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German company to set up 100MW solar plant in Sahiwal

There memorandums of understanding have been signed between the Punjab government and a German company for cooperation in energy sector.

Under the agreements, the German company will set up a 100-megawatt solar power plant in Sahiwal as well as one plant each of biogas and biomass. The installation work of 100-megawatt solar power plant would be completed in four months.

Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, head of the delegation of the German company Helmut Fugemann, other officials of the German company, Coordinator to Chief Minister on Energy, Shahid Riaz Gondal, Additional Chief Secretary Energy and relevant officers were present at the signing ceremony.

Additional Chief Secretary Energy Jehanzeb Khan, Secretary Agriculture Munir Ijaz and head of the delegation of the German company signed the documents.

Speaking on the occasion, the chief minister welcomed the agreements. He said the Punjab government was making serious efforts for the implementation of the power projects so that energy crisis could be resolved in the country. He said that agreements have been signed with several foreign companies for overcoming energy crisis and their implementation would substantially reduce energy problem in the country.

He said that special incentives and facilities were being offered for investment in the energy sector.

He said that work would be carried out expeditiously on the projects of 100-megawatt solar power plant in Sahiwal and biogas and biomass plants by the German company and it would be provided maximum facilities and cooperation by the Punjab government. He said that speedy completion of the power projects was the mission of the government.

The head of the delegation of the German company Helmut Fugemann said his company wanted to promote cooperation with the Punjab government in the energy sector and initially a 100-megawatt solar power plant would be established in Sahiwal. He also expressed his interest in setting up solar power plant in Cholistan. He said that installation of solar power plant in Sahiwal would be completed in four months.

French firm plans to set up solar power plant

A French solar energy company is eyeing Pakistan with interest in an attempt to set up a mega solar power plant, an indication that foreign investors are looking at the country positively.

These remarks were made by French embassy’s Head of Economic Section in Pakistan Eric Noitakis while talking to Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Engineer Sohail Lashari at the chamber on Friday.

The diplomat said the solar company had committed to putting in investment into establishing the plant in Pakistan and he wanted to share this with the business community because this showed that foreigners were looking at Pakistan positively.

He said Parco, a subsidiary of French donor agency AFD, could offer $15 million in support of private sector projects in Pakistan, providing a great opportunity for the sector to get funds for its viable projects.

He asked the LCCI to take lead and bring an 80-plus delegation to France from different chambers in Punjab in order to deepen bilateral trade. In the second half of 2014, he said, a French business delegation would visit Pakistan, if the LCCI brought its delegation in the first half of the year.

Regional trade was very important and Pakistan and India should promote bilateral trade as it was the best way to change the mindset of people in both countries, he remarked.

Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI president stressed that the chamber wanted to sign a mediation deal with the Paris Chamber of Commerce for resolving disputes between Pakistani and French businessmen.

“We are going to start video conferencing at the Lahore Chamber to promote interaction with chambers around the world,” he said.

Lashari said a mediation centre had been established to help private sector companies resolve disputes swiftly and easily since cases in commercial courts often consumed a lot of money and time. “It (the centre) will avoid full-scale court procedures and dramatically reduce the time and cost of resolving disputes,” he said.

He asked French companies to target Pakistan as a potential market for their brands keeping in view the size of the consumer market, which is over 180 million, and extravagant spending by the rich.

“More than half of our population constitutes the youth who are brand conscious and also inclined to follow the fashion trends. So, I think more and more French brands can be introduced in Pakistan to tap such a huge segment of the society,” he suggested.

Catalogue exhibitions, franchise fairs and sharing trade information could also play a vital role in enhancing bilateral trade.

Pakistan’s major exports to France are clothes, hosiery items, bed and kitchen linens, appliances used in medical sciences, floating docks and light vessels, footwear, carpets, rice and leather goods.

Its imports include turbo-jets, turbo-propellers and other gas turbines, aircraft parts, electricity generating sets, rotary converters, medicated mixtures, seeds and natural milk products.

MoU for energy signed

The Sindh government and Turkey’s Sanko Holding AS and Teyo AS signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Thursday for the development of Thar coal and production of 200MW to 10,000MW electricity in phases.

