ISLAMABAD: Private Power & Infrastructure Board (PPIB) has re-approved 300-MW power project based on imported coal at Gwadar under CPEC after China’s clear message that it will not fund the project on local coal or its shifting to Thar, sources close to Managing Director PPIB told Business Recorder.
Managing Director PPIB explained to the Technical Committee of PPIB that 300-MW Gwadar coal power project is a CPEC project, which has already got its approval from Sinosure and lenders. Earlier, it was proposed that this project may be converted from imported coal to Thar coal due to increased price of imported coal.
He further stated that in order to materialize this proposal, either the project was to be shifted to Thar, or local coal was to be transported to the project site.
“None of these proposals were found feasible as shifting of project was turned down by Government of China on the premise that the project will be treated as a new project if shifted to Thar and as per new policy of the government of China, no new coal project will be financed outside China. On the other hand, transporting coal from Thar to project site at Gwadar was not viable due to high transportation costs and environmental issues,” the sources quoted MD PPIB as saying.
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Later, in December 2022 during a progress review meeting, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif directed Minister Planning to decide the matter within the CPEC framework agreement keeping in view the overall strategic cooperation between the two countries and extraordinary support provided by China.
Accordingly, in a meeting held on January 3, 2023 chaired by Minister Planning Development and Special Initiatives, it was decided that the project shall continue to be established at Karwat (Gwadar) on imported coal with COD by December 2025.
The sources said, during the meeting in PPIB, representative NTDC proposed that an update from QESCO regarding availability of power line may also be obtained. Representative of Government of Punjab opined that the proposition of maximum utilization of local coal may also be considered while finalizing PPA. The Chair endorsed the view point of Punjab government.
After detailed discussion and keeping in view China’s demand, the Technical Committee decided that extension of nine months in financial closing date up to December 2023 based on existing fuel (imported fuel) at already earmarked land at Karwat( Gwadar) Balochistan, pursuant to the Section 8.4( ii) (c) of Power Generation Policy 2015 will be subject to: (i) start of construction prior to Financial Closing (FC); (ii) submission of timelines for achievement COD in line with the directions of Ministry of Planning, Development & Special Initiatives and Ministry of Energy (Power Division); (iii) CPPA-G to amend PPA in line with the directions of Ministry of Planning, Development & Special Initiatives and Ministry of Energy (Power Division); (iv) extension in validity of existing PG by three months beyond the extended FC date; and (v) submission of prescribed fee.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023