Pakistan forced to spend $30bn on imported fuels: ‘Completion of TAPI, IP gas lines critical for meeting energy needs’
ISLAMABAD: Completion of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) and Iran-Pakistan gas pipelines are critical for the country to cater to the growing energy needs as Pakistan is forced to spend $30 billion on imported fuels including Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), crude oil, refined petroleum products and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).
This was the crux of a workshop titled, “Integrated Energy Planning (IEP) for Sustainable Development,” organised by the Energy Wing of the Planning Ministry, here on Wednesday.
The conference was also attended by the Caretaker Federal Minister for Planning and Development, Muhammad Sami Saeed.
The energy experts besides stressing the need for an early completion of TAPI and IP gas pipelines also emphasised increasing local oil and gas production in a bid to minimise the import bill.
They said that if Pakistan’s economic growth is improving it will further escalate energy demand which will push the country to spend more on imported fuels which have become seriously expensive following the Russia-Ukraine war and other global factors.
They said that in the next few years, Pakistan’s total natural gas demand will increase from seven billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) to 10 bcfd and similarly, LPG demand will also go up.
They further stressed the need to change the consumption behaviour of the energy users, such as shifting pipeline gas consumers to LPG and increasing hydel power production.
Farrukh Sageer, executive director (ED) Exploration, Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) giving details of the country’s leading exploration and production company’s activities said that the OGDCL has recently started much-awaited test drilling of shale gas and within the next one year, the country will have positive results.
He said that the country has proven reservoirs of around 63 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of shale gas but exploration is capital extensive, so it needs huge investment, while the OGDCL is committed to bringing positive results.
He further said that as per the directions of the government of Pakistan, the local exploration and production companies in collaboration with global companies are also going to start offshore exploration activities in the upcoming year. He said that at present, Pakistan was producing 20 percent of the local requirement of oil and gas production stood around four bcfd.
Speaking on the occasion, the Caretaker Planning Minister, Sami Saeed, said that integrated energy planning (IEP) would help in tackling the energy crisis being faced by the country. He said that under the vision 2025, the project IEP was envisioned to make a centralised Energy Planning and Resource Centre (EPRC) that meets the demands of energy planning for the fast development in the world.
The planning minister said that the outcomes of the Low Emission Analysis Platform (LEAP) model by the IEP would help in achieving high industrial growth-export-led economic base and to save the foreign exchange reserves.
The LEAP model is an effort to present a holistic integrated initial approach to energy demand and supply analysis; containing all components of integrated balances, it is used to compute long-term energy prices under various scenarios.
The minister said that over the years, Pakistan has relied on imported oil, gas, and coal to meet its energy needs and this reliance on imported energy commodities has burdened the foreign exchange reserves of the country. He said, while appreciating the Energy Wing for successfully launching this model which will help in tackling the serious energy crisis.
The minister also asked the Energy Wing to follow the timelines of another milestone that the IEP project, which is going to achieve is the development of an Energy Information System (EIS). He said that the EIS will integrate the energy sector data into a single universally accessible energy portal.
Speaking at the occasion, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Jehanzeb Khan said that this is what the role of the Planning Commission in general and IEP, in particular, is to make an inclusive and growth-centred energy policymaking in the country.
Highlighting the significance of sustainable development goals (SDGs), Dr Khan urged for a re-evaluation of Pakistan's approach to energy planning in line with SDG 7—affordable and clean energy. He stressed the need to examine the fuels used in Pakistani households, considering affordability and sustainability.
The deputy chairman Planning Commission emphasized the need for a holistic approach to address energy-related challenges affecting the lives of the Pakistani population. He urged policymakers to consider clean, efficient, and affordable fuel options, especially for rural populations and advocated for aligning energy policies with global advancements in transportation and energy technologies.
Addressing the role of electricity as a public good, Dr Khan urged deliberation on the extent of public sector involvement, emphasising the urgency to adopt policies and legislation to guide decision-making. He also highlighted the potential disruptive technologies in the energy sector, including hydrogen energy, distributed generation, and electrical storage systems.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023