Thursday, November 15, 2012

Essay - Energy Crisis

Hennery Kissinger said, “The amount of energy is finite ………. And competition for access to energy can become the life and death for many societies”.

Global energy crisis

By Irshad Ali Sodhar (FSP)

1. Introduction
2. What is energy crisis?
3. Share of energy resources in energy supply
a) Non-renewable
b) Renewable

4. World consumption distribution
5. World production distribution
6. Causes of crises
a) Surge in demand
b) Resource nationalism – tighter supply
c) Political uncertainty
d) Lack of diversity

7. Impact of crises
a) Economy
b) Politics
c) Development

8. Environmental concerns
9. Way out: Renewable energy
10. Conclusion

Man is dependent on energy, which has been the key to his rapid industrial growth and technological development. The pace of development after industrial revolution is unprecedented. Just 200 years ago, the world experienced energy revolution that launched the industrial age. The catalyst to this epochal change was ordinary black coal - an energy rich hydrocarbon. A century later, oil and gas were added to satiate the thirst of industry. Man still relies mainly on these fossil fuels.

Nevertheless many other sources of energy: hydro, solar, nuclear, wind, geothermal, biogas and wave have been taped. These sources of energy are not only renewable but clean as well. Since the hydrocarbons are exhaustible and their use also threatens human health and environment; this fact has necessitated transformation from non-renewable energy resources to renewable and clean energy resources so that economic growth could be sustained and environmental degradation could be prevented.

Energy is not only vital for the industry but it is also the life blood of our daily life. The consumption of fossil fuels has increased manifolds due to rapid industrialisation of developing countries like China and India. However, the major proportion of hydrocarbon is consumed by already developed countries like the US, Japan and Western European states. The fossil fuels are also the main source of energy for heating of houses and running motor vehicles and generation of electricity. Since the demand has been increased far more than the increase in the production of fossil fuels, a disproportionate imbalance between the demand and supply has been created which has resulted in energy crisis.

If the fossil fuel production remains constant, it is estimated that the reserves will be depleted soon. The oil crisis of 2008, when petrol prices soared to $150 a barrel, was an early symptom of such scenario. The increasing demand coupled with speculations of depletion of fossil fuels caused sky rocketing rise in the prices, which was the principal catalyst behind economic crises in the world.

The energy crises are caused due to disproportionate dependence on non-renewable energy resources fossil fuels. The hydrocarbons; coal oil and gas together constitute 85 per cent of the world’s total energy supply. Their respective share is oil 37 per cent; coal 25 per cent and gas 23 per cent (total 85 per cent).

On the other hand the renewable resources of energy; hydro, solar, wind, nuclear, geothermal, biogas and wave constitute only 15 per cent of global share of energy supply. These are also clean sources of energy. Despite their enormous benefits, the renewable sources of energy have not been exploited sufficiently due to many reasons. The reasons may include technological barriers, initial cost and political compulsions. Both the least developed and developing countries mainly face technological backwardness and barriers, while the developed countries have been too slow and reluctant to transfer their technology due to the higher cost and political reasons.

The world distribution of energy consumption reveals that the most developed countries are the highest consumers of fossil fuels. The US, which is the most advanced country technologically and richest economically, consumes 25 per cent of the total world energy output while its population makes only five per cent of the world. This makes America the highest per capita energy consuming nation. Second comes Japan, which consumes six per cent. The Western European countries which are also technologically advanced consume 15 per cent of the world energy. China, a growing economy, consumes nine per cent of the world energy resources. However, the rest of the world consumes only 45 per cent of energy production.

This consumption is in sharp contrast to the production in respect of regional distribution. As the US has only 2.4 per cent of world oil reserves and 3.5 per cent of gas reserves, Japan imports 75 per cent of its energy needs, China imports more than 50 per cent of its energy needs. The largest fossil fuel reserves are located in Middle East and Russia. The Arab countries possess 61 per cent of oil reserves of the world but they are not big consumers. This uneven distribution of consumption and production is the one cause of energy crisis. Other three causes behind the global energy crisis include surge in demand, tighter supply, political uncertainty in oil producing countries and lack of the diversity of resources. These factors are:

One, the demand of energy resources have surged throughout the world. In 1970, the total consumption of world was 204 Quadrillion BTU which doubled in 2000 to 402 Quadrillion BTU and is now around 500 QBTU higher. It is projected that the energy demand by 2030 will be increased by 50 per cent.

As the economy of world is mainly dependent upon fossil fuel energy, the demand of oil and gas is increasing tremendously. Let’s take example of China has more than doubled its oil use over the past decade to 5.55 million barrel a day. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has reported that China oil needs could almost double to 11 million barrels a day by 2020. Same is the case with India, the largest growing economy in South Asia. The Central Asian and South American countries have also multiplied their consumption due to rapid industrialisation.

