German envoy apprised of opportunities in power, petroleum sectors

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s energy sector is flourishing like never before, as it is offering around $60 billion worth of investment opportunities in its renewable energy generation, transmission and distribution system.

“The petroleum sector also offers huge oil and gas exploration opportunities in around 40 new sites, auctions for which will be conducted next month,” said Power and Petroleum Minister Omar Ayub Khan in a meeting with German Ambassador Bernhard Schlangheck on Friday.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Petroleum Nadeem Babar was also present on the occasion.

Apprising the German ambassador on the new renewable energy policy, the minister said for the first time, the provinces have been given a leading role in both decision making regarding new renewable energy projects as well as in their implementation.

“For this purpose, a steering committee having due representation of all provinces has been envisaged by the Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB),” he said. “The government has formulated a 25-year power generation and transmission plan in order to ensure the commissioning of new electricity projects in the country.”

Meanwhile, Nadeem Babar informed the German envoy that a multi-year auction of bulk renewable energy projects is under consideration on a competitive bidding basis. “It will be beneficial for the manufacturers of renewable energy products, providing them good size and term for their businesses besides creating considerable job opportunities in Pakistan,” he added.

Regarding the exploration of new oil and gas reservoirs, the German ambassador was apprised that due to the absence of a clear globally acceptable policy for exploration, there were few explorations as compared to the potential that Pakistan had. “Now after the policy has been revamped, the government is ready to auction around 35 offshore and 10 onshore sites for exploration from next months,” Nadeem Babar said.

Omar Ayub Khan briefed the ambassador regarding the huge potential of per capita consumption of electricity in Pakistan that is currently around 500KW lower than China, which is 2500Kw per capita. This means that electricity consumption would further increase in Pakistan with the adoption of business friendly policies by the present government, he added.

The minister said that the government has formulated a Circular Debt Capping Plan to arrest the circular debt, which was growing by Rs39 billion per month during the previous government’s tenure. “Circular debt has now been successfully brought down to little more than Rs10 billion per month. This growth will be arrested by the end of next year,” he added.

The minister also threw light on the steps taken by the present government to bring efficiency in the power sector. He said due to extensive anti-theft campaigns, recovery drives and action against government employees, 80pc feeders across the country were now receiving uninterrupted power supply. “Besides, considerable investment has been made to introduce lastest technology, including AMI meters and Areal Bundled Cables in the DISCOs, to enhance their efficiency and reduce losses.

The German envoy appreciated the government’s endeavours, saying that the entire developed world and their entrepreneurs were watching the developments in Pakistan and were ready to invest. He said that German companies were also interested in taking part in the coming bidding process for renewable energy projects.

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