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An engineer works in the electricity control room at the Hub Power Co plant in Hub, Balochistan. Pakistan’s power sector is receiving investments from Dubai, China, Thailand, South Korea and Saudi Arabia. — Bloomberg
Two Dubai-based companies are leading the way to build Pakistan’s huge energy projects, as the deepening electricity crisis is crushing the economy. The two Dubai-based companies are: Arab National ConstructionHoldings, or ANC and Al Aqili Group.
The overall, multi-sector energy plan is estimated in the investment range of $50 billion to $60 billion, at this early start up date. When the crippling energy crisis eases, the economy will look up, industrial output will rise, and much greater production will be ensured.
On its back foreign trade will expand to the advantage of all the regional and global business partners of Pakistan, including the Gulf countries, and UAE. The target is to raise the GDP growth to five per cent plus in the short term, from a low of 2.5 per cent seen in the last seven years, after the country had recorded a six to seven per cent annual growth during 2001-05.
Investing in the Pakistani power sector now are government and private companies from Dubai, China, Thailand, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistani private sector itself. The projects which are being implemented cover hydel electric power, coal-fired power, wind and solar power, and natural gas.
Following high level Saudi and UAE leadership talks in Islamabad, in the lest few days, King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khlifa, is scheduled to visit Pakistan this month. The two countries are expected to sign six MoUs and agreements for mutual cooperation. These are likely to cover economic cooperation, trade, energy, and infrastructure, as at present indicated.
Dubai’s ANC has just signed up to install two coal-based power plants, to generate 1,320 megawatts of electricity, with two plants, each of 660 megawatts, at Gadani, in Baluchistan, at the mouth of the Arabian Sea — Straits of Hurmouz. The two plants will cost $2.5 billion. The total funding will be done by ANC itself.
Business-friendly Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who recently visited UAE “wooed ANC to invest in Pakistan,” a senior official informed the Khaleej Times.
ANC will also build a jetty to handle coal, and supply the electricity, it generates, through a 75-kilometre long transmission line into the national power grid. The project will be completed within three and a half years. The agreement for the project has just been signed in Islamabad by Faris Tayeb Abdul Rahim Al Baker, CEO of ANC and N.A. Zuberi, managing director of Pakistan Private Power and Infrastructure Board, or PPIB.
The ANC chairman, who was present along with Sharif at the signing, expressed his gratitude “for the level of commitment from the government to pursue the projects.”
Sharif said: “I have prioritised the energy sector and planned several projects in this regard. Pakistan will warmly welcome if more Dubai-UAE investors come forward.”
About 10 coal-based power projects of 660 megwatts each will be built at Gadani. Chinese companies have are investing in six projects. Two plants will be constructed by ANC, and one by government of Pakistan.
Two coal-based plants with a generating capacity of 600 megawatts each, are already being completed at Port Qasim near Karachi. Government of the Punjab is building seven similar capacity plants, including two at Sahiwal, and five more at other locations.
The government has invited foreign investment in coal mining at Thar in the southern Sindh province, and for establishing mine-mouth coal power projects inn Sindh. A 1,000 mega watt plant is being set up at Solar Power Park in Punjab. At the same time, Hydropower generation plants, to produce 2,730 mw are being completed at the already operational, huge multi-purpose Tarbela Dam, 60 kilometre west of Islamabad. These are the Prime Minister’s priorities to overcome the deepening energy crisis. More plants, based on various forms of fuel, will follow and will be open for foreign investors, especially those from United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
The other Dubai-based company — Al Aqili Group — also signed a separate agreement with Pakistan in Islamabad last week to supply 3,000 mega watts of electricity from Iran under this long-term contact. The group will also finance and build transmission lines to supply the electricity into Pakistan’s national power grid. The agreement signing ceremony was witnessed by Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Pakistani Minister for Water and Power, and Mohammad Saeed Al Aqili, CEO of the Aqili Group.
Al Aqili Group is rated as one of the top ranking companies in the world. It has a number of big and high profile partnerships with many of the prominent multinationals in the world. Al Aqili has successfully established an extensive network of relationships with the business communities, financial institutions, and governments in various regions of the world.
Pakistan has also signed an MoU for import of Liquefied Natural Gas, or LNG, from Qatar. At the same time, Manila-based Asian Development Bank will invest $1 billion to establish a power plant at Jamshoro, in Sindh.“ Investment in all these projects is a clear manifestation of foreign investors trust in Pakistan government’s pro-investment policies,” said Sharif.
Pakistan’s Private Power Investment Board, or PPIB, this week, also approved installation of several electricity generation and power supply projects, being implemented by foreign investors.
The investors, and their projects, which will, together, produce a separate 2,630 mega watts of electricity, include: Al-Mirqab of Qatar, CWE Investment Corporation China, Trans-Tech of Pakistan, Sino Hydro Resources Ltd of China, Korea South East Power Company, Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding PCL of Thailand, and Sachal Engineering Works (Pvt) Ltd Of Pakistan. As foreign-funded investment plans keep coming in Sharif is hoping that Pakistan will not only overcome its present energy crisis, but will also generate enough surplus to meet the growing future needs.
Views expressed here are his own and do not reflect newspaper’s policy.
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