Two, the supply of oil and gas are mainly dependent upon the capacity to pump from the reserves. Though, the Organisation of Oil Exploring Countries (OPEC) boosted the supply during the peak crisis in 2008 but that was not enough to meet the demand of the market. Another factor determining the oil supplies is the volatile price mechanism. As the speculations cause increase in the prices, the oil producing countries get higher profits. This trend has led to new political concept– Resource nationalism. The international firms have found themselves faced with tougher terms and shut out of globe’s most promising oil basins.

Third, the supply of hydrocarbons is also affected by the political condition in the resource countries. Unfortunately, the political conditions in all the oil producing regions are volatile. It was painfully felt by the western world when Arab leaders clamped an oil embargo on the US in retaliation to Washington’s support of Israel in the 1973 Middle East war. Even today the conditions in this region are not stable. The US forces are occupying Iraq in order to secure oil supplies. Iran is facing sanctions due to nuclear imbroglio with the West. Russia is also at odds with Europe on the gas supplies. Hugo Chavez is busy in consolidating power in Venezuela where he is facing the US-backed political opposition. The Central Asian States have their own internal political turmoil.

Fourth, nature has bestowed man with infinite resources of energy but man has made himself dependent on the finite resources. The lack of diversity of resources is the chief cause of energy crises. Instead of harnessing new technology, the industrial growth in developing countries is increasingly dependent on fossil fuels.

Such importance of energy has made it important element in the foreign policies of the independent states. The 20th century and dawn of the 21st century have seen wars fought for oil. In 1977, CIA prepared a plan “Go to war to get oil” and subsequently, the US went to war with Iraq in 1991Gulf war. America is again there for the same purpose.

Similarly China’s foreign policy towards many regions of the world particularly Africa, the Middle East and Caspian Sea region, oil holds a critical status. China’s vibrant policies in these regions are being watchfully monitored by Washington. This is also true for South Asian region. Pakistan is engaged with Iran for gas pipeline project and is equally interested in the Caspian Sea region – Central Asian States.

Besides these conflicts, the fossil fuels cause havoc to our environment. The hydrocarbons are the chief source of green house gases-carbon dioxide, Methane, fluorine, which cause global warning. Burning coal accounts for 43 per cent of carbon emissions. Oil and gas account for another 40 per cent of emissions of CO2.

Fears of global warning aside, burning fossil fuel releases chemicals and particulates that cause cancer, brain and nerve damage, birth defects, lung injury, and breathing problems. The toxics released by combusting hydrocarbons pollute the air and water and causes acid rain and smog. These negative implications of burning fossil fuels on human environment and life make it incumbent upon man to diversify the energy resources.

Man also needs to realise that the fossil fuel energy is limited and would be depleted. Hennery Kissinger had said, “The amount of energy is finite ………. And competition for access to energy can become the life and death for many societies”.

First; the solar energy, the basic source of energy, can be converged and converted into different ways, such as simple water heating for domestic use or by the direct conversion of sunlight to electrical energy using mirrors, boilers or photovoltaic cells. Currently only 0.5 per cent of the world energy supply is obtained from this source.

Second; humans have been harnessing the wind for thousands of years and have succeeded in producing electricity from it. Air flowing through turbines or spinning blades generates power that can be used to pump water or generate electricity. At present, the wind energy constitutes 0.3 per cent of world energy supply but it has a great potential. Germany is producing 23000 MW from wind, which is more than Pakistan’s total installed electricity generation capacity. Like solar energy it is also a clean source of energy. According to the US Department of Energy the world’s winds could supply more than 15 times its current energy demand.

Third; hydroelectric power is another source of renewable energy in the natural water cycle. The flow of streams can be manipulated by construction of dams at higher altitudes and the kinetic energy of waterfall is used to rotate the turbines to make electricity. This is the very cheaper source and clean form of energy.

Fourth; atomic energy is hailed as panacea to pollution problems generated by fossil fuels, and is destined to be the cheapest source of energy. However, it is also limited and has hazardous effects on human health. But given the potential of energy and the capacity of technology to safeguard the nuclear plants, it is the quickest option to solve the energy crises in the world as one nuclear pellet (finger) produces energy equivalent to 17000 cubic feet of natural gas.

Fifth; biomass is also a potential source of energy. Humans have been burning biomass materials since the dawn of time. It has been recently discovered to produce clean combustible gas from waste products such as sewerage and crop residue. Many countries have also invested in bio-fuels. However, this is counter-productive as it induced rise in food prices, therefore only bio waste should be used for energy production.

Sixth; another alternate source of oil is methanol – a clear colourless liquid made from natural gas, coal industrial garbage. This is a reliable source of fuel for automobiles as it is cheaper and far easier to be produced in bulk.

Seventh; geothermal energy can be used with heat pumps to warm a buildings or swimming pools in winter. This can lessen the need for other power to maintain comfortable temperatures in buildings, particularly in countries having very cold winters.

Eighth; hydrogen has been touted as the fuel of the future. It is most abundant element known in the universe and can be burnt as a fuel for vehicles and industry. If this form of energy is taped at a larger scale, it will eventually become society’s primary energy carrier in the 21st century.

