Thar Coal Project to resolve energy crisis of Pakistan


According to Dr Samar Mubarak 41 per cent of worlds electricity is being produced from coal, further adding that India is producing 64.6 per cent electricity from coal in comparison to Pakistan that is merely producing 2.27 per cent. Dr Mubarak said that the energy crisis has resulted to a loss of Rs230 billion and has resulted in the unemployment of 400,000 people. STAFF REPORT After the government gave a commitment that it would provide Rs100 million for an under implementation pilot project to generate 100 MW for Thar coal gasification, eminent scientist Dr. Samar Mubarakmand assured that the lid of the project would be opened by the second week of September this year. A meeting chaired by the finance minister approved to provide Rs900 million for the Thar coal gasification project to generate electricity by conversion of coal into gas. According to an official statement, the member Science and Technology Planning Commission, Dr. Samar said that the first phase of the project would require $105 million investment to produce 100 MW of electricity. The provided funds would be used for the import of machinery and equipment. He had said a few days earlier that the project was facing hurdles due to non-availability of gas compressors, which he said would be built indigenously if they were not available internationally. The success story of Thar coal project will encourage leading international companies already involved in the development of underground coal reserves to invest in the project. He said many companies have already approached them, adding that by the second week of September 2011, he would be able to give a head start to the gasification project.

The Planning Commission on April 30, 2009 had approved the creation of new processing facilities for production of coal gas by underground coal gasification and creation of new processing facilities for handling and purification of coal gas produced by underground coal gasification for two projects. The cost of the projects have been estimated at Rs494.45 million and Rs490.48 million respectively The projects are under implementation and the first 50 MW gasifier to produce Underground Coal Gas (UCG) has been completed. The project includes two 50 MW power plant from Syngas. Integrated gasification combined cycle was approved by ECNEC on December 9, 2010 at a cost of Rs8898.7 million including foreign exchange component of Rs5847.3 million. Due to financial crunch, no funds could be allocated for the project in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) during the last fiscal year. However, in PSDP 2011-12, only a negligible amount of Rs5 million was allocated against the demand of Rs5703 million. This time, keeping the importance and financial viability of this project the Finance Ministry acceded to the just demand of Rs900 million for import of machinery and equipment. The meeting was attended by Minister for Petroleum, and officials of Thar coal project.

Thar Coal is one of the 5th largest coal reservoir in the world having a total of 850 Trillion cubic feet of reserves which can possibly enable Pakistan to produce enough electricity to power the entire country for the next 4 to 5 decades if not more. The reserves are so massive that they dwarf the oil reserves of 375 billion barrels of Saudi Arabia & Iran put together. The head of the Project Dr Samar was quoted by media as having said that Thar Coal Project had the potential to turn Pakistan into an energy surplus country in a short span of 8 to 10 years. According to him, Pakistan can produce 50,000 MW of electricity for another 100 years and produce 100 million barrels of oil for 500 years. Electricity produced from the Thar coal deposit is said to cost only Rs 4 per unit, compared to Rs 14.74/KWh being generated by the RPP’s.Exploiting Thar coal reserves can help produce cheap electricity for approx 10 decades. It is believed that if Pakistan invests in Thar Coal Project it could easily overcome the power crisis it currently faces. Additional reporting from