PAK-CHINA ENERGY MEETING

SHAMIM RIZVI
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

May 21 - 27, 20
12

The two-day second meeting of Pak-China Joint Energy Working Group (JEWG) ended in Islamabad with a happy note as China agreed to help Pakistan in a big way to overcome its energy shortage. China assured Pakistan that Chinese contractors would soon start construction of 1100MW Kohala hydropower project and increase financial support for under construction 969MW Neelum Jhelum hydropower project besides helping in completion of Diamir Bhasha. MoUs were also signed after the meeting for setting up wind energy projects of accumulative capacity of 550 MW initially.

Officials from both the countries signed the MoUs on behalf of their respective organizations in the presence of minister for water and power, Naveed Qamar, head of Chinese delegation and National Energy Administrator, Wu Gui-He, and Chinese ambassador to Pakistan.

The first meeting of the group was held at Beijing in July last year. Talking to the media after the signing ceremony, Pakistan minister for power, apparently happy on the successful parlays, said that all the power projects including coal, hydro and wind were thoroughly discussed in the two day meeting and the Chinese companies have shown keen interest to provide technical assistance and financial support for all mega projects and help Pakistan to overcome the power crises in the country.

The minister expressed the hope that with the support of China, the government of Pakistan will be able to overcome its energy deficit problem. He said that the government has initiated several projects in power sector and China has accepted our request to help in removing the financial and other hurdles in smooth running of these projects having accumulative capacity of over 10,000 MW.

Pakistan has asked technical help and financial assistance of over $11 billion in executing 19 energy related crucial projects and removing bottlenecks in them that are causing delay in their completion.

Earlier, speaking at the concluding session, the minister said that the government would provide more and more facilities to the Chinese investors in investing in the energy sector and assured them that all their problems will be addressed on top priority basis.

"Our doors would always be open for Chinese companies investing in Pakistan," he said adding that a lot of progress has been made in the meeting for positive outcome in future

In his concluding speech, National Administrator of China said that Pakistan has immense potential and rich resources for generating energy. He said that China is cognizant of Pakistan energy demand and would fully support it in overcoming the current power crises. He expressed hope that Pakistan would overcome its power crises in the near future.

Pakistan was assured in the meeting that the Chinese government would soon release the long awaited $448 million commercial loan for Neelum Jhelum project.

Heads of Chinese companies who participated in the JEWG meetings also called on the President Asif Ali Zardari along with the Chinese Ambassador in Pakistan. Senator Dr. Asim Hussain, minister for petroleum, was also present. The president, while highlighting the traditional all weather and time-tested Pak China friendship, appreciated the efforts of Orient Group of China for taking a lead in bringing private Chinese investment to Pakistan. He said that the traditional friendship of the two countries was being transformed into economic terms and both countries were trying to tap the full potential in the economic and commercial fields.

The president also appreciated close cooperation of Orient Group with Pak-China joint energy working group saying that it had a tremendous potential of extending cooperation in all sectors such as hydro, thermal, coal, wind and civil nuclear. While noting the increased production of their petroleum project, the president expressed the hope that the company would be able to enhance production of oil by tapping new resources. He invited the group to set up an oil refinery in Pakistan.