The media and industry claim that renewable energies are not yet economically competitive fossil fuels. Perhaps not; but given the health and environmental costs, and limit of fossil fuels, the price of renewable energy is only viable option. However, no renewable energy form will single handedly replace oil, but together they will become a very important part of the energy mix of the future.

As the demand of energy is set to grow rapidly during next 20 years the supply of energy is going to decline, which could give rise to competition and conflict coupled with economic instability. Meanwhile, human environmental and health hazards could become irrecoverable. Therefore, man should strive for energy independence that can be achieved only through fuel choice and competition. And the first choice of sustainable energy is the clean and renewable energy.

 Energy Crisis in Pakistan: Brief Essay

(This essay owes its skeleton and information, almost 90%, to this essay by Mr. T. S. Awan. Please share information, critique and more articles on it.)

Energy Crisis in Pakistan
“What does ‘LOL’ stand for in Pakistan?

“Why isn’t anyone intervening in Africa (as in Middle East)? It’s the layer of oil on Middle East … otherwise it’d have been no different than Africa.”
- Former NATO chief, Gen. Wesley Clark, 2007
General (rtd.) Wesley Clark, one time Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, admits that US and Europe's intervention in Middle East – initiative of multiple regime changes in around seven countries through direct and indirect wars – is primarily to gain control over oil resources by Western powers. Control over energy has become a cause of wars among nations, only indicating how critically important this resource; although power of collaboration is being underestimated. One cannot imagine a tomorrow devoid of energy in modern world. Energy is its cornerstone. It is critical to be self-sufficient in its generation to preserve independence of a nation. Developed world differentiates itself from the rest because it has been able to harmonize its supply and demand, managing both at the same time. Self-sufficiency and control over energy gives the North its edge over the South.
    Pakistan is energy-deficient. How can one imagine an active and prosperous human being short on blood? Life is hard without sufficient blood running up and down the veins, pumped by the heart round the clock. Pakistan has failed to contain its energy crisis; failing to increase supply proportionately and conserving demand. In 1980s, it met 86% of its demand; come 2000s, situation is getting worse. Explosion in the supply of natural gas gave the nation a breather, sharing burden of electricity and oil, only to make future insecure as gas reserves deplete at fast rate. Fire-fighting on the part of government becomes national strategy, instead of proactive, long-term planning. This has contributed to circular debt problem because of short-sightedness political government.
    Let alone increase the supply of energy, situation has worsened due to poor management, operational inefficiencies, power theft, and line losses. This largely sums up the problems country faces in its battle to restore sanity in energy sector, which is now nudging the economy towards disaster, warns latest report of Asian Development Bank.

 [Energy sector in Pakistan]
Energy sector of Pakistan is considered to be under-developed, thanks to poor management and planning, with untapped potential for humungous growth. The root problem is energy generation which never took place proportionately with the rising demand and positive economic growth, with rapid boost taking place in Musharaf’s era. Nobody could tell him about the shortfall in the supply that would engender an energy crisis for coming government(s). The songs of ‘all is well’ were sung by the planners, and now we are in a quagmire where no short-term solution can work. Apart from this energy generation failure, government did little to contain the demand which seems to have exploded out of proportion in past two decades; operational inefficiencies and line losses are costing government billions; power theft; and on the top of that, the cheapest source of electricity, namely, hydropower, suffers from seasonal oscillations between 2,414 and 6,761 megawatts, depending on river flow. To offset the gap between supply and demand, populace suffers from load management or load-shedding. This crisis has pervasive and far-reaching consequences on economy, society and overall functioning of the country.

[Energy sector & consumption]
Pakistan’s energy sector consists of following consumers: household, industry, services, transport, government, etc.  The largest consumer is industry, accounting for around 58% of total consumption; it is followed by transport sector at 22% usage; and 15% is consumed by household, and rest with other sectors. This shows that the power crisis is affecting the industrial setup most, and cause for pain for ordinary citizens. The consumption is met by the mix of petroleum oil, gas, electricity, coal and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sources. Gas contributes most with share of 43.7%, followed by oil at 29% and so on.

[Energy supply]
In 2010, energy supply per capita decreased by 3.09%. The country is in need of 15,000 to 20,000 megawatts (MW) per day. Its current supply is, however, around 11,500 MW per day. Hence, it faces a shortfall of around 3,500 to 8,500 MW. This is the root of cause of all troubles for the struggling economy and industry.

