Pakistan plans to quadruple domestic coal-fired power, move away from gas
- Energy minister says LNG is no longer part of long-term plan.
- Country plans increasing domestic coal-fired power capacity to 10GW in medium-term.
- Pakistan’s annual LNG imports fell to lowest levels in five years.
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan plans to quadruple its domestic coal-fired capacity to reduce power generation costs and will not build new gas-fired plants in the coming years, its energy minister told Reuters on Monday, as it seeks to ease a crippling foreign-exchange crisis.
A shortage of natural gas, which accounts for over a third of the country’s power output, plunged large areas into hours of darkness last year. A surge in global prices of liquefied natural gas (LNG) after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and an onerous economic crisis had made LNG unaffordable for Pakistan.
“LNG is no longer part of the long-term plan,” Pakistan Energy Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan told Reuters, adding that the country plans to increase domestic coal-fired power capacity to 10 gigawatts (GW) in the medium-term, from 2.31 GW currently.
Pakistan’s plan to switch to coal to provide its citizens reliable electricity underscores challenges in drafting effective decarbonisation strategies, at a time when some developing countries are struggling to keep lights on.
Despite power demand increasing in 2022, Pakistan’s annual LNG imports fell to the lowest levels in five years as European buyers elbowed out price-sensitive consumers.
“We have some of the world’s most efficient regasified LNG-based power plants. But we don’t have the gas to run them,” Dastgir said in an interview.
The South Asian nation, which is battling a wrenching economic crisis and is in dire need of funds, is seeking to reduce the value of its fuel imports and protect itself from geopolitical shocks, he said.
Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves held by the central bank have fallen to $2.9 billion, barely enough to cover three weeks of imports.
“It’s this question of not just being able to generate energy cheaply, but also with domestic sources, that is very important,” Dastgir said.
The Shanghai Electric Thar plant, a 1.32 GW capacity plant that runs on domestic coal and is funded under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), started producing power last week. The CPEC is a part of Beijing’s global Belt and Road Initiative.
In addition to the coal-fired plants, Pakistan also plans to boost its solar, hydro and nuclear power fleet, Dastgir said, without elaborating.
If the proposed plants are constructed, it could also widen the gap between Pakistan’s power demand and installed power generation capacity, potentially forcing the country to idle plants.
The maximum power demand met by Pakistan during the year ended June 2022 was 28.25 GW, more than 35% lower than power generation capacity of 43.77 GW.
It was not immediately clear how Pakistan will finance the proposed coal fleet, but Dastgir said setting up new plants will depend on “investor interest,” which he expects to increase when newly commissioned coal-fired plants are proved viable.
Financial institutions in China and Japan, which are among the biggest financiers of coal units in developing countries, have been backing out of funding fossil-fuel projects in recent years amid pressure from activists and Western governments.
Gold rally in Pakistan as rupee extends losses
Gold prices climbed on Friday on the back of a sliding rupee, as markets remained focused on the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) interest rate strategy.
According to the data released by All-Pakistan Sarafa Gems and Jewellers Association (APSGJA), the price of gold (24 carats) rose by Rs700 per tola and Rs601 per 10 grams to settle at Rs208,700 and Rs178,927.
Exchange loss likely to deprive masses benefit in petrol price cut
- Govt to announce petrol price today for next fortnight.
- Exchange loss adjustment to rob consumers of petrol price cut.
- Current exchange rate is heavily tilted in favour of the dollar.
KARACHI: Due to a sharp rise in the value of the dollar in the last two weeks, the masses may not get any benefit in the prices of petroleum products, according to a The News report.
The report said that the price of diesel is reflecting an Rs34/litre decrease for the next fortnight. The government is scheduled to review the price of petroleum products today.
The international price of crude oil has come down, which can be translated into a major cut in domestic prices of petroleum products, but only if the government passes on the full impact to the end consumers.
However, sources in the oil sector believe that the government would not pass on the full impact of the reduction in the international prices on exchange losses accumulated over the months, which had put the oil sector in a financial crunch.
The government may be deterred to pass on the impact to end consumers, as the oil sector would be in deep financial trouble if their losses are not adjusted on account of sharp exchange rate fluctuations in the past many months.
