ISLAMABAD -  Experts, analysts and prolific speakers in the energy sector of Pakistan on Thursday zeroed in on government’s resolve, innovative ideas, outcome and success of the CPEC, ongoing transnational projects and recognition of renewable energy as mainstream power technology, as future of Pakistan.

They were speaking at the 9th Pakistan Energy Forum 2016, which concluded in Islamabad on Thursday. Organised by SHAMROCK Conferences International, the annual conclave was addressed by representatives of the government, regulatory bodies, the Asian Development Bank, the US Embassy, economists, eminent practitioners, opinion makers and potential foreign investor countries.

Economist Sakib Sherani said in his keynote address, “Energy is a critical input for the economic development process. Pakistan’s energy policies and overall paradigm should support national goals of environmentally-sustainable industrialisation and export-led growth, and a more holistic approach is required. Emergent issues like inter-province energy cost differentials for industry need to be addressed.”

The theme of this year’s forum was: “Approaching new frontiers in Energy-sufficiency” which was aimed to help the experts determine how strategic decisions in this sector can pave the way to meet energy demand and drive economic prosperity in the future. Chairman of WAPDA General (Retd) Muzzamil Hussain highlighted the issues and opportunities in the sector and said that time was ripe now to walk the talk. He emphasised the need for accessibility over affordability.

In the opening session, “Strategic and Regulatory Paradigm for Energy Sufficiency”, Scott M Miller, energy officer from the US Embassy, Islamabad, said, “Through public and private sector projects, Pakistan and America have worked together to improve energy sector performance and governance, and to help Pakistan develop and grow its economy. Through the US government-funded projects, more than 28 million Pakistanis have access to electricity.”

Arshad Maqsood Malik, energy chief at the Planning Commission of Pakistan, concluded, “In parallel public and private sectors may continue to play their roles in the development and energy sufficiency of Pakistan. Policies and regulations may be improved to facilitate the private sector investment; and the management and governance capacity of public sector be strengthened to improve its efficiencies.”

Muhammad Raziuddin, CEO of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Oil and Gas Company, opined that indigenous oil and gas exploration and production on fast track basis should be initiated, transfer of technology under the 18th Amendment should be implemented, provincial petroleum policies should be developed and technical assistance should be sought from the ADB, World Bank, USAID, etc.

The second session “Integrating Public and Private Investment for Equitable Energy Mix” featured Werner E Liepach, Country Director of the Asian Development Bank (Pakistan Mission). He said that energy in Pakistan required investment, security and reliability; with there being no ideal solution for an equitable energy mix. Sardar Shaukat Aziz Popalzai eulogised the wealth of Balochistan and stressed on the government to explore the endless opportunities for energy in the province. Mahfooz Ahmed Qazi, director of Energy Department, Government of Sindh, projected the extent of coal-mining work being carried out in the province and aired a compelling video to support his presentation.

The third session “Technology for Ecology, Optimising Alternative Energy Resources” was addressed by Amjad A Awan, CEO of Alternate Energy Board, and Syed Imran Shah, Manager of Business Development at Fauji Fertiliser Company Limited. They reiterated that future of Pakistan’s clean and healthy energy was in recognition and proliferation of renewal energy options, wind, solar and biomass.

Being organised for the ninth consecutive time, the conference has made a mark as one of the premier events in the federal capital focusing on the challenges to the energy sector.

Earlier in his opening remarks, Menin Rodrigues, Chairman of SHAMROCK Conferences International and the convener of the conference, said, “Over the years, Pakistan has been facing numerous challenges in tapping the available resources to ensure consistent supply of energy, needed for the smooth functioning of the industrial, commercial and domestic sectors. Fortunately, the government is now evidently cognizant of this critical need and is showing great diligence to establish large-scale energy ventures, to power every deprived region and segment in the country.”

The annual conclave of key stakeholders attracted 150 delegates from more than 100 companies and organisations that are directly or indirectly connected to the energy sector in Pakistan. Display stalls were set-up by sponsor companies which provided additional attention from the participants.