[Sources of energy]
[Non-renewable: fossil fuels: unsustainable / the main sources]
Non-renewable resource is the main energy source of Pakistan, which basically is fossil fuel, formed by the remains or decomposition of animals and plants deposited in earth’s crust and with a long process are converted into oil and gas. There is no replenishment for these sources. There are four main types of fossil fuels: oil, natural gas, coal and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
    First, petroleum contributes 29% to the total supply of energy, as of 2009-10. The majority of crude oil is imported from Gulf States. It is also used in the production of electricity, generating 64 percent (34 from hydropower). Highest consumers of this source are power, transport and industry sectors followed by agriculture and households. Currently, 24 million crude oil is being extracted annually, which will be exhausted in 12-13 years at current rate if new wells are not discovered and utilized, as total estimated reserves are around 303 million barrels.
    Second, natural gas became the fast growing energy source in various sectors of the economy. In 2010, average production exceeded slightly 4,000 million cubic feet per day. In industry is used to make consumer products; its derivative, compressed natural gas (CNG), is used in transport sector; and households use it for various purposes, including cooking, heating, and using it to run generators. Pakistan is currently largest CNG consumer in the world, thanks to price differential between CNG and petrol that is driving its consumption crazily. We might suffer from the fate of New Zealand, who had converted almost everything to CNG only to reverse it back to other forms of energy as they ran out of their gas reservoirs, unless we can miraculously complete pipeline project with Iran.
    Third, coal reservoirs are deemed to be the last hope of energy-deficient Pakistan, although controversially. With over 180 billion tonnes of coal reserves identified at Thar coal field, it is a prospect worth pursuing. The coal currently being extracted is of not good quality, used primarily in brick kiln and cement industries.

Another major energy source consists of renewable resources. These resources are naturally replenished and can be utilized again and again to produce energy, coming from sources such as water, sunlight, wind, tide and geothermal heat. It is sustainable and clean.   
    Hydropower is produced using electricity generators to extract energy from moving water. Pakistan is a goldmine of hydel power, which is under-utilized contributing only 34% to total electricity generation. The potential generation ranges between 41,000 to 45,000 MW, whereas only 6555 MW is being tapped. Currently, there are five hydropower stations, fully functional, namely, Tarbela Dam, Ghazi Brotha, Chashma, Warsak and Mangla Dam, with combined production of 6555 MW. There are five potential hydropower stations waiting to come to life including, Diamer-Bhasha, Munda, Kalabagh, Bunji and Dasu Dam with combined capacity of around 17,000 MW, which can meet the shortfall of supply by more than 90%.
    There are alternative sources of energy, apart from the two categories – namely, renewable and non-renewable resource – which are promising and future of sustainable energy production. However, these are contested and yet not as feasible and economical as current sources of energy. The potential of all these alternative sources are huge, beyond our wildest imagination. Future is here.
    Wind potential of Pakistan is 10,000 MW to 50,000 MW. It works on the principle on using wind’s power to drive the blades of wind turbines, ending up in generating power. A Turkish company is going to install a 50 MW turbine in Jhampir. More plants are to be installed in Jhampir, Bin Qasim Karachi, Keti Bandar, etc.
    Similarly, solar power also has huge potential of generating 100,000 MW, although it seems like a distant dream, but with revolutionary innovation, its tipping point may not be that far. The key to this treasure is developing solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity. In Gilgit-Baltistan, government is building 20,000 solar water heaters. Mobile companies have been asked to shift fuel of their transmission towers from petroleum oil to solar cells.
Ranging from utter incompetency to foreign pressures and lack of political will, the Pandora box of Pakistan’s current energy crisis traces its roots to multifaceted and distinct causes.
Firstly, over the decades, the demand for energy has grown due to following main reasons: increasing population; electrification of rural areas, in 1990s more than 60,000 areas had connections, whereas in 2000s it has passed the mark of one lakh; industrial and agricultural growth; and increasing transportation needs.
    Secondly, with increasing demand that outpaced the supply, there has been a lack of integrated and proactive planning for growth of energy generation. Although the country did not lack natural resources and sites for the exploitation of non-renewable and renewable energy, it failed to tap its potential. Few plants have been installed by the government to meet future needs. It did invite Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to share its burden; the IPPs have become an object of controversy, and clearly have not been able to meet the shortfall. Against the demand of 20,000 MW, we’re producing only 11,500 MW.
    Thirdly, the cost of production of electricity is so high that it can termed as the main reason of current load-shedding. The main cause of high cost is faulty fuel mix. Furnace oil is being used as the main fuel to produce thermal electricity. It is government’s responsibility to provide power generating companies with furnace oil. The cost producing with latter is Rs16 per kwh, which costs the end-consumer Rs22-25/kwh. Government is unable to pay fuel cost to generating companies, forcing plants to be either shut down or run on low capacity. Generating companies in turn are unable to pay to oil companies resulting in a high circular debt of around Rs400 billion. Without clearing this burden of debt, load-shedding situation cannot improve an iota.

