ELECTRICITY SCENARIO

CASTING SERIOUS AFTERMATHS ON SOCIO-ECONOMIC LIVES

DR.S.M.ALAM
Jan 21 - 27, 2008

Electric power shortage and the frequent and unannounced load shedding in various parts of the country has created an uproar as the whole country and specially Karachi and the its rural vicinities have been taken over by looming shadows of darkness owing to prolonged power outages on routine basis. This daily scenario in power failure in the city and the country has cast serious repercussions to the socio-economic lives of the people who mind little hope of finding any relief from this unending phenomenon. The electricity consumption per capita in the country is low-340 kilowatts hour, as compared to USA-15,680kwh, Japan-6165kwh, Singapore-4700kwh, Malaysia-1145 kWh, Iran-724khw, Thailand-0635khw and India-380khw. According to one report Pakistan produced 7462X107 kwh electricity and consumed 8024X107 kwh in the year 2007 and stands at 34h place in the production of electricity in the world. USA is number one in the production of power and followed by China, Japan, Russia, India, Canada, Germany, France, UK, Korea South, Spain, South Africa, Australia , Ukraine, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Turkey, Indonesia, Norway, Egypt and many others.

The electricity in form of energy plays a pivotal role in the development and growth of the economy, as the availability of adequate supplies of energy is a pre-requisite to generate economic activities. The main objective of the energy sector is to ensuring adequate, secure, and cost-effective supplies, utilizing the resources efficiently and minimizing the losses. The electric power sector in Pakistan is stated-owned by WAPDA and KESC. Together WAPDA and KESC transmit and distribute all power in Pakistan. Over half of the electricity goes to household consumers, about one third to industrial consumers and rest to commercial and government consumers.

Pakistan's total power generating capacity has increased rapidly in recent years, due largely to foreign investment and improved economic activities. Presently, much of Pakistan's rural areas do not receive electric power and about half the population is not connected to the national grid. Power theft is a pressing issue in Pakistan.

The economic hydropower potential in Pakistan is estimated at 22,000 MW and the government is giving top priority to exploit this potential to cater to the increasing demand for water and power resources. Pakistan has a total installed generating capacity of about 19,522 MW from different sources i.e. Hydel, Thermal, coal and Nuclear. The break-up is WAPDA 11,327 MW, KESC 1,756 MW, PAEC 452 MW and IPPs 5,977 MW. Of the total capacity 5,000 MW (about 26%) is hydro while the rest 14,522 MW is thermal. Between 1985 and 2005, Pakistan's total installed power generating capacity increased nearly fourfold i.e. from 5229 MW to 19,522 MW. Between 1991 and 2004, total consumption increased by more than 84% i.e. from 31TWh to 57 TWh. An average annual increase of 10% has been recorded in recent year. The government is committed to develop this sector in order to promote sustained industrial growth and benefit the growing national economy.

Due to its ideal geographic location, Pakistan possess immense potential to harness unlimited solar and wind energy. During the last two decades Pakistan has developed its potential in photo voltaic (PV) technology, which is suitable for small power requirements. There is a need to plan for future energy requirement of the country. As the country's population is rapidly increasing therefore government should look for a long term program for the energy requirement of the country

Oil is transforming world politics and the prices of petroleum products have a direct and deep impact on all sectors of the economy. Any abnormal price hike can bring untold sufferings to the middle class and particularly, to the low-income groups. Pakistan has significant oil, gas, coal, mineral ore deposits as well as solar and hydel potential. The country has oil reserves of over 310 million barrels as of January 2006, and gas reserves of 750 BCM. The oil and gas are the two major components of Pakistan's energy and contributing more than 75 per cent of energy requirement of the country. The majority of produced oil comes from proven reserves located in the southern half of the country. Additional producing fields are located in the Middle and Upper Indus Basin. At present daily pumping of oil is nearly 750.000 barrel per day. The government in this regard has been adopting policies to increase the share of indigenous resources and has awarded 100 exploration licenses in 2004-5, which has resulted in significant investment in the oil and gas industry in the country. Till now over 610 wells have been explored over 146,000 sq. km of area, with nearly 160 discoveries. These wells have provided gas reserves of 45 TCF (trillion cubic feet) and increased the share of gas in the energy mix of the country to 50%. Gas production during the last five years has risen by 62% to over 3.8 BCF/day. The country's two gas distribution companies in north by SNGPL and in south by SSGPL have been investing over 200 million US Dollars a year to increase the capacity of the existing distribution network of 80,000 kilometers. However, still only 20% of the population has access to natural gas.

