Pakistan coal reserves are estimated at 175 billion tons which according to the Vice-Chancellor (VC) of Punjab University, Professor Dr Mujahid Kamran equal 618 billion barrels of crude oil. According to the most reliable analytical reports Saudi Arabian crude oil reserves are estimated at around 260 billion barrels. At 60 Dollars per barrel this equates to 3708 Billion Dollars or approx. 4 Trillion Dollars (at current prices). At future prices these reserves will be worth 8 or 24 Trillion Dollars. This is enough money to build the most modern infrastructure, the best roads, the best hospitals, the best education, the best universities, the best hi-speed rail system and the best public transportation system on the planet
Vision needed to use huge coal reserves to build Carbon-Chemical industry
Should Pakistan burn coal or use coal set up carbon-chemical industry which could be utilized to export value added materials to the planet and used for domestic consumption. Burning coal is like burning sandal wood. How quickly can Pakistan wean itself off the “burning coal” paradigm–perhaps after using it to meet the immediate energy needs. A lack of vision would just burn the carbon–smart people can come up with a lot of innovation.
ISLAMABAD – President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry Zahid Maqbool Friday said there is need to utilise Thar coal as it has the potential to produce 100,000 MW for 300 years, which is the solution of the power crisis.
He observed this while presiding over a meeting of ICCI Sub Committee on Energy. “According to the Geological Survey of Pakistan (2005), Pakistan has huge coal reserves of about 185b tons bulk of which are located in Sindh,” he informed,
He said that all South Asian economies including Pakistan are confronted with a massive crisis of power shortage leading to excessive load shedding due to which their economies are badly suffering. However, they can overcome this problem if they agree to a single point agenda of utilising untapped energy potential found in Pakistan and Nepal, he opined.
Not only Pakistan but Nepal also has the largest hydropower potential in South Asia, as it possesses 83,000 MW of hydroelectric power potential he said and added that both the countries have the potential to meet the energy needs of the entire South Asian region, but due to financial constraints, they could not tap this potential.
He stressed that to exploit this massive energy potential coal and water in Pakistan and Nepal, South Asian countries including India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan should pool their financial resources and technical expertise and start mega energy projects in Pakistan and Nepal and develop a consensus energy distribution formula for meeting their energy needs.
He said there are many examples of power sharing among countries of Africa, Latin America, Central Asia and South East Asia and South Asian countries should also take benefit from such arrangements.
The Thar Coal and Energy Board has constituted a committee to prepare a formula for determining Thar coal price based on international best practices.
The committee consists of Murad Ali Shah, Secretary Irrigation and Power and Asad Ali Shah, a private member of the board.
Board’s secretary Aijaz Ali Khan told Dawn that while Ogra is regulatory regime for determining prices of oil and gas, there is no coal pricing agency or pricing formula in place for Thar coal.
He said that the absence of regulatory regime for Thar coal is one of the barriers in determining tariff for coal-fired power plants to be set up at Thar.
In the past a Chinese company, which had reached an advance stage of setting up a power plant at Thar, was refused a reasonable tariff by a federal agency, which compelled the company to pack off.
Meanwhile, the Thar Coal and Energy Development department is preparing detailed information guidelines, which will provide specific information on legal and regulatory framework as well as commercial benefits to the national and international investors participating in international bidding for Thar Coal Block I.
The board has decided to offer 20 per cent Internal Rate of Return (IRR) to firms which achieve financial close before Dec 31, 2015 for power plants based on Thar coal.
It will offer 25 per cent IRR to firms, which achieve financial close by 2014.
Two international and two local companies are working in various Thar blocks to set up coal-fired power plants. A UK firm Cougar Energy is exploiting Block III for underground coal gasification, which will lead to a 400mw power plant.
UK firm Oracle Gas Fields also plans to develop 1.4 billion tons coal in Block V1 integrating the mine with the construction of a mine-mouth power plant.
The Thar Coal Power Project (TCPP) would attract over $20 billion foreign investment within next six months, an official of Sindh Coal Authority Board (SCAB) told Business Recorder on Sunday. According to Sharjeel Memon, one of the SCABs governors, a host of interested companies from United States, China, Britain, Singapore, South Korea, Germany, Poland, Australia etc would invest over $20 billion in the Tharparkar-based energy project.
Memon, who is also the member of provincial assembly of Sindh, revealed that even the neighbouring India had shown interest in the attractive coal-based power generation project, TCPP. He, however, opined that tension at border and an ongoing blame-game between the two nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours were likely to keep New Delhi away from the project. The SCAB official also linked the expected investment with an early end to the ongoing political turmoil in the country.
“Lots of MoUs have been signed and a host of foreign firms keen to invest in the coal sector are visiting the Chief Minister on almost daily basis… work is underway on war footing basis,” he added. Also, he said, President Asif Ali Zardari, during his recent visit to China, had inked different MoUs with the investors in Beijing.
He said a nine-member Korean delegation, which had held a “fruitful” meeting with Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah last Thursday, would soon start boring for mining in Blocks 4 and 8 of the site.
The coal exploration work would follow the power generation process that, the MPA said, was a federal subject and would be carried out by Islamabad.
