China to build power line across Pak­istan

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

ISLAMABAD:

China’s State Grid Cor­po­ra­tion is set to build a $1.5-bil­lion power line across Pak­istan to en­able the trans­mis­sion of 4,000 megawatts of elec­tric­ity from the coun­try’s north to south, the gov­ern­ment said yes­ter­day. Pak­istani and Chi­nese of­fi­cials signed an in­vest­ment agree­ment in Bei­jing on Thurs­day to build the coun­try’s first high-volt­age, di­rect current (HVDC) line, ac­cord­ing to a gov­ern­ment state­ment.

The power trans­mis­sion line would link the na­tional grid be­tween the south­ern Pak­istani town of Ma­tiari and east­ern­most city of La­hore, some 1,000 kilo­me­ters apart. Pak­istan has been strug­gling to pro­vide enough power to its nearly 200 mil­lion cit­i­zens for years, and Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif has vowed to solve the cri­sis by 2018. Sharif in­au­gu­rated Pak­istan’s fourth nu­clear power plant on Wed­nes­day, a joint col­lab­o­ra­tion with China that adds 340 megawatts to the na­tional grid as part of the gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to end a growth-sap­ping en­ergy deficit.

The en­ergy sec­tor has tra­di­tion­ally strug­gled to cover the cost of pro­duc­ing elec­tric­ity, lead­ing the gov­ern­ment to di­vert $2 bil­lion an­nu­ally as a sub­sidy, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent re­port com­mis­sioned by the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment. China is ramp­ing up in­vest­ment in its South Asian neigh­bor as part of a $46-bil­lion project un­veiled last year that will link its far-west­ern Xin­jiang re­gion to Pak­istan’s Gwadar port with a se­ries of in­fra­struc­ture, power and trans­port up­grades.

Last week Pak­istan’s main bourse an­nounced that a Chi­nese con­sor­tium was set to ac­quire a 40 per­cent stake in the stock ex­change in a deal estimated at $84 mil­lion. Shang­hai Elec­tric an­nounced in Au­gust it would buy a ma­jor­ity stake in the util­ity that sup­plies en­ergy to Karachi for $1.7 bil­lion, in the coun­try’s big­gest ever pri­vate-sec­tor ac­qui­si­tion. — AFP

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