The MoU on behalf of the Sindh government was signed by Director General Sindh Board of Investment Muhammad Riazuddin. The two Turkish companies were represented by Sanko Holding President Abdullkadir Konukoglu and Vice President Zekeriye Konukoglu and Teyo AS President Ferudun Korkmaz.

Under the MoU, the Turkish companies will participate in Thar Coal Award process, arrange 100 per cent project financing and provide such information as to assist the Sindh government to receive land, letter of credit, and implementation agreement. The two companies will ensure to obtain financial close on or before December 31, 2014. They will implement the project in four years from the date of achieving financial close of the project while engineering and construction work for mining shall start on or before Dec 31, 2014 whereas the government to facilitate all permits and consents including land acquisition, mining license for Thar coal blocks, implementation agreement of concession from the government, semi government and non-government organizations.

Talking to the media after the ceremony, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah said the province needs to develop its energy sector, coal mining and textiles industries for domestic consumption, export and economic wellbeing.

Net hydel profit: KP’s requests go unnoticed

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government’s repeated reminders to Water and Power Development Authority to streamline monthly net hydel profit disbursements and payment of arrears remained unfulfilled, according to official sources.

According to knowledgeable circles, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s net hydel profit arrears payable by Wapda have piled up to Rs8 billion due to inconsistency in monthly payments.

“It has become a regular practice to send written requests every month to Wapda for the timely releases and payment of arrears,” an official said.

The province receives Rs6 billion net hydel profit annually. The payment is supposed to be made in 12 equal monthly installments of Rs500 million each in accordance with an understanding between Wapda and the provincial government.

However, according to official sources, inconsistencies in monthly payments during the past few years have created a backlog, adding new dimension to disputes between Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Wapda.

Officials said whatever amount Wapda paid to the province on account of net hydel profit it was adjusted against the previous financial years’ arrears.

Out of the arrears, a sum of Rs2 billion pertains to the July-October period of the current financial year and Rs6 billion is from the 2012-13 financial year.

The delayed payments, according to sources, create accounting problems for the provincial government apart from resulting in financial problems.

According to sources, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab took up the matter of inconsistent monthly payments with the federal authorities concerned. It was decided that Wapda would pay Rs700 million every month to the provinces concerned. The arrangement was meant to streamline the current financial year’s monthly payments and clear the arrears in phases.

Wapda, said an official, complied with the new decision initially and paid Rs700 million for a couple of months. Later, it went back to its old position, exercising inconsistency in monthly payments.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led provincial government inherited the issue from its predecessor. The province, according to sources, has not yet made changes to its strategy vis-à-vis finding a way out to thorny disputes with Wapda.

Working relations between Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government and Wapda, according to sources, is one such subject that remains unchanged no matter who is in the provincial government or which political party is in power in the province.

The province has another claim of Rs101 billion arrears payable by Wapda on account of net hydel profit’s delayed disbursements.

The previous federal government agreed to pay Rs110 billion to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in a five-year period. The money was payable by Wapda in accordance with the decision of an arbitration tribunal that arbitrated between the power utility and the provincial government over the issue of non-payment of full amount of net hydel profit to the province during a period from 1990-91 to 2004-05.

The provincial government, said an official, had received Rs85 billion till June this year from the federal government and the remaining amount of Rs25 billion was payable in the ongoing financial year.

Now the province wanted Wapda to pay it Rs101 billion arrears over and above the money it got in line with the arbitration tribunal’s decision.

“The Rs101 billion amount has been calculated as interest accumulated against the delayed payment (Rs110 billion),” said the official.As the present government’s repeatedly sent monthly reminders go without catching Wapda bosses’ attention, according to knowledgeable circles, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Rs101 billion additional arrears’ claim is also likely to remain without being noticed.

Electro Flow – a new product to ease power shortages

Energy shortages in Pakistan trouble practically every consumer, whether it is domestic, commercial or industrial user, who faces power outages coupled with drop in voltage, tripping, etc due to dilapidated transmission and distribution infrastructure.

Though these hitches are threatening the national economy, at the same time they are providing opportunities for the companies interested in coming up with solutions.

Electenergy Technologies Inc (ETI), headquartered in Columbia, US, with distribution networks in 112 countries, is now targeting to enter Pakistan’s market, believing this is the right time to provide the commercial and industrial sectors with equipment which can not only optimise power utilisation, but also guarantee energy savings of up to 34%.