 [Consequences / effects on various parts of the economy]
Energy crisis is pervasive in all major sectors of economy and affect quality and standard of life of population at large.
    Economic sector is being hit hard because energy is pivotal for the smooth functioning of its various parts. Economic losses are incurred due to low productivity and cessation of activity in agriculture, industrial and transport sector. Modern economy of a country is integrated, and if one element is displaced or gets weakened it troubles other elements. Lower gross domestic profit (GDP) and high inflation can be attributed to this on-going crisis.
    Agriculture sector is also affected, largely because productivity heavily depends on the functioning of tube wells in many areas. Not only that, production of support agricultural inputs like pesticides and fertilizers is also hampered. Therefore, higher energy generation will boost agricultural productivity.
    Industrial sector represents as one of the most grievous victims of the crisis. It is bloody picture of units being shut down or run at low capacity, layoffs taking place, and overall loss of competitiveness of the country, all of which is also hurting the economy and comparative advantage. Another consequence for this sector is flight of capital; not only foreign but local investors are investing, for instance, in Bangladesh, moving textile units there. If this crisis is not solved immediately, the industrial growth may be reversed completely, allowing foreigners to decimate local industry and innovation forever.
    Unemployment is a natural consequence of the preceding consequences of energy crisis. Shutting down of units and layoffs create unemployment. Interesting inflation is also going up along with layoffs. Moreover, new employment opportunities are not being created due to decreasing investment in new ventures, partially due to weak economy, corruption and terrible law and order situation.
    Social and psychological problems are also emanating from this crisis. Load shedding has led poor junta to take their frustration to road, unleashing it on public and private property, creating some of the most horrendous scenes of incivility. Since domestic supply of energy is erratic and as rare as gold, it stresses people out decreasing their productivity as workers and citizens.

Above all, energy crisis is creating the worse outcome for many: poverty. Instead of decreasing poverty figures after six decades, the country is on the path of adding misery to more and more people. However, economic growth is the messiah, as demonstrated by the experiment of Harvard Advisory Group in Pakistan in 1960s.
    In short, energy crisis is a plague that is poisoning many a sectors’ productivity and growth, increasing circular debt on government, and creating unrest in the populace. The problem is two-fold: supply shortage and demand explosion. It is not just the government that is to be blamed, but the people as well. Nonetheless, its options have not been exhausted. Instead, there is wide range of policy options available, although time taking, which can end this crisis for many generations, if not for eternity.

Solutions to energy crisis are not going to be ordinary, because the crisis is not. Recommendations and especially its implementation can be very painful for the people and for the government. These are hard times; hard decisions need to be made, or else this generation will end up compromising its own, and of future, generation. The reforms vary, firstly, due to the time factor involved in the completion of projects; secondly, according to the nature of energy resource; and, finally, depends on supply and demand sides of the problem.
    Reducing unnecessary consumption – or, reducing demand – can benefit populace and industry a lot. While American nation learnt the art of preservation thanks to twin oil shocks, we refused to do so despite widespread knowledge and omens of eternal low supply of energy. Government needs more robust educational campaign that covers as many ears and eyes as possible. Household consumers waste lot of electrons with their electrical devices, including TV, computers and lightings. In transportation, many reforms can be made: increasing usage of public transport, strengthening of railways, etc. in industry, energy efficient machinery and tools must replace tools of antiquity. Billions can be saved by reducing line losses. This will shrink government’s pockets but the future payoffs are worth it. Moreover, reliance on rental power projects should be decreased to drive down prices, which will boost production, although increase consumption which can be harmonization with education in conservation.
    Along with managing demand of energy hungry populace and industry, government should waste no time investing or arranging investment in new energy sources. There are two main untapped resources with awesome capacity to meet our energy demands: Thar Coal and dams.
    Thar Coal has estimated 175 billion tonnes of coal, the energy potential of which exceeds oil reserves of Saudi Arabia. Government claims to have begun construction of infrastructure; however little or no significant progress has been made. There are two scientific approaches that are being pitted against each other: gasification of coal, led by Dr. Samarkand Mubarak, and open pit testing and conversion of coal into gas. Former approach is being critiqued for a lack of open pit testing which is a norm in the world, and that it is a novel and risky approach. Currently, an audit of the progress done by Dr. Samarkand is being carried out to decide on further investment in the project. However, there is no doubt in the minds of experts that Thar Coals resources can be materialized; it is only a matter of few years.
    Somewhere else in the essay, we identified five potential dams with combined capacity of 17,000 MW. Using renewable resources (water) by constructing new dams and hydro power plants, much of our energy problems can be solved. However, the projects such as Kalabagh Dam are politicized beyond one’s wildest imagination, but according to many experts, including former chairman of WAPDA from Khyber Pashtunkhawa, we have no other option than to build most of the dams, if not all.
    Instead of importing furnace oil, government should import of natural gas by IPI (Iran Pakistan India) and TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India) pipelines to replace furnace oil and to meet demand of natural gas in industry and households.
    Import of electricity from Tajikistan - through Pak Afghan Tajikistan transmission - and Iran (approximately 1000 MW from each of them) pipelines can also serve as short-term solution.
    Utilizing alternative energy resources should also be part of the energy mix. This includes wind power, biodiesel or biomass, solar and tidal. These sources may not be able to meet energy requirements of large cities, but surely will make small-scale businesses, villages, household and institutions self-sufficient.
    Enhancing civilian nuclear capacity is way to the future. This should be part of long-term planning, because the costs are heavy and development time long.