Natural gas is found whenever oil and gas occur together. Natural gas largely contains 80% methane (CH4) gas along with small quantities of ethane, propane, butane and also contains carbon dioxide, N and occasionally helium. Gas is the prime source of energy in Pakistan as it provides nearly 60 per cent of the natural energy requirements. The share of gas in fuelling the economy is followed by oil which provides 29.4 per cent. The other minor sources are hydro providing 11 per cent, coal 8 per cent and nuclear only 1.2 per cent.

Gas is the prime mover of Pakistan's economy whose use, allocation and prices should be managed with great care, expertise and long-run use vision. Natural gas is piped from gas wells for use as fuels in the homes, industries and into thermal electric power stations in the different parts of the country. The biggest consumer of gas is the power sector which uses it for generating electricity. Nearly 50 per cent of the gas fuels are the power sector. Industry uses another 20 per cent. The next big consumer is the fertilizer industry which uses 16 per cent as feed stock for producing urea. Households or the domestic consumption is only 18 per cent followed by commercial use of two per cent and CNG for cars amounts to two per cent. Certain components such as propane and butane may be separated from the gas at the wells. Bottled into tubes under pressure and sold as bottled gas also called LPG.

During 2004-05, the total gas consumption gas was 1.3 trillion cubic feet (TCFT). Our current gas total resource potential is 32 TCFT. At present the rate of consumption which is bound to rise with increasing growth, which is 3,700 mmcf/day and production is 3800 mmcf/day. Our reserves are adequate for only 24 years. Pakistan has 10,000 km. of gas transmission lines and 80,000 kilometers of gas distribution lines. Gas domestic consumers are 3.8 million and gas commercial consumers are 65,000. However, still only 18% of the population has access to natural gas. Gas production has been increasing at a steady rate of 10 per cent per annum. In fact, Pakistan has the best integrated gas supply system amongst the developing countries of the world.

The total number of vehicles running on CNG has reached over 902.000 making Pakistan the world's second and Asia's largest consumer of CNG in the transportation Industry. The commercial requirement of energy in the country has doubled over the last decade, with the demand for natural gas growing at 10% per annum. However, gas discoveries and supply are not keeping pace with the increasing demand and the requirement for imported gas has become inevitable with the expected shortfall of 700 mmcf /day by 2010. Pakistan is also emerging as the preferred transit route for energy in the region, due to its ideal geographical location at the crossroads of Central Asia and the Arabian Sea. Talks are underway for the construction of a USD 4 billion gas pipeline from Central Asia or the Middle East to cater to the energy requirements of the neighboring countries. This has given a new dimension to the transnational gas pipeline projects which are seriously being considered to cater to the energy requirements of the region; the energy plan of the Government entails multi million dollar investments in up gradation and construction of new projects to meet the long term requirements of the country.

The demand for petroleum products is expected to stay steady at 20 million tons per annum with the increased energy demand to be catered by additional indigenous gas supplies to reduce the import bill of over USD 3 billion per annum, The total oil resource potential is 27 billion barrels. With crude oil refining capacity 11.28 million tones per year. The locally refined products per year are 8.7 million tones per year; the total consumption of oil is 20 millions tons per year & imports is 17 million tones per annum. The current production of oil in Pakistan is 75,000 barrels per day. With increase exploratory and production activities in Pakistan oil production is expected to increase to 100,000 barrels per day in the next few years.

The coal is another source of energy product in the country. Pakistan is the world's 8th biggest producer of coal and the total proven reserves of coal in the country is estimated to be at 185 billion tons, having production of 3.31 million tons and with a consumption of 4.04 million tons. Feasibility studies are also underway for the development of over 1,000 MW of energy through the use of solid waste and coal.

Conclusion: Energy resources available should be efficiently utilized so as to get maximum benefits for the varieties of fields. The new technologies and procedures adopted internationally should be critically analyzed for their practicability in the country. According to some experts, the country's acute power crunch could be obviated by utilizing the vast reserve of high quality coal. Pakistan has about 185 billion tons of coal reserve in the country. The government must also actively promote energy efficiency and conservation. The power supply is well below the generating capacity, which needs separate discussion and elaboration.