Pakistan’s Integrated energy plan in the offing

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Aims at increasing share of coal, hydro and renewable resources; self-reliance in energy supplies by 2022
By Saad Hasan

KARACHI: Work on Pakistan’s first Integrated Energy Plan is in final stages amid the worst power crisis which has sparked violent protests in recent months, leader of the Economic Advisory Committee’s energy task force told The News.

The long overdue plan is being prepared with feedback from experts belonging to different energy sectors, said Farooq Rehmatullah.

“It will be a broad outline for the government to form future energy policies,” he said, adding “suggestions have been incorporated with a view to making the country self-sufficient in energy supplies by year 2022.”

The plan, he said, seeks to increase the share of coal, hydro and renewable sources in the future energy mix, which at present is heavily relied on natural gas and oil.

Share of hydro, coal and renewable sources has been envisioned at 20 per cent, 13pc and 14pc respectively. “There is a lot of potential for coal and renewable energy resources like wind power,” Rehmatullah said.

All efforts to use proven coal reserves in Sindh have been bogged down by inter-governmental differences over priorities. The country produces not a single megawatt of wind power while the issue of feasible electricity tariff persists.

The projected share of oil and gas at 20pc and 21pc in the energy mix in the next 13 years entails the desire to increase dependence on indigenous production of hydrocarbons.

It is assumed that 7pc energy needs will be met from imported gas while nuclear power plants and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) will have share of 2pc and 3pc respectively.

Experts have long called for a concrete energy plan which can work as a guideline for all energy policies and initiatives of the government. Misplaced priorities of the past like allowing CNG in vehicles and not increasing gas production has led to the present crisis, they opine.

Still some members of the committee, which is working on the energy plan, are skeptical about it making any significant impact. “I won’t even call it a plan. It is more like a roadmap for the government,” said one member. “A thorough plan includes cost evaluation of all the projects and determines if they are feasible.”

Nevertheless, a senior Planning Commission official said database will be established to ascertain energy supply and demand projections in light of the given plan.

Vital suggestions: Farooq Rehmatullah said the plan also includes suggestions pertaining to gas pricing issues and steps needed to bring stability in prospective areas of Balochistan.

“We have asked the government to link gas prices to at least 70pc cost of imported crude oil,” he said, recalling that the 1997 Petroleum Policy was the most successful because it gave similar incentives.

He said the government has also been made to realise that people of Balochistan must be shareholders in energy production from there.

“Balochistan has been a no-go area for exploration companies,” he said, “we are saying make locals stakeholders, let them enjoy the benefit of taxes, royalties and profits.”

In the present energy mix, gas has a 49pc share, oil 29pc, hydro 13pc, coal 7pc and nuclear 1pc.

Courtesy: The News, 14th January, 2009

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