward contributing to improve the provincial financial indicators and boost the investors’ confidence. During the FY 2015-16, Rs31 billion allocated in this sector. Major programs included the establishment of RLNG Power Project at Bhikki (Rs15 billion), establishment of coal base power projects, (Rs9 billion) and development of hydel power project under REDSIP (Rs3.5 billion). These projects are scheduled on fast track completion within 2 to 3 years and over 8000MW will be added to the national grid by these private sector projects.
While a number of energy projects are being completed during current year, it is expected that load-shedding will be eliminated soon which will help revive industrial and business activities in the country.