IRAN TO PLAY A MAJOR ROLE IN MANAGING POWER REQUIREMENTS OF GWADAR

SYED FAZL-E-HAIDER
Jan 21 - 27, 2008

Balochistan's first and the country's third seaport at Gwadar is currently in the second phase of its development. Its power demand will increase as soon as the port becomes operational and starts handling the cargo. According to an estimate, its demand will increase from 14MW in the year 2010 to 74MW in 2030 and 370MW in 2050. According to the official plan, the future port city of Gwadar will have power supply from three sources- Pasni Power House, Panjgur Power Plant and Iran. A small power station at Gwadar is already operational, which is meeting the present demand of 4 MW. Pakistan has reportedly requested Tehran to supply 2700 MW more electricity to meet the power requirement of the future port city of Gwadar.

Gwadar's strategic location as the southern extension of Pakistan into the Arabian Sea, renders itself as an egress gateway for transit traffic into the landlocked Central Asian Republics, Afghanistan and Iran. This geographic advantage endows Gwadar with the potential of becoming a commercial and economic hub of the subcontinent much on the same format as port city like Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong. The government has proposed hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and other development projects in the area.

To meet the demands of its future commercial and industrial estates, Gwadar will need enough electricity. As a part of government's long-term power strategy, a grid station is under construction in Gwadar. Moreover, 132 KV transmission line from Pasni/Turbat is being extended to Gwadar at a cost of Rs360 million. Eventually, Gwadar will be linked to the national grid as soon as the demand grows for power consumption. The Oman government had given a grant of $100 million to be paid in five years, out of which, electricity generators for the Gwadar port have already arrived.

Geographically, the 770 km long Balochistan coastal belt stretches from the mouth of Hub River near Karachi right up to Gwadar Bay near Chahbahar port in southwestern Iran. Pakistan has decided to urgently overcome electricity and gas shortage in the future port city of Gwadar and approached Iran for the purpose. The Iranian government has been asked to help meet necessary electricity and gas requirements of district Gwadar, which includes Gwadar, Pasni, Ormara and Jiwani.

Mekran coastal areas have largely been dependent on Iran for electricity requirements. Iran is already supplying electricity through its 132KV line to Mekran, whose requirement is estimated at 17.5MW. The Pasni powerhouse, with a generating capacity of 40 megawatts, could not meet the power requirements of entire coastal region, as its generators incurred faults. Four years back, the Quetta Electric Supply Company (QESCO) constructed the power transmission lines in Mekran at a cost of Rs138 million and finally connected it with Iranian grid system. It saved around Rs700 million that it had previously been spending to operate the gas turbine for power generation.

Iran has been playing a major role, and will also be instrumental in managing the power requirements of the emerging mega port city at Gwadar in coastal Balochistan. Presently, 35MW power is being imported from Iran through Mand interconnection on 132 KV, Tuftan 2MW on 20KV and Mashkehl 2MW on 20KV. The state-run Tavanir, an Iranian power company under an agreement signed last February with Pakistan, will provide100-megawatt power for Gwadar port city through a 170-km long 220 KV double circuit transmission line between 220 KV Polan sub station at Iran side and 220 KV Gwadar sub-station. Under the accord, a 100-km long line will be constructed in Pakistan and remaining 70 km in Iran. The power supply to Gwadar port will start from January next year. The project will cost US$86 million, out of which US$26 million will be borne by the company.

Pakistan however should not largely depend on Iran for managing the increasing energy requirements of Gwadar. The government must look for other options, which would be sustainable, to meet the power requirements of the future port city. For instance it can devise a strategy to exploit tremendous potential of Mekran coast in offshore exploration of oil & gas. Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) has already planned for undertaking an offshore drilling of gas in the Arabian Sea. If offshore drilling proves successful, it will give a tremendous boost to Gwadar development, as it would meet entire energy requirements of Gwadar port city. PPL plans to make an investment of about $15 million in the project.

Similarly, steps should be taken to exploit renewable energy sources of the coastal areas, which are most feasible for launching renewable industry projects. Mekran coast is most feasible for generating power from wind, as the required wind speed of 10 meters per second is available along the coast for generating power. There is however no reliable wind map presently available for Mekran.

A comprehensive energy plan needs to be brought forth for managing the power requirement of the future industrial and commercial estates in the port city from indigenous resources. The plan should identify the options other than the import of power from neighboring Iran. The Gwadar has come out as a strategic port for its location of immense geopolitical importance. It requires a strategic planning for its power demand, which is likely to keep on rising as soon as the port starts operations.

TABLE: 1

DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM IN GWADAR TOWN

FEEDER

MAXIMUM LOAD

LENGTH OF FEEDER

NO. OF TRANS-
FORMERS

RATING OF TRANS-
FORMERS

11-kV Coast Guard

350 KW

9 Km.

10

50 KVA

Feeder

2

100 KA

   

11-kV City Feeder

740 KW

10 Km.

5

100 KVA

     

1

200 KVA

     

1

50 KVA

11-kV Usmania Feeder

368 KW

8 Km.

4

100 KVA

11-kV Jannat Bazar Feeder

168 KW

4 Km.

3

100 KVA

LT Feeder

140 KW

-

-

-

Source: Gwadar Master Plan (GMP)


TABLE: 2

ELECTRIC LOAD REQUIREMENT FOR GWADAR

   

AVERAGE

ESTIMATED

ESTIMATED

YEAR

HOUSING UNITS

LOAD / DWELLING IN KW

TOTAL LOAD IN KW

TOTAL LOAD IN MW

2005

16,924

0.6

10.154.4

10

2010

22,648

0.6

13,588.80

14

2015

36,369

0.6

21,821.40

22

2020

48,671

0.7

34,069.70

34

2025

69,040

0.8

55,232.00

55

2030

92,391

0.8

73,912.20

74

2035

123,640

1

123,640.00

124

2040

165,458

1

165,458.00

165

2045

221,420

1.25

276,775.00

277

2050

296,309

1.25

370,386.50

370

Source: GMP