Islamabad: The government on Wednesday decided that in future only Thar coal would be used for the coal-based power generation and all conversions of existing and construction of new power projects would be designed on Thar Coal specifications.
The landmark policy decision was taken by Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, while chairing a meeting of the Thar Coal and Energy Board at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat here.
The meeting was informed that the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) and the Engro Corporation were working on an integrated coal mine and a power project with an estimated cost of 1.3 billion dollars at Block 2 of Thar Coal Project for mining of 6.5 million tons coalper annum and a power plant of 1200 MW. The Prime Minister also decided in principle to provide a sovereign guarantee to the SECMC, a joint venture of the Government of Sindh and the Engro Power and directed the Ministry of Finance to arrange the same. Prime Minister Ashraf said that in the present financial situation, there was little space for providing sovereign guarantees. However, this is a strategic decision which has to be taken for meeting the growing energy requirements of the country, he stressed. The Government of Sindh had requested the Federal Government that the conversion of existing 800 MW and new 600 MW power plants at Jamshoro be designed on Thar Coal specifications. The Prime Minister directed the Ministry of Water and Power to sign within a week, a Coal Off-Take agreement between the GENCO and the SECMC for the Asian Development Bank financed conversion of the existing 800 MW and new 600 MW thermal power projects at Jamshoro."The history will not excuse us if we do not take correct decision in time," the Prime Minister said."Today we have laid the foundation of an energy policy, which is based on our indigenous resources and will lead to savings of huge foreign exchange presently being spent on the import of fossil fuels to run our thermal power plants," said the Prime Minister. Besides, this policy decision will ensure energy security that has been eluding us for such a long time, he added.The Prime Minister said that God had blessed Pakistan with the sixth largest coal reserves and it was now upto us to utilize the huge coal deposits for the progress and prosperity of the country by generating affordable electricity.He hoped that the decisions would herald a new beginning and lay the foundation for sustainable socio-economic development in the country.Thar Coal Field are estimated to have reserves of 175 billion tons, 68 times higher than Pakistan's total gas reserves. Those, who attended the meeting, included Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Chief Minister Sindh, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Finance Minister, Syed Khursheed Shah, Minister for Religious Affairs, Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Minister for Water and Power, Dr Asim Hussain, Advisor on Petroleum and Natural Resources, Dr Nadeem ul Haq, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Ms Rubina Saadat Qaim Khani, MNA, Jam Mehtab Dahar, Provincial Minister for Revenue, Jam Saifullah Dharejo, Provincial Minister for Irrigation, federal secretaries Finance, Planning Division, and Water and Power, Chief Secretary Sindh, Dr Samar Mubarakmand, Member Science and Technology Planning Commission, MD TCB, CEO Genco Holding, President Engro Corporation, CEO SECMC and other senior officials.