Pakistan should rely on indigenous resources for energy production
Karachi – Countries across the world rely on coal to ensure energy supply, so Pakistan too should follow the suit amid the unavailability of more than 15 thousand MWs of electricity to the national grid.
It has been reported that scheduled outages, forced outages, system congestion, fuel shortage and fewer water releases from reservoirs are among the top reasons for the massive unscheduled loadshedding across the country these days. According to a news report, 15,473 MW of electricity is out-of-system, 1,946 MW is manifested in scheduled outage, 4,236 MW in forced outage, 900 MW is not available due to system congestion, 4,452 MW not available due to fuel shortage and 5,875 MW is not available due to low hydrology.
It is to be noted that the country’s installed capacity is 37,773 MWs. The authorities have informed the Senate that fuel shortage is the main reason behind the unavailability of power. “Recently, China has announced a tax cut on the import of coal to keep their energy supply intact. Last year, China’s 50% economy was fuelled by coal with record-high imports,” said Syed Saifullah Kazmi, a renowned financial expert.
It has been reported that China will have a zero tax rate for all coal imports from May 1st till March 31st next year to “strengthen the guarantee of energy supply and promote development”. Besides China, said the expert, countries across the world too opted for coal for power generation and it recorded a 1% increase after the pandemic situation. “Another reason behind the surge in the use of coal is Russia’s war with Ukraine. This was the reason Germany too reconsidered using more coal to replace Russian natural gas,” said he said.
He added that around 7 billion tons of coal is produced in the world in a year and only 1 billion tons is traded, which means countries prefer local fuel options. “This shows how countries give priority to local energy resources. Only those countries go for imported options who don’t have local fuel options like Japan, Korea,” reasoned Saif. He added that Pakistan too should use its indigenous resources like coal from Thar to generate cheap energy and control the current crisis.
He said that 175 billion tonnes of coal deposits in Thar can easily make the country self-sufficient in energy. It is worth adding here that the Phase 3 expansion of Thar Coal Block II Mine to 12.2 million tons per annum has been approved. It is expected to be completed by June 2023, which in turn will reduce its coal price to $27 per ton to make it the cheapest fuel source for the country. In the long run, the Thar coal project expansion and its outcome will enable Pakistan to save $420 million per annum on account of foreign exchange, while it will result in the reduction of Rs.74 billion in circular debt on an annual basis.
“Therefore, the development of Thar Coal projects is a viable solution to arrest the increasing trade deficit and reduce the country’s reliance on imported fuels. This cheapest fuel source will lead to economic stability and energy security,” he added. Besides coal, he added, Pakistan can use its gas resources for power production as Ghotki is the gas capital of Pakistan where there are ample low BTU gas reserves in Mari, Kandhkot, Kandhra, Dera Murad Jamali, etc.