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ISLAMABAD: Private Power & Infrastructure Board (PPIB) and Punjab Thermal Power (Pvt) Limited (PTPL) Friday signed financial closing documents of Pakistan's largest LNG-fired 1,263 MW PTPL power project to be established at a cost of $708 million. The power plant, whose approval sailed through, located near Trimmu Barrage; District Jhang is based on re-gasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG) and is so far the largest RLNG based power generation project under Power Generation Policy 2015.

The financial closing ceremony was witnessed by the Minister for Energy, Hammad Azhar and Punjab Energy Minister, Dr. Akhtar Malik. The documents were signed by Shah Jahan Mirza, Managing Director PPIB and Akhtar Hussain Mayo, Chief Executive Officer of PTPL while Chairman PPIB/Secretary Power Division, Ali Raza Bhutta and other senior officials of Power Division, PPIB and the project company witnessed the proceedings. In February 2019, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet had given the go-ahead to the Power Division for signing of Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and Reimbursement Agreement of the project with SNGPL instead of Pakistan LNG Ltd (PLL). The Power Division had some reservations with the LNG supply agreement but Petroleum Division made some extraordinary efforts for the approval of the project.

The project is being developed in IPP mode through Punjab Thermal Power (Pvt) Ltd. (PTPL), a private limited company owned by the Government of Punjab through Energy Department. This is the second RLNG based power project developed by Government of Punjab through its own resources, the first being the Bhikki Power Plant, which has already entered full-fledged combined cycle commercial operations and has generated over 9.3 billion units during last year.

PTPL project is being financed through 75 percent commercial debt arranged from local banks which include National Bank of Pakistan, Bank of Punjab, United Bank Limited and Habib Bank Limited while the total cost involved in development of this project is $ 708 million. Utilizing state of the art technology, the plant has the design efficiency of 61.16% which is rated amongst highest efficiencies in the world, which would result in fuel-saving of billions of rupees to the national exchequer during 30 year project life period while reducing overall tariff. Despite delay in Financial Closing and commissioning of project due to COVID-19, the project company adopted proactive approach and started construction of plant by injecting its own equity. Due to dedicated efforts of the Punjab Government coupled with continued support of Federal Government, Power Division and Private Power & Infrastructure Board (PPIB) the plant has reached an advanced stage with over 80% construction works completed.

The project is expected to be online by October 2021 on open cycle mode and on combined cycle mode by June 2022. Upon commissioning of the project, it will also help in stabilizing and balancing the transmission system to improve uninterrupted supply to Faisalabad and adjacent areas. The project will generate more than 3000 employment opportunities during construction phase while 2000 would be generated during its operations.

Speaking on the occasion, Hammad Azhar remarked that Pakistan’s energy issues are complex and multifaceted. This project will add to the low cost electricity in the country. It will benefit people at large. He said that the 1200 MW RNLG plants near Trimmu will also improve voltage and electricity flow in Faisalabad and surrounding region.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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