At a time when Pakistan is facing resistance from the US in going ahead with the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, Iran has proposed an electricity supply project which will provide 10,000 megawatts in the second year of its operation.
The quantity is more than the production of independent power producers in the country and almost half the country’s total production capacity.
Under an extensive package to resolve the energy crisis, Iran has also offered to build an oil pipeline and set up a refinery at Gwadar Port to provide oil on long-term deferred payment.
The country’s power production ranges between 5,000 megawatts and 14,800 megawatts against total installed capacity of 20,800MW. Internationally, 80 per cent power can be generated from the total installed capacity but Pakistan’s generation capability stands at 65 per cent due to inadequate upgrading of plants, poor maintenance and circular debt.
Under a plan submitted to the government, Iran will provide 1,000MW of electricity in the first year of the programme and increase it nine-fold to 10,000MW in the second year, sources said.
Iran made the offer during President Asif Ali Zardari’s visit to Tehran on July 15. During the tour, Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Petroleum Minister Dr Asim Hussain also accompanied the president.
Asim Hussain confirmed to The Express Tribune that Iran had made the offer for export of 10,000MW of electricity.
Iran exported 3,940 gigawatt hours of electricity to its neighbours in the first half of the Iranian calendar year, according to Iranian broadcaster IRIB.
Iran’s electricity network is integrated into power grids of seven neighbouring countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.
Feasibility study on 1,000MW project completed
Pakistan has already started work on another project costing $500 million, which will import 1,000MW from Iran.
An official of the Ministry of Water and Power said that the feasibility study on import of 1,000MW from Iran through Zahidan to Quetta had been completed. Iran has already started laying a transmission line at Pak-Iran border.
To expedite the process, Pakistan has offered the company laying the transmission line on the other side of the border to build it on this side as well to avoid delay caused by the bidding process, the official added.
Pakistan is currently importing 35MW of power from Iran to meet requirements of Gwadar while work on increasing it by 100MW is in process. The two sides signed an agreement on this project in 2007 which is expected to become operational next year.
Pakistan also has another project in the pipeline to import 1,000MW of electricity from Tajikistan. Feasibility report has been finalised on this project, while work is expected to be completed by 2016.
Moreover, India has also offered Pakistan to export electricity and a working group has been formed to undertake the assignment following commerce secretary-level talks held between the two countries in April.
Currently, independent power producers generate most of the electricity in the country by producing 7,600MW, followed by 5,000MW by Wapda and 2,000MW by power generation companies.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 25th, 2011.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