En­ergy se­cu­rity and de­vel­op­ment

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - Ma­lik M Ashraf Email: ashrafazim2000@ya­hoo.com — The writer is free­lance colum­nist based in Is­lam­abad.

im­por­tance of en­ergy secu rity in the in­dus­trial and over­all de­vel­op­ment of a coun­try can hardly be overem­pha­sized. It is be­lieved that the en­ergy cri­sis grip­ping the coun­try for well over a decade has af­fected the growth of our GDP by at least 3% an­nu­ally, be­sides caus­ing in­con­ve­nience and suf­fer­ings to mil­lions of house­holds across the coun­try. The present government which won the fran­chise of the peo­ple in the 2013 gen­eral elec­tions owed its triumph to its pledge to over­come the en­ergy cri­sis and re­vive the econ­omy, which was in com­plete sham­bles.

An in­ci­sive glance at the ef­forts of the government dur­ing the last three years in re­gards to tack­ling the en­ergy cri­sis and re­viv­ing the econ­omy in­deed re­veals en­cour­ag­ing trends. The econ­omy more or less has been put on the right course. A rare com­mit­ment has been shown in tid­ing over the en­ergy cri­sis through dis­cernible and cred­i­ble mea­sures. A num­ber of en­ergy pro­duc­ing projects have been ini­ti­ated which are likely to take the coun­try to­wards en­ergy se­cu­rity by the end of 2018.

The most sig­nif­i­cant and early har­vest­ing project com­ing on stream is the im­port of LNG from Qatar. Our na­tional scene is so dom­i­nated by po­lit­i­cal squab­bles that such de­vel­op­ments hardly get the at­ten­tion and ac­knowl­edge­ment that they re­ally de­serve. Ac­cord­ing to the deal with Qatar which has a time-span of 15 years, it will sup­ply LNG worth $1bil­lion per an­num to Pak­istan. It is noteworthy to men­tion that the price agreed for gas is much be­low the gas price ne­go­ti­ated for TAPI and IP Gas.

The im­por­tance of the agreed deal can be bet­ter un­der­stood by hav­ing a look at the ground re­al­i­ties in re­gards to power gen­er­a­tion in Pak­istan. Presently more than 50% of cur­rent to­tal en­ergy mix of Pak­istan is based on nat­u­ral gas. Pak­istan’s con­strained de­mand for nat­u­ral gas is 6000 MMFCD against a sup­ply of 4000 MMFCD and the un­con­strained de­mand is es­ti­mated to be 8000 MMFCD. Over the last ten years pro­duc­tion of gas in Pak­istan has re­mained stag­nant at 4000 MMFCD and the new gas discoveries have barely kept pace with nat­u­ral de­ple­tion of ex­ist­ing gas fields. The government has al­ready com­pleted one LNG ter­mi­nal at Port Qasim to han­dle the im­ports and the se­cond one is in the process of be­ing built. More ter­mi­nal are planned to be built in the near fu­ture. An agree­ment with Rus­sia has al­ready been signed for the con­struc­tion of a gas pipe­line be­tween Lahore and Karachi with an in­vest­ment of $2bil­lion. The im­port LNG has al­ready started cre­at­ing its im­pact. For the last two month the in­dus­trial sec­tor is get­ting un­in­ter­rupted sup­ply of gas and the govt re­port­edly is also mulling pos­si­bil­ity to lift ban on new gas con­nec­tions for in­dus­trial sec­tor.

LNG im­ports from Qatar re­port­edly would meet 20% gas re­quire­ments of the coun­try. In terms of im­pact, it is es­ti­mated that it would help in the gen­er­a­tion of 3000 MW of elec­tric­ity at much cheaper rates; it would re­vi­tal­ize the fer­til­izer and other in­dus­tries, elim­i­nate load shed­ding for do­mes­tic con­sumers be­sides re­viv­ing the for­tunes of the CNG in­dus­try. The sup­ply of gas to the CNG in­dus­try would not only pro­tect an in­vest­ment of Rs.450 bil­lion made in the sec­tor but would save thou­sands of ex­ist­ing jobs in ad­di­tion to cre­at­ing about one mil­lion new em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties. The sup­ply of gas to CNG sta­tions would also help in re­duc­ing trans­port fares, pro­vide sub­stan­tial sav­ings to the users of petroleum prod­ucts and play a sig­nif­i­cant role in check­ing the un­bri­dled in­fla­tion, cre­at­ing over­all healthy im­pact on eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion of the coun­try.

In view of fore­go­ing de­vel­op­ments made pos­si­ble by an unswerv­ing com­mit­ment of the present government and the en­ergy pro­duc­ing projects launched un­der the CPEC with a cu­mu­la­tive elec­tric­ity gen­er­at­ing ca­pac­ity of 10,640 MW, likely to come on stream by 2017-18, the prospects of tid­ing over the en­ergy cri­sis as well as mak­ing Pak­istan an en­ergy se­cure coun­try in near fu­ture look al­most cer­tain. It is said that credit must be given where it lies.

The PML (N) government in pur­suance of its elec­toral com­mit­ments has ex­hib­ited un­par­al­leled com­mit­ment in deal­ing with the en­ergy short­ages and rein­vig­o­rat­ing the econ­omy through pru­dent eco­nomic man­age­ment, which has been duly ac­knowl­edged the world over.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.