BEIJING: Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif said on Tuesday Pakistan and China shared decades old cooperation in energy sector and several projects between the two countries illustrated their close cooperation. He was addressing the two-day 3rd Pakistan-China Joint Energy Working Group and the 1st Energy Working Group meeting of Pakistan-China Economic Corridor here.
The meeting was presided over jointly by Chinese Executive Administrator of National Energy Administration (NEA) Shi Yubo and Khuwaja Muhammad Asif.
The minister expressed the confidence that joint efforts would lead to creation of even greater linkages and inter-dependence for mutual benefits in energy and power sectors and thereby contribute towards further strengthening of Pakistan-China friendship. He said following the visit of the Premiers of both countries, and in line with the vision of the economic corridor, the energy working group meeting further added to the economic and energy cooperation.
He said that Pakistan at present needed construction of critical infrastructure in power generation and laying of a network of new transmission lines system as well as up-gradation of the existing obsolete network.
He pointed out that several projects had been identified for collaboration between the two countries aimed at power generation and transmission in addition to the existing projects.
The minister said in this regard, Pakistan wanted to take benefit of Chinese companies, who were blessed with requisite experience in power generation and transmission sectors. The governments of the two countries are determined to create conducive environment for investors to collaborate for mutual benefit and setting up of Pak-China Economic Corridor is the right step in this connection, he noted.
The minister said there was a realization to shift the proportion of Pakistan’s energy mix towards cost-effective and affordable fuel resources.
He said Pakistan was endowed with abundant energy resources and had one of the largest indigenous coal energy reserves. Mining and power plants were being set up to tap the resource.
Highlighting the generation of low cost electricity, the minister said Pakistan offered immense potential for coal based power generation, hydro and renewable resource power generation in different parts of the country, including Gilgit-Baltistan bordering China.
He said the government had approved an ambitious project for the construction of 6600 MW Power Park at Gaddani. Chinese investment is welcome in coal-based power plants as well as construction of jetty and infrastructure there, he noted. He said Pakistan had already signed an MoU (memorandum of understanding) yesterday with Gezhouba Group for setting up 660 MW power plant in Gaddani.
Pakistan intends to build massive power infrastructure, including transmission lines and grid stations to evacuate power from the new power projects, he said adding that investment from Chinese friends was being sought not only for the new power projects but even for the existing transmission up-gradating.
This will also help overcome the problem of transmission losses, he added.
The miister said said he was excited about Pakistan-China Energy Corridor, and wanted to share with the Chinese friends the advantages emerging from its strategic position as Pakistan being located on the cross-road of Central Asia, South Asia, West Asia and China.
He looked forward to investment especially in the planned Solar Power Park in province of Punjab. He pointed out that some of Chinese companies were keenly interested in these projects. He said the Chinese side could assist Pakistan in mapping its landscape for renewable energy, particularly wind power. In addition, construction of coal-based power pants also in Punjab, apart from other parts of the country was also being looked at, he added.
Appreciating presentations made by both sides on energy policy planning, power and renewable energy, the minister said their input was very valuable for formulating energy strategy.
He said, “We have abundant resources for alternative energy in Pakistan. Besides, huge coal deposits of 175 billion tons, that can be used for generation of low cost electricity.”
Speaking on the occasion, Executive Administrator of National Energy Administration of China (NEA) Shi Yubo said the meeting provided an excellent platform as both sides discussed issues of mutual interest and listened to initiatives that laid a solid foundation for cooperation.
He said meetings had raised the cooperation mechanism and level of energy cooperation dialogue, as well as successfully identified priority areas of cooperation.
He hoped that Chinese enterprises would invest more in Pakistan, and help build energy infrastructure under the economic corridor.
He said China was well aware of Pakistan’s energy shortage and it would continue to support Pakistani friends in addressing the deficiency.
Khawaja Asif said the size of Chinese market and its power generation capacity was enormous and China had a lot to offer to Pakistan.
Pakistan was not only looking at investment in power generation but also in comparable and compatible transmission networks, he added. He sought Chinese investment in coal, hydel, renewable and other forms of energy generation, as well as in the transmission networks .
He said thE government was also looking at the privatization prospects, particularly of the transmission networks both of existing as well as for laying new transmission lines.
Minster Khawaja Asif acknowledged and lauded Chinese support, assistance and guidance in overcoming Pakistan’s energy requirements.
Later on, Minister Asif and Shi Yubo signed minutes of the meeting that mark another milestone in Pak-China economic cooperation.
Ambassador Masood Khalid, senior officers from the energy sector of Pakistan and Chinese corporate executives were present at the Working Group’s meeting.
Khawaja Asif met Chairman of the EXIM bank of China Li Ruogu in the evening and discussed with him financing of various energy related projects, and also appreciated the bank’s cooperation and assistance.