Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik announced on Friday that the government will introduce a programme aimed at utilising Pakistan’s own resources for power generation to end the menace of load-shedding and reduce dependency on imported fuel.
Speaking at a press conference, he added that even if Pakistan managed to buy fuel from the international market at competitive rates, it would still build import pressure and drain foreign exchange reserves.
“We are developing a roadmap to utilise our own assets for power generation. Under the initiative, local resources will be used to generate energy,” he said.
He informed the participants that Pakistan’s indigenous gas deposits were depleting at a rate of 10% per annum therefore, “new wells should have been dug years ago”.
Under the government’s plan to use local fuel reserves, consultations would be held with the exploration and production companies and incentives would be offered to them to explore deposits in Pakistan, Malik said.
He highlighted that foreign companies that have closed operations in the country would be invited back through an incentive package.
“Foreign companies bring modern technology with them which minimises the cost of digging and extracting reserves,” he said.
Speaking about the second initiative of the government, he added that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was leading a committee to resolve the power woes of the country by simplifying the installation of solar power systems for private and government institutions and the general public.
“Companies specialising in this area will be invited and firms interested to build solar parks in Pakistan would be approached as well,” he said. “The general public of the nation will also be assisted by the government for installation of solar power systems.”
Moreover, he announced that companies and general public would be able to sell surplus electricity, produced through solar mode, to the government.
The committee is making efforts to generate 4,000 MW of electricity and work will begin before the end of the current government’s term in 2023, Malik underlined.
The government is focusing on introduction of fresh incentives for oil and gas exploration in Pakistan and renewable (wind and solar) energy.
“The energy sector is largely stalled because trade of electricity with companies and public is not taking place,” he said. “We are opening up the sector for transactions and public would also be able to sell electricity and add it to national grid.”
Working on a deregulation programme for the sector is underway, he said.
“Our terminals are facing problems and no one bids on our tenders. We aim to rectify the problems present in the energy space,” he said.
“Local companies want to install LNG terminals and we will allow that on a competitive basis.”
He clarified that monopoly would not be encouraged.
He announced the formation of a commission to investigate the issues hindering the functioning of the energy sector and the terms of reference of the team are being finalised.