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ISLAMABAD: The flagship project worth $1.7 billion under CPEC ±660kV HVDC Matiari-Lahore Transmission Line has achieved its commercial operations date (COD) successfully on 01 Sep 2021, as per agreed timeline between National Transmission and Despatch Company Ltd (NTDC) and Pak Matiari-Lahore Transmission Line Company (PMLTC).

The 878-kilometre, 4,000MW project is being executed by Pak-Matiari Lahore Transmission Company (Pvt) Limited, on Built-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) basis for a term of 25 years.

Prior to its COD, as many as eight power tests on different voltage levels were performed successfully. The power test include Commissioning Tests (DC Station Tests) Lahore Commissioning Tests (DC Station Tests) Matiari, Mono-pole Low Power System Tests (Upto 400MW each pole), Bi-pole Low Power System Tests (Upto 800MW Bi-pole), Mono-pole High Power Tests (2200MW, each pole) (A5:), Bi-pole High Power Tests at Maximum Available Power (MAP), Special Optional Tests (recommended by OE). Whereas, the last test i.e. Trial Operation (168 hrs) and Capability Demonstration Test (06 hrs) has been successfully completed on 18.08.2021.

In this regard, a ceremony was held at WAPDA House Lahore, attended by NTDC Managing Director Engr Azaz Ahmad and Ms Zhang Lei, President and CEO of PMLTC and other reps from both companies were also present on the occasion.

NTDC Managing Director Engr Azaz Ahmad appreciated Chinese company for completion of the project in time. He said the first ±660 kV HVDC Matiari Lahore Transmission Line will bring stability in NTDC transmission network after having being crossed many bridges successfully.

Matiari-Lahore Transmission Line: High power test completed successfully

The project will evacuate power from the new generating units located in the south including Thar coal-based projects. The ECC on July 25, 2017 approved the Security Package Documents i.e. Implementation Agreement (IA) and Transmission Services Agreement (TSA) which were subsequently executed on May 14, 2018. The NTDC will be responsible for operation and maintenance of the transmission line.

HVDC technology is a maiden addition in the national grid of the country, though it’s been widely used for a long time around the world, and the need of long-distance high-power transmission from generating stations in the far-flung areas towards densely located load centres. The said project is a milestone for NTDC when it comes to diversifying the national grid and it will serve a great deal towards NTDC mission of a reliable, efficient and stable national grid.

According to sources, on December 2, 2020, severe frequency obligations were observed in the system when the project was under monopole low power testing; consequently, the testing was stopped and the test was declared failed by NTDC and Owner Engineer M/s Hatch, Canada (OE) of NTDC. The company submitted Root-Cause Analysis report (RCAR), which was reviewed by both Independent Engineer (lE) & OE. OE declared the Certificate of Readiness as null and void and lE & OE recommended certain additional measures to be taken at Matiari converter station prior to start of testing.

Thereafter, NTDC revisited all technical and contractual obligations which were to be fulfilled by the company under the TSA and issued a Notice of Dispute (NoD) on December 11, 2020 highlighting various contractual obligations not fulfilled by the company and challenged the certificate of readiness as well as testing and commissioning of the project pursuant to section 8.9 of the TSA.

Afterwards, as a result of extensive discussions between NTDC, the company, OE and IE, way forward on resolution of issues was agreed on the issues raised under the Notice of Dispute and MoU was signed between the company and NTDC, which was subsequently approved by respective BoDs of NTDC and the company. In the light of MoU, draft addendum agreement to the TSA and O&M Services Agreement were agreed between the company and the NTDC and their respective BoDs accorded approval for it.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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