Catching dust: Fate of UAE-gifted power plant still unclear

Published: May 3, 2012
The power plant is planned to be set up in the country’s textile hub Faisalabad, a city which is only able to meet one-third of its electricity demand. PHOTO: FILE

The power plant is planned to be set up in the country’s textile hub Faisalabad, a city which is only able to meet one-third of its electricity demand. PHOTO: FILE


Despite the country’s dire need for increasing power generation, the fate of 320 megawatt (MW) power plant gifted by United Arab Emirates (UAE) hangs in the balance as the petroleum ministry refuses to allocate gas to operate the plant.

With this, the government may also lose a 100 million euro loan allocated by the European Investment Bank (EIB) for the project, which was agreed upon in February 2009.

The power plant is planned to be set up in the country’s textile hub Faisalabad, a city which is only able to meet one-third of its electricity demand.

“European Investment Bank (EIB) has linked the disbursement of 100 million euro loan with the allocation of gas for the plant but the petroleum ministry is not ready to provide gas due to its shortage,” senior official of Ministry of Water and Power said. The first shipment of the power plant arrived at Port Qasim in September 2010 but since then no work has been done on the installation of the plant due to blockade of loan.

The donor wants the plant to be operated on gas and produce cheap electricity rather than expensive alternate like furnace oil.

“Now, Ministry of Water and Power will move a summary to the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet to intervene and allocate gas for the power plant in order to receive the funds and install it,” he said.

A senior official of the petroleum ministry told The Express Tribune that the plant was old and its efficiency was very poor. “UAE gifted power plant produces 3MW power by using 1 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) of gas while industry average is 6MW mmcfd. He said that the country was facing gas shortage that had affected all sectors and therefore gas could not be given to such plant that had poor generation capacity.

Former UAE Ruler late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan had promised to donate a power plant to help increase power generation in the country.

Following this promise, UAE authorities signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with former Federal Minister for Water and Power, Parvez Ashraf and worked out a detailed plan for dismantling, and shifting of the plant to Pakistan. The power plant was not in use in the oil-rich country as it had been replaced with a new plant.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 3rd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • You Said It
    May 3, 2012 - 5:14AM

    This is ridiculous even if the plant equipment has been received for free, it will cost millions to install and it will cost twice as much as normal to operate. It will also cause twice as much environmental pollution per MW of electricity produced. Pakistan should have shown some self-respect and refused the equipment. It’s disappointing that while we are so keen to be part of the Muslim Ummah, the oil-rich Arab nations treat us as charity cases with their second-class equipment and expect us to be forever grateful for their mercy.


  • May 3, 2012 - 7:51AM

    Wow ET, putting up a picture of a Nuclear Plant in an article about a natural-gas one. Bravo!


  • H.A. Khan
    May 3, 2012 - 8:27AM

    Take back the gift UAE government. In Pakistan unless under the table gratification is given even the gifts are not accepted.


  • abc
    May 3, 2012 - 9:54AM

    If all the Sialkot industrialists can get together and build world-class private airport with 747 landing facilities, why cannot Faisalabad industrialists build one energy plant for their needs? They all need electricity for their factories. No electricity, no production … no taxes, no forex, unrest, chaos, poverty, and terrorism will be the result at end. Build one power plant.


  • Harry Stone
    May 3, 2012 - 10:01AM

    @You Said It:

    Then go buy first rate equipment…….simple really


  • Mani
    May 3, 2012 - 10:53AM

    @You Said It:
    you said it


  • Sonya
    May 3, 2012 - 12:09PM

    The duel fuel (furnace + HSD) is a technology suited to oil rich countries only – rest of the world has already rejected these plants on uneconomical and environmental grounds. Other than that this gift is like a car given by SHELL to be run on petrol only. This should be returned to UAE with thanks.


  • May 3, 2012 - 1:50PM

    Hand the plant over to the ship breakers. They will extract all the useful metal out of it.


  • abc
    May 3, 2012 - 3:37PM

    The situation regarding lack of energy has become too serious to be ignored. Piecemeal solutions will not work. Problem should be viewed holistically and all aspects, from generation, transmission, to end use energy audits need to be looked at.

    In Lahore proper there is 9 to 11 hours of loadshedding now but in Karachi there is hardly any loadshedding where shops remain open until 1am and electricity is stolen with kundas. Discrimination against Punjab is due to anti-Punjabi hatred of the rulers.


  • academic_economist
    May 3, 2012 - 6:39PM

    haha, thats the first thing i noticed too. i thought the article was about nuclear energy…


  • saeed
    May 4, 2012 - 1:09AM

    I have a story to tell for this…unfortunately I was in the office of ADWEA (Abu Dhabi water and electricity )in Abu dhabi at the time our president came to take this garbage with him..He came signed some papers and went to see this unit is a remote location from where it needs shifted to pakistan..I can not tell you how angry and embarrassed I felt when all of us were ( many nationals working in ADWEA mostly Indian and Pakistani) looking down from office window and suddenly some man said..ohhh so he is the Mr 10 percent of pakistan…so this kind of respect we are getting with these kind of people leading our nation…the faith is in our we have to make our self proud Pakistanis or we want to be notified with thieves like him….if in next election I will see PPP or PML N winning again then I will never ever feel for any thing happening in pakistan to Pakistanis or common man…


  • May 4, 2012 - 2:50PM

    @saeed ohhh so he is the Mr 10 percent of pakistan

    You should have added: Yup, he’s the one!


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