According to Memon the TCPP would help Sindh province generate at least 7000-8000 MW electricity by 2012, which would not only cater to the countrys 3,500MW power shortage, but would also be exported to the neighbouring countries. He said the provincial government had undertaken a fast track infrastructure development in Thar, along with a coal based mine-mouth thermal power plant by a Korean firm at an estimate cost of $3 billion. According to Asad Ali Shah, another SCAB member, a coal-based power generation plant in Thar would help Pakistan save a huge sum of $8 billion it was presently paying for imports of oil to run its power generation units. A recent study has revealed that Tharparkar has 175 billion tons of coal reserves with a best power generation quality, he added.
Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that the feasibility report of the Thar Coal will be ready by June this year for submission to Sindh Government. Qureshi said that he has very good interaction with China’s top corporate leaders here in Beijing and also held talk with a top official whose company is carrying out the feasibility report on Thar coal. The company will finish the work on feasibility report by June and thereafter it will be submitted to the Sindh Government. The foreign minister said that he has discussed the prospects of utilizing the Thar coal for generating thermal power and was pleased to learn that the quality of Thar coal is far better than the imported coal being presently used for the purpose.
“So the chances for using Thar coal for power generation is very bright, according to initial report”, the foreign minister told APP in an exclusive interview during his stay in Beijing.
The geology of the area is quite friendly so it will not be difficult to extract the coal, he said and added that “the prospects are very encouraging”.
The foreign minister said that he also exchanged views with top officials of China Harbour with regard to prospects of growth and development of Gwadar port so that how we could utilize the port in more effective manner.
“I got some good ideas about how to develop infrastructure around Gwadar port to make it more useful”, Mr. Qureshi said.
Gwadar being close to the proximity of Iran which is rich in oil, therefore we can develop it as key area for establishing chemical industries, he observed.
During his interaction, Qureshi said that he has shared some good ideas with the leaders of corporate sector and they are very enthusiastic about working in Pakistan.
He said that during last one and half years there is lot of enthusiasm that has been generated on broadening the economic base between Pakistan and China.
The feedback, he got from the private sector, he said is that in the coming days the potential of broadening the economic and commercial ties with China is very bright and that is exactly in line with the economic diplomacy the foreign office was pursuing.
As we have plenty of sunshine round the year, therefore, there is also tremendous potential for bilateral engagements in development of solar energy.
He said that as the solar energy is becoming more and more sophisticated and would become cheap in cost with the passage of time, Pakistan offers lot of prospects in solar energy.
“Chinese cooperation can help Pakistan in overcoming the energy problem” Pakistan is facing at the moment, Qureshi said and added that it will also lay the base of foundations for industrial and agricultural growth in Pakistan.
The foreign minister said that he also had very fruitful meeting with those corporate sector people involved in river dredging projects in Pakistan that has already been initiated.
He further said that when completed the project would offer new opportunities for navigation and transportation as well as improving irrigation system in Pakistan.
Member Science & Technology Planning Commission, Dr Samar Mubarakmand said Pakistan has the potential to generate 50,000 megawatt electricity from Thar coal field for 800 years.
He said the field would start generating 100 megawatt power within the next 15-18 months, whereas, in the next phase, 500 to 1000 megawatt power plants will be installed to generate power through coal gasification, adding that after about 3 years Pakistan will be able to install the first 1000 megawatt power plant in Thar.
Dr Samar said power generated from coal gasification would be much cheaper, which will be sold to Sindh government at the rate of Rs 3.90 per unit. He said our focus is to produce turbine and generators in the country as 75 percent cost of a power plant is incurred on import of these equipments.
He said South Africa and China are producing ample diesel from coal and added that Pakistan could also produce more than enough diesel from Thar coal. He said Pakistan has also sound potential to generate energy from waste material and once these indigenous resources are brought into the mainstream production, there would be no need to resort to expensive power generation.
He said the country is blessed with $1.2 trillion worth of copper and gold reserves, mostly in Balochistan, and our country could become financially stable by exploiting these reserves.
Highlighting other projects, he said textile and garments cities have been set up in many cities of the country to facilitate businessmen while an Expo Centre at the cost of Rs 2.2 billion is being set up in Lahore for promotion of exports.
Earlier, President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce, Zahid Maqbool said manufacturing and industrial units were badly suffering due to shortage of energy and natural energy resources should be utilized to provide cheap energy to industry.
He said Thar coal has huge coal reserves and the government should fully exploit this potential not only to become self-sufficient in energy, but also to export the surplus coal to other countries and earn more foreign exchange.
Theme: ‘Thar coal field can generate 50,000MW power’
HYDERABAD, April 24: Sindh Irrigation and Power Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said on Saturday that the Thar coal power project had been put on the backburner because of opposition by ‘certain lobbies’.
But now the project had become part of the government energy policy and it had been resolved in the recently held three day energy summit to generate 8,000 megawatts from Thar coal by 2015 when consumption would be 36,000 MW and energy shortfall would be 21,000 MW, he said.
Addressing a press conference at the circuit house after chairing a meeting with representatives of industrialists, growers, small traders and Hesco, he said that “until recently some lobbies whom I won’t name have been opposing Thar coal project but now it has become part of government’s energy policy”. The minister who heads one of the committees formed by Sindh government to seek support for the government’s power conservation plan said that some environmental issues were also attached with the project and some agencies were expressing reservations over discharge of carbon in the air.
The World Bank, he said, had asked the government to present a paper on how it was going to tackle the energy problem. By 2030 when the country’s power needs would be around 114,000 MW, Thar coal would be contributing 30,000 MW, he said.