“Pakistan needs solutions which can minimise the energy cost and provide optimised power quality, even at unequalled level of efficiency,” said Dr Mike Mehrdad, chief designer and analyst at ETI, in an interview with The Express Tribune. “For all such problems, our product Electro Flow provides excellent solutions.”

Electro Flow is a state-of-the-art energy saving and power conditioning system which ensures power quality and energy savings for industrial and commercial facilities regardless of size, voltage or frequency. This product is installed and used by multinationals across the world to monitor electrical parametres like voltage, current, harmonics, power factors, tripping, etc.

Industries and commercial centres in Pakistan face such issues quite often when voltage suddenly drops, resulting in temporarily halt to power supply. This problem many a time proves costly to factory owners as their machinery gets out of order due to technical fault. The situation gets even worse for some industries like steel and they have to wait for hours before the restart of production.

According to Mehrdad, Electro Flow protects, monitors and activates each stage independently and addresses multiple problems and functions simultaneously. This eliminates the need for purchase of different devices to address each anomaly, which may adversely interact with each other or the load.

To date, the company has installed over 15 million devices in 112 countries. In Pakistan, the company terms the response to Electro Flow “awesome”. Mehrdad said businessmen and industrialists were showing keen interest and hoped that the company would soon start assembling the product in Pakistan.

Since ETI is a private limited company, Mehrdad avoids sharing financials and the amount of investment it is going to make in Pakistan. “Investment is not an issue, we need an excellent response, which we are getting before investment,” he said.

To introduce Electro Flow in Pakistan, ETI is partnering with Industrial Solutions, a local engineering firm operating for the last 25 years. In the beginning, ETI will export complete units on order and, later, when the demand increases, the company will set up an assembly plant in Pakistan.

The product accommodates power load from 200 kilowatts to 5,000 kilowatts (five megawatts), costing in the range of $2,000 to $30,000 depending on power load of a unit.

The company has also made the product for domestic consumers, but it is currently going through the testing phase.

Facilitating growth: US extends support to energy sector

United States (US) Ambassador Richard Olson has stated that the country will broaden its ties with Pakistan by extending cooperation in the energy sector and build better business relations.

The US ambassador made a trip along with the Minister of Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif and the Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to Washington and Houston to attend meetings for Pakistan-US Energy Working Group.

Olson said that the US has been advocating the idea of connecting South Asia with Central Asia and is currently working on the New Silk route. The meetings served a broader agenda of building business to contacts and ‘privatization of US-Pakistan ties’, discussed plans to bring LNG to Pakistan and increase cooperation in the hydel sector by exploring Pakistan’s indigenous energy resources, particularly shale gas.

Punjab, OICCI to cooperate in energy, other sectors

CHIEF Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that Pakistan is facing serious challenges like energy shortage and terrorism but the government is determined to overcome all these problems.

He said that the challenges being confronted by the country can be countered through collective wisdom, hard work and joint efforts. He said that a conducive atmosphere had been created in the province for investment and all-out facilities were being provided to local and foreign investors under one-roof. He invited Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry to invest in Punjab and assured that maximum facilities and security would be provided.

He was talking to the President Overseas Investors of Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) Kimihide Ando and Vice President Asad Jaffar who met him here on Thursday. It was agreed in the meeting that Punjab government and OICCI would cooperate in energy and other sectors.

Speaking on the occasion, he said that peace was essential for the promotion of trade and economic activities in the province and the government was taking all possible measures for maintaining a peaceful atmosphere in the province. He said there were vast opportunities of investment in energy and other sectors in the province and investment by OICCI in energy and other sectors would be welcomed. He said that promotion of social, economic and industrial activities was linked with production of electricity. He said that Punjab government was working on generation of electricity from coal, solar, biomass and biogas. He said that OICCI should come forward for promotion of cooperation in energy sector and assured that all-out facilities and incentives would be extended to them. He said OICCI should hold conference in Islamabad on energy requirements of Pakistan and power projects. He said that tough decisions have been taken to put the national economy on the right track.

President OICCI Kimihide Ando said that Pakistani government was moving in the right direction to overcome the problems being faced by the country and was making sincere efforts in this regard. He expressed the hope that PML-N government would succeed in resolving the problems of the country. He said that the OICCI was interested in promoting cooperation with Punjab government in various sectors. He also expressed the desire for investment in energy sector in Pakistan.

