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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.

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