[Solution to circular debt]
An alternative to furnace oil for production of electricity is coal. It can be imported. However, even if coal is imported now it will take three years to fully operate majority of plants on it. Moreover, only those plants will be feasible to be run on coal, which are near to the coast; transportation of coal to far off area may not be feasible at all.
    Another short term solution to circular debt is replacement partially furnace oil with natural gas. We know that natural gas can be extracted by applying heavy pressure in fields. Availability of gas will take time. Moreover, exploiting gas from Thar Coal can be a great payoff, although it will take three or more years. The sooner the change takes place, the better it is in order to restore industrial and economic growth. Circular debt is expected to come down with recent increases in tariff. Citizens cannot be burdened any more. The multiple initiatives to reduce cost of electricity are the last resort to improve the situation.
It has always been the worse of times. There has been no energy bonanza in Pakistan. Economic growth did speed up in last decades, so did population growth rate and demand for energy; only supply of it failed to match the demand. This ‘feat’ has been accomplished with the help of poor planning, fire-fighting as a mental attitude of short-sighted governments, lack of political will, untapped resources, faulty fuel mix for electricity generation, and whole lot of other causes and its effects. Energy is a key requirement many sectors of Pakistan’s economy and society, hence its crisis has severe consequences for all these sectors. The main sources of energy need overhaul, change of heart, and replacement with new resources such as indigenous coal, gas, and more reliance on futuristic alternative, sustainable energy resources which will take at least decade or two before becoming true rivals to fossil fuels.
    The causes of the crisis are multifaceted and accumulated over time. Reconstructing the energy sector means dismantling decades of poor planning and decision-making, which speaks of the complexity of the situation. However, the severity of the crisis can be a blessing in disguise; it can compel authorities take hard decisions. Their biggest enemy is their own short-sightedness.
    Solutions have not been exhausted; in fact the opposite is true. Need of the hour is to launch multiple strategic moves, instead of pinning success in one ‘big push’. There are at least four kinds of energy sources identified in the essay that are vast open spaces for development, including building new dams, exploiting Thar Coal, alternative energy, and importing cheaper energy sources to replace costly one.