Alternative Source of Energy

Govt, stakeholders to discuss energy issues

The top mandarins of the Nawaz government are due to sit down with energy sector leaders and experts in Islamabad on November 30 to thrash out feasible solutions for the energy crisis.

The one-day moot on energy has gained traction and importance after the US refused to extend any help in developing coal-based power generation in Pakistan, citing hazards to the environment, effectively putting the Ministry of Water and Power authorities in a catch-22 situation, officials at the ministry told The News.

Pakistan requires $10 billion for 6600 MW power generation based on coal at Gaddani and the US’ refusal is likely to create problems for Pakistan in arranging the financing from IFIs (International Financial Institutions) particularly from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

Feasible and practical ideas will be discussed in detail during the conference, which may pave way for sustainable and cheaper supply of electricity and gas in Pakistan. At present, Pakistan’s gas production stands at 4.2 BCFD per day while the country’s requirement stands at over 6 BCFD.

The energy crisis has worsened recently with citizens, particularly in Punjab, facing zero supply of gas for domestic utility. Further, gas will not be available for the CNG, power sector, industrial and commercial sector and fertiliser sector from December to February and the domestic consumer will only be provided gas during cooking hours. Pakistan has conventional reserves of 23 TCF and 286 million barrels per day but the exploration and production activities are slow to tap into these resources.

Meanwhile, the minister for petroleum and natural resources claims that Pakistan has no reasonable gas and oil reserves so it is left with no option but to import LNG. The Nawaz government wants to import 2-2.5 BCFD gas per day in next two and half years and first 200-400 mmcd gas flow to be imported by November 2014 under the fast track LNG import project. “We want the public to use LPG for domestic needs instead of natural gas. Likewise, public transport should also utilise LPG which is also environment friendly fuel and cheaper than petroleum and diesel,” said Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

Further, the Energy Information Administration, which is the American federal authority on energy statistics and analysis, said that Pakistan is estimated to have fresh recoverable shale gas reserves of 105 trillion cubic feet (TCF) and more than nine billion barrels of oil in Pakistan, according to assessment carried out in June. However, a precise assessment is needed and a US Company has begun working on assessing the exact number of shale gas reserves Pakistan. If Pakistan is indeed proven to be rich in shale gas, then US cooperation would be needed to exploit these reserves.

SCB to continue investment in energy projects, SMEs

Sir John Peace, chairman of Standard Chartered Plc, said on Wednesday that the bank will continue to invest in the energy projects and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Speaking at a roundtable discussion on “The outlook and opportunities of Standard Chartered in Pakistan, which was held at the bank premises, he said that these sectors have huge potential to achieve economic growth.

The share of SMEs sector in the entire economy accounts for 30 percent with a large scope of strengthening small businesses and generating employment in the country, he said.

“The SCB has been providing financing facilities in the energy and infrastructure projects to certain companies in Pakistan,” Peace said, adding that the SCB further tends to increase its wholesale banking and consumer loans’ portfolio in the near future.

Despite security concerns, foreign investors are keen to invest in Pakistan, he said. Similarly, the SCB is willing to expand its penetration in the country, as “we make our strategies on a long-term basis”.

“The SCB has already been facilitating its clients (200 companies) to boost trade and commercial activities in Pakistan and China as a financial channel and having its large presence in India, the bank will be happy to serve the clients of India and Pakistan, as well if bilateral economic relations between India and Pakistan improved in the days to come.”

Christos Papadopoulos, regional chief executive officer of the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan, Standard Chartered, said that the bank plays an important role in providing cross-border financing and improving inflows of the foreign direct investment in Pakistan and in the regions of the Middle East and North Africa.

He said the bank enters the Iraqi financial market by opening branches in Baghdad and Basra, while it has an onshore presence in Afghanistan.

“The SCB has been growing in trade in Asia and Africa,” he said.

Mohsin Nathani, chief executive officer of SCB, said that the bank has a strong balance-sheet with a network of 116 branches across the country. Moreover, the cost of funds is among the best in the country.

“The bank has been investing in the optimisation of branches and electronic channels,” he said, adding that the bank has been acting as financial adviser for some power and infrastructure projects.