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Tabish Gauhar Proposes Solutions for Pakistan’s Power Sector

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Energy and Petroleum, Tabish Gauhar, wrote a letter addressed to Minister for Energy, Hammad Azhar, proposing to chalk out strategies for holistic and structural reforms in the energy sector.

The SAPM wrote a letter with the title “Beyond The Fire Fighting – Proposed Strategic Workstreams In The Energy Sector,” Dawn News reported.

Copies of the letter have has also been sent to Prime Minister Imran Khan, Finance Minister, Shaukat Tarin, Minister of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Asad Umar — who is also the chairperson of the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) — and petroleum and power secretaries.

Gauhar accentuated the need for headway on the 1,100 kilometer-long gas pipeline running from Port Qasim in Karachi to Lahore. The statement of the letter read, “In my humble opinion, this gas pipeline project should be financed by the Rs. 321 billion Gas Infrastructure Development Cess funds already raised from the public for this very purpose and not from third party debt and equity that will add on to the gas consumer bill.”

Gauhar has been reportedly against the pipeline contract and was also absent from the signing ceremony last month. In his letter to Azhar, he has warned that if the Russians are given veto right on the design and construction of the pipeline, they will inevitably choose larger diameter (56-inch) pipe, for which Pakistan’s Sui companies don’t have a track record.

Gauhar wrote, “…according to our local analysis, we can meet the projected gas demand for the next 10-15 years with a relatively smaller (42-inch) diameter pipeline at a potentially lower upfront project cost (savings of up to $500 million) and quicker timeline (2023 versus 2024 completion).”

On the subject of electricity load shedding, Gauhar said that notwithstanding the “excess capacity” syndrome, recent supply-side challenges once again showed the weaknesses in the energy ecosystem, especially during peak hours. He suggested speeding up of privatization process of public-sector power plants to resolve this issue.

The SAPM also urged the Energy Minister to “commission an independent audit of those thermal IPPs (independent power plants) that were not available when we needed them the most and yet charge take-or-pay capacity payments throughout the year.”

Gauhar pointed out that there are serious governance and human resources issues in the petroleum sector, and while they may not be apparent right now, they are deeply and adversely affecting the Petroleum Division’s policy and oversight functions.

He also advocated for the transfer of some regulatory powers from OGRA towards OGRA and the upcoming R&P authority.

The SAPM also shared his thoughts and suggestions on other key issues related to the LPG sector, circular debt, and other power sector issues in his letter.


Source: Pro Pakistani

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