“Water is precious, use it wisely” says a notice placed in the bathroom of a five star hotel in Karachi. There could not be a sounder piece of advice but it should be given not only to the guests of the five star hotels but also to the entire citizenry of Pakistan. Pakistan is rapidly moving to the situation when it will begin to be ranked among the countries that have severe shortages of fresh water. Wise use of this precious resource is one way of dealing with this crisis.
Man is a pre-eminently an animal good at gadgets. Man uses water much in the same way as other animals; he has to drink it constantly, washes in it frequently, and drowns in it occasionally – probably oftener than other terrestrial vertebrates. Without water, he dies as miserably as any other beast and with too much of it, as in floods, he is equally unable to cope. However, he excels other animals in that he has learned to utilize waterpower.
There are three basic uses of water in the modern civilization– agriculture, industry and human consumption. Using water wisely in these three uses is one way of saving the country from economic and social disaster.
Water is one of the most important natural resource and the major driving force for the economy of Pakistan. Only a few decades ago, Pakistan was considered to have abundance of good quality water. Now, however, in many other area of the world, population growth, economic development, rapid urbanization and industrialization, are applying continuous pressure on the already limited water resources of Pakistan.
Pakistan is now towards a serious shortage of water. In 1951, per capita surface water availability for irrigation was estimated at 5650 cubic metres; this declined sharply to only 1350 cubic metres per head in 2002. The minimum amount that should be available is 1000 cubic metres. 2012, Pakistan will have reached the stage of “acute water shortage”.
• Pakistan has exhausted its current water capability and needs to take immediate measure to sustain its water-driven economy.
• Pakistan only stores 30 days of river water. India stores 120 to 220 days, Colorado River in the US stores 900 days.
• Pakistan’s per capita water storage is just 150 cubic meters while that of China is 2200, Australia 5000 and the US is 5000.
Pakistan’s economy can only be propelled into future only through building new water projects and canals.
President Musharraf said, 
“Water and energy are matters of life and death for us. We have to build all dams. We have lagged far behind and have to work at a fast pace to catch up with the rest of the world.”
We are facing an existing water shortage by 9 million-acre feet and by 2020 this short fall will be up to 20 maf. Constructing two to three dams is inevitable for us by the year 2020. By building mega water reservoirs our canals will become perennial and no longer be seasonal. New reservoirs will generate 10000 mw of power, which would certainly bring down the rate of electricity. One dam will bring an additional 2 maf of water to Sindh, two dams will fetch 4 maf and another dam will bring water equal to storage capacity of Mangla Dam.
Apart from Diamer-Bhasha and Kalabagh, the water vision envisages construction of Akori, Munda and Kuram Tungi Dams by the year 2016.
Tariq Hameed, Chairman Wapda says,
“Pakistan is fortunate that nature has bestowed it with abundant water reservoirs. It is now up to us to harness these resources for the economic development and prosperity of the people of Pakistan.” 
1) Presently, out of total cultivable land of 77.1 million acres, we are only cultivating 54.5 million acres because of shortage of water.
2) With the increase in population, Pakistan will have a shortfall of 11 million tons of major food grains by 2010 and 16 million tons by 2020. This food grain deficit will increase to 28 million tons by 2025.
3) High power tariff burdening consumers can be reduced by correcting hydel-thermal generation ratio of 30-70, which used to be the opposite in 1970.
4) Only 14 % of Pakistan’s total hydropower potential of 50,000 mw being tapped at present.
5) Average hydel generation unit cost for new projects is Rs. 1.00/KWH against Rs. 7.00/KWH for new oil based thermal generation.
6) Pakistan’s electricity demand and increasing by 7 % per annum.
7) Agriculture is the backbone of Pakistan’s economy; 23.3 % of GDP.
8) 64 % Pakistanis depend on agriculture.
9) 60-70 % of exports depend on it.
10) Pakistan today is among one of the world’s fastest growing populations now estimated at over 150 million. Due to the lack of large river regulation capability through sizable storages, the country is facing serious shortages in food grains. Given the present trend, Pakistan could soon become one of the food deficit countries in the near future. Therefore, there is a dire need to build storages for augmenting agriculture production. Tarbela, Mangla and Chashma reservoirs have already lost about 5 maf due to sedimentation. It is estimated that by the year 2012, this loss would increase to the original combined capacity of Mangla and Chashma reservoirs. 
11) Industrial expansion and growth essential for economic development and prosperity.
12) It will provide the better clean environment for the human beings.
13) Reduction in barren lands.
14) To control flooding and manage rivers.
15) The completion by India of Wuller, Buglihar and Krishenganga, Uri-11 Pakaldul and Burser projects on the western rivers of Indus, Jehlum and Chenab to which Pakistan has the exclusive right according to the 1960 Indus Basin Water Treaty, will also create serious water shortage.
1) Hydropower Generation
High power tariff, which is a burden on consumer, can be reduced by correcting hydel thermal generation ratio of 30-70, which used to be the opposite in 1970. Only 40% of Pakistan’s total hydro power potential of 50000MW is being tapped at present. Average hydel generation cost for new projects is Rs 1.007/Kwh as against Rs 7/Kwh for new oil base thermal generation. Pakistan’s electricity demands are increasing by 7% per annum.
Saving import of fuel for thermal power plants reduce cost of electrically i.e. Rs1/Kwh. Electrification of industries of towns and villages. Reduces cost of electricity help manufacturers.
2) Agriculture
Agriculture forms the backbone of Pakistan’s economy. 23.3% of GDP, 64% Pakistanis depend directly on agriculture. 60-70% exports depend on it. Water is a life line for agriculture. Average rainfall of Pakistan is below Avg. Thus, water storage is needed for agriculture as it is a precious resource and we should not waste a drop of it.
Out of Pakistan total geographical area only 17.1Macre is suitable for agriculture. A total of 44.4Macres of agriculture land is irrigated besides only 10Macres Barani land under cultivation. If water is available the remaining 22.6Macres of land(29% of total suitable area for agriculture) can turn productive if no additional water is tapped. It means that 1/3 of agriculture potential will remain untapped.
3) Industry
4) Drinking Water And Sanitation
Pakistan’s population is increasing by over 2% per year requiring availability of more clean drinking water. Cities, towns, Villages expanding requiring more water for sanitation purposes.
Implementation of clean drinking water schemes possible with availability of more water.
5) Environment
Better clean environment for humans. Reduction in barren land. Controlled rivers and canals.
