Thar coal specifications should be considered while Converting 5500 mw oil-based power plants to coal: Qaim Ali shah

Karachi, July 13, 2012 (PPI-OT): 15thmeeting of Thar Coal and Energy Board was held at Chief Minister House, Karachi today under the chairmanship of Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah. Meeting was also attended by Jam Saifullah Dharejo, Provincial Minister for Irrigation, Syed Murad Ali Shah, Provincial Minister for Finance, Mr. Sharjeel Enam Memon, Provincial Minister for Information, Mr.Zubair Motiwala, Chairman Sindh Board of Investment, Mr. Shahid Sattar, Member (Energy) Planning Commission, Mr. Zafar Mehmood, Federal Secretary Water and Power and Mr. Mohammad Sohail Rajput, Secretary Coal and Energy Development Department, GoS / Managing Director Thar Coal and Energy Board.

Chief Minister Sindh speaking on the occasion said that the government is fully committed for development of Thar Coal which has the potential of turning the country’s economy around. Thar coal resources can be used for power generation, chemical production and other uses and has the potential of providing energy security to the country.

He stressed that the work on project be accelerated for the benefit of the people. Mr. Mohammad Sohail Rajput, Secretary Coal and Energy Development Department, GoS/ Managing Director Thar Coal and Energy Board briefed that Sindh Government is giving high priority to the infrastructure development required for coal mining and power generation projects at Thar.

He said the Government of Sindh has allocated Rs.8.5 billion in the current financial year for schemes of improvement of roads, water supply , disposal of effluent/ waste water from Thar Coalfield and construction Airport.

He also briefed the Board that Ministry of Water and Power is pursuing the policy of conversion of oil-based power plants, under IPPs and GENCOs, on imported coal. These retrofitted plants will be gradually shifted from imported coal to Thar Coal in future, when coal from Thar would be available.

This will provide much needed Energy Security to the country and subsequent saving of foreign exchange by reducing the import bill. In this regard it is essential to ensure that the project sponsors for converting oil based power plants, should design their boilers in such a manner that those should be compatible with the specifications of Thar Coal. Mr. ZubairMotiwala, Chairman Sindh Board of Investment appreciated the present policy of government to shift from oil-based power plant to coal-based plants and said it will drastically reduce the problem of circular debt. Mr. Shamsuddin Shaikh, CEO Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company also supported this plan and said existing power plants with the capacity of 5500 MW can be converted on coal. He also explained the efforts of Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company in getting lending from Chinese Financial Institutions for his project of coal mining and power generation at Block-II.

Mr. ZafarMehmood, Secretary Water and Power assured the Board that the government will issue a policy guideline to all stakeholders particularly the GENCOs Holding Company and a policy will be formulated so that the retrofitting of oil based power plants should be done in such a manner that those plants should also be compatible with the specifications of Thar Coal. He further informed that National Transmission and Dispatch Company has prepared the PC-I for evacuation of power from Thar to Matiari at the cost of Rs. 22 billion.

The Planning Commission has recommended the scheme for approval of the ECNEC after confirmation of source of financing. He said that many international donor agencies have taken interest in this scheme and it will be taken to ECNEC for approval. Mr. ShahidSattar, Member (Energy) Planning Commission said the Thar – Matiari transmission line project is very critical for development of Thar Coal and assured full support from Planning Commission. Mr.Sohail Rajput, Secretary Coal and Energy Development Sindh said presently there are three project sponsors working in Blocks – I, II and VI of Thar Coalfield who cannot achieve financial close until the work of Transmission line is contracted out. Immediate action needs to be taken for approval of ECNECand arranging financing so that the project developers are facilitated in getting financial close for their projects. Mr. Sheharyar Chishti, Director Global Mining of China gave progress update on their coal mining project at Block-I of Thar Coalfield and said they will start mine development activities on sustainable basis from October, 2012 and will be producing coal in commercial quantities through open pit mining by first quarter of 2015.

Mr. Shahrukh Khan, CEO Oracle Coalfields, UK also briefed the forum about present status of their project at Block-VI and said pre-development ground activities have already started. He assured that they will start mine development within first quarter of 2013 and will start coal production by 2014. He further informed that Oracle Coalfields UK has signed a Joint Development Agreement with Karachi Electric Supply Company on 25th June, 2012 for establishing 300 MW Power Plant in the first phase which will be subsequently increased to 1100 MW.

The work on Community and Social Responsibility (CSR) has also planned to commence by August 2012 which will be part of a long-term sustainable development for local communities and includes job creation and training for local workforce, establishing a medical centre, provision clean water and electricity to local communities, veterinary services for the health of livestock for the community and sanitation.

Dr. Samar Mubarakmand, Member (Science and Technology) Planning Commission also gave update progress on their Underground Coal Gasification pilot project at Block-V of Thar Coalfield. He said test burn was ignited on 11th December, 2011 and presently syngas is being produced which can support 8-10 MW Power Plant. The Planning Commission has decided to provide funding for 8-10 MW power plant based on UCG during current financial year.

Chief Minister Sindh also constituted a committee of consultants who will submit their report for LBOD water desalination as early as possible.

For more information, contact:
Mr. Allah Bachayo Memon
Press Secretary
Chief Minister House
Tel: +9221 99202019
Cell: +92300-3524057 (Ext: 336)