Oil sector sources told the publication that the ex-refinery price of diesel is showing Rs34/litre decrease for the next fortnight. However, the exchange losses on diesel go over Rs100/litre, which needs to be adjusted.
Sources said that the government may pass on some relief by cutting the diesel price by Rs15 to 20 per litre for the consumers while adjusting the remaining exchange losses.
Sources, however, felt that this was a ripe time for the government to adjust whatever remained of exchange loss adjustment.
The fall in crude prices gave the government enough fiscal space to accommodate the oil companies, which have been facing financial problems as they were not receiving the full amount of exchange losses.
As far as petrol is concerned, its price is showing Rs13-14 per litre decline on the basis of its ex-refinery price in the next fortnight.
Again the exchange loss adjustment may deprive the consumers of the benefit of price reduction and the government may only pass on Rs4-5 relief while adjusting the remaining amount.
The present exchange rate is heavily tilted in the favour of the dollar. It is a huge hurdle for the government, in terms of reducing the prices of petroleum products in the domestic market.
According to the oil industry estimates, the average exchange rate calculated for the next fortnight is Rs283 to determine the price of the ex-refinery.
Pakistan’s oil sector has repeatedly requested the government in many letters to resolve the exchange losses issue, with few players in the industry pleading to make it more fair and transparent.
Petrol relief package gives IMF ‘excuse’ to delay agreement
- IMF verifying from KSA, UAE on financing before staff-level deal.
- Fund rejects initial petrol subsidy plan.
- Asks Pakistan to provide more details about fuel relief package.
ISLAMABAD: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has asked the Pakistani authorities to provide more details about the petrol relief package causing more delay in the signing of the staff-level agreement, The News reported Thursday.
The half-baked cross-fuel subsidy proposal by the petroleum ministry has failed to convince the Fund, which has rejected the initial plan arguing that more details are required to verify its sustainability.
The question arises, according to the publication, as to why the PM Office and Ministry of Petroleum announced the plan without taking the IMF review mission into confidence prior to its announcement.
The report stated that the Ministry of Finance has distanced itself from the plan proposed at a time when Pakistan and the lender are inching towards signing the agreement.
The Ministry of Petroleum has now been advised to withdraw the proposal at this stage and iron out the policy details with the Ministry of Finance and then take the IMF into confidence in the next review.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Finance Dr Aisha Ghaus Pasha has termed the petrol subsidy plan ‘not workable’.
Speaking to journalists after attending the Senate Standing Committee on Finance meeting, Aisha Ghaus Pasha said there is no suggestion of subsidy on petroleum products and the Petroleum Division had suggested cross-subsidies on petroleum products, which is not workable.
She said that the parleys with the IMF were continuing and now the only outstanding issue remained of the lender getting confirmation on external financing from bilateral countries, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which was underway.
“There are indications that financial assistance is expected from bilateral friends very soon, that will help finalise the staff-level agreement with the IMF,” she said.
PM directs authorities to ensure smooth gas supply during Ramadan
Election delay case: SC turns down govt’s request to form full court
Hajj 2023: Last date for application submission extended
Barwaan Khiladi: Kinza Hashmi discusses her role as Alia
WATCH: Pakistani traveller deported from Dubai for damaging plane mid-air
Snap launches tools for parents to monitor teens’ contacts
Learn First | How to Create Amazon Seller Account in Pakistan – Step by Step
Sajjad Jani Funny Mushaira | Funny Poetry On Cars🚗 | Funny Videos | Sajjad Jani Official Team
Pakistan Reaction On Huge Win Against India | Pakistani Celebs Celebrate World T20 Cricket
Business2 days ago
Banks to observe extended working hours
Pakistan2 days ago
Record number of emigrants registered for overseas employment in 2022
Business2 days ago
Petrol, diesel prices likely to go down from April 1
Business2 days ago
PM Shehbaz takes notice of gas loadshedding during sehr, iftar
Business2 days ago
FinMin Dar meets UAE envoy as Pakistan scrambles to secure IMF deal
Tech2 days ago
Humanity at risk: Musk, others ring alarm bells over hasty ‘giant AI experiments’
Politics2 days ago
Imran Khan gets relief in Toshakhana case
Politics2 days ago
Judge threatening case: Imran Khan’s non-bailable arrest warrant issued