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KARACHI: AsiaPak Investments which claimed to have acquired around 54 percent shares in K-Electric (KE) has approached the Government of Pakistan with an ambitious investment proposal to convert the 660mw Jamshoro supercritical imported coal-based power plant into indigenous Thar coal for the next thirty years.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB)-financed $545 million-dollar power plant is yet to make its commercial operations despite all engineering, procurement, installation and civil works have been completed, as the dollar-strapped country is not being able to import coal to run the plant, according to officials, currently working on the plant.

Talking to a group of journalists at the plant site, the Head of AsiaPak Investment Shahriar Chishti revealed that that the conversion proposal of the plant is already on the government’s table.

KE submits business case on running JPCL-1 on Thar coal

We proposed the government to hand over operations, maintenance, and coal procurement for the project to the KE. We are optimistic that the government will give us a green signal anytime to execute the project.

He hoped that the plant will begin its commercial operations (CoD) from indigenous Thar coal by September next year, if the government approves our investment plan, now. The plant will generate around 5 billion units per year, and will bolster provision of electricity in Karachi – the commercial hub and revenue engine of Pakistan.

He said KE is also interested in development of 660mw unit-II of the Jamshoro supercritical imported coal-based power plant. He said both Units of the Project were designed to be operated as a combined facility; many common facilities were included in the project design; hence, the cost of unit-II would be far less than that of unit-1.

He said AsiaPak which is also one of the shareholders in Thar Block-1, and KE have offered financing for the conversion of the project. The modification project will incur a cost of $50 million which is not more than 10 percent of the project’s total cost, he said. The daily coal demand of the plant is around 8000 tons, or some 250 trucks per day from Thar Coal Block-1.

Thar coal mines have huge capacity to supply. He hoped that a 100-km rail link will also be developed from Thar Mine site to Chore, while the rail track from Chhor to Jamshoro plant is already intact.

Chhor to mine site rail link is very important. The Sindh government has already informed the federation that it will finance this project. Perhaps, some Middle Eastern investors have also expressed their desire to finance the track, he said.

It would be a tragedy if we continue to operate this plant on imported coal for the next 30 years, despite we have enormous local coal reserves. To a query about the existing KE board disputes, Chishti said these are ‘distractions’; however, our main focus is to ensure affordable power supply to consumers of Karachi.

It is relevant to mention here that K-Electric’s ownership dispute is going on among its major foreign indirect shareholders as IGCF Limited has already knocked the doors of Cayman Islands Court to win direct proprietorship. The court has recently ordered other stakeholders to discontinue proceedings at Sindh High Court.

Meanwhile, Shahriar Chishti claimed: “IGCF owns 53.8% in KES Power and we manage them. We don’t want to infringe the rights of any shareholders of the power company, but at the same time others should also respect our proprietorship rights.”

Abdul Qayyum Deputy Chief Executive Officer Sino-Sindh Resources Thar coal Block-1, on this occasion, said that Thar coal is the cheapest energy source in Pakistan. Other than power generation,

Thar coal can be utilised for surface gasification, production of diesel, and different petrochemicals, as well. He urged the government to come up with well-thought-out policies in this regard and establish industrial zones in Thar.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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Az_Iz Sep 12, 2023 04:39pm
It took almost three decades, after discovering Thar coal, to start using it. Germany also had lignite coal, which it used extensively, during its industrialization phase. Why can’t Pakistan do the same.
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