More land area under cultivation, greenery and habitation to improve better water management and cleanliness. More forests and eco system preservation and flood control.
Public feeling that were running high on the Kalabagh dam issue have mercifully calmed down. The president made a sensible move by announcing a change in the order of the dams to be built.
The dam site is located 210 Km downstream of Tarbela and 26 Km upstream of Jinnah Barrage on the Indus. When completed, the rock fill dam will rise to a height of 260 feet and will be 4375 feet long. It will create a reservoir with usable storage capacity of 6.1 maf. The entire project is estimated to cost $ 6.1 billion and will take 6 years to complete.
• Replacing storage lost by sedimentation in existing reservoirs at Mangla, Chasma and Tarbela and proving additional storage of water to meet existing water storages during early Kharif period of April/June. (Particularly critical for cotton crop in Sindh).
• Providing effective regulations of Indus River to meet Kharif allocation of provinces under WAA1991.
• To control flood in the Indus to enable provisions of perennial tube well irrigation to the revering area in Sindh.
• Generation of Hydroelectric power at low cost.
• Reducing dependence on imported fuel, saving foreign exchange.
I. Reservations of Sindh:
1) No surplus water is available for storage.
2) There is the fear that there is not enough water in the Indus for these mega projects to be used optimally i.e. there would be no surplus water to fill Kalabagh reservoir.
3) The project would render Sindh into a desert.
4) Sindh’s water supply which is already at low level will be reduced further since the regulation of the flow of the river might enable the upper riparian to take away more of the water and thus starve the lower riparian of irrigation for its agriculture (Sindh is the lower riparian).
5) Sindh’s worries about possible environmental problems. Its coastal area, which has suffered as a result of SEA water moving unto the KOTRI, need to minimum 3.6MAF of water escapade per annum in the INDUS to offset the negative ecological impact on the river DELTA. Sindh fears that:
“Sea water intrusion in Indus estuary would increase. Mangrove forest, which is already threatened, would be further affected adversely. Fish production, drinking water supply below KOTRI would be adversely affected.”
According to experts, these apprehensions are baseless and the real issue is that of politics.
• Dams don’t consume water. They store water during floods and make it available for crops demand bases for the dry period.
• The share of water would be strictly governed by WAA1991.
• Mangrove forests cover area of almost 0.32MA. In the forest spreading from Karachi in the west to the Rann of Kutch in east, 95% of forest population consists of a SALT –TOLERANT variety.
• Similarly, a recent study has shown that instead of reduction fish production has increased. Moreover, downstream to KOTRI barrage, ground water id saline or brackish not suitable for irrigation or drinking. After KBD there would be drinking water available.
II. Reservations of Balochistan:
1) The supply of water from Indus, through the Pat Feeder canal, may be curtailed.
III. Reservations of NWFP:
1) It will flood Noshera and lot of fertile areas will be waterlogged, besides displacing a large no of people.
2) It will displace 42000 people.
3) There would be water logging and salinity in Mardan, Pabbi and Swabi.
4) It is also feared that historic flooding of Peshawar Valley including Nowshera would be aggravated in the event of recurrence of 1929 record flood.
• Nowshera, Mardan and Swabi has altitude higher than that of KBD (915 feet above sea level). Thus KBD would not result in flooding or water logging /salinity. Mardan, Pabbi and Swabi are at 970-962-1000ft above MSL (Mean Sea Level)
• Total cultivable land submerged would be 27500 Acres (24500 in the Punjab and 3000Acrs in NWFP). Thus submerged irrigated land would be only 3000Acres (2900 Acres in Punjab and 100Acres in NWFP.
• As far as the displacement of people is concerned the people have in their minds the problems faced after the construction of Tarbela new model village should be constructed to resettle the effected families with facilities of water supply, electricity, roads, dispensaries, schools etc.
The project is located on Indus River, about 315 Km upstream of Tarbela Dam, 165 Km downstream of Gilgit and 40 Km downstream of Chilas. The dam would have a maximum height of 270meters and impound a reservoir of about 7.4 maf, with live storage of more than 6.4 maf. Mean annual discharge of Indus River at the site is 50 maf. The dam will impound 15 % of the annual river flow. The dam project would cover an area of 110 Km and extend 100 Km upstream of the dam site up to Raikot Bridge on Karakoram highway.
The estimate cost is $ 6.5 billion. It will affect 30 villages and 2200 houses. It will also affect 22000 people. The total area under reservoir will be 25000 acre and it will generate 16500 Gwh/ year.
1) Availability of 6.5MAF annual surface water storage to supplement irrigation supplies during low flow periods.
2) Clean and cheap energy through 4500 MW generations.
3) Deduction of dependence on thermal power thus, saving foreign exchange.
4) Employment opportunity, particularly to the locals, during the construction and operations.
5) Creation of masses infrastructure leading to overall socioeconomic uplift of the area and standard of living of people.
6) Flood control.
• The government has drawn up a 25-year plan (2005-2030) for increasing energy production in the country. That is needed to meet the demand for energy which is increasing by ten to twelve per cent annually, says Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz. That is one of the major development plans.
• The energy development plan is accompanied by initial cost estimates which will be $37 billion to $40 billion that has to come in the form of foreign aid or foreign investment. And that is a very large sum. But the annual average expenditure works out to $1.5 billion. If Pakistan itself was to make the investment, the total cost might be less.
• Disclosing the details of the 25-year energy augmentation plan Shaukat Aziz says consumption of power in Pakistan will increase seven fold by 2030 and the energy needs will increase by eight fold.
• Malthus stated that in the race between increasing population and increasing production, population must eventually win. Those of us who decline to accept this pessimistic view recognize the difficulty of the practical problem of meeting the needs of an ever-expanding population.
• The present government needs to be appreciated that it has ended the dead lock wit inauguration of Diamer Basha Dam. It is hoped that Govt. would make an effort to remove the apprehensions the provinces and construct other dams too.
• There should be public consensus on national issue and to look into the matters with contempt as enemies are working against the prosperous future of Pakistan. We as a nation need to unite as one to defeat their nefarious aims

Thar coal; the game changer

September 03, 2012 . 3
Dr. Shahid Munir
At present, the people are facing severe loadshedding/blackout problems due to shortage of power supply. Industries are closing down. Millions of Man hours have been lost leading to an increase in poverty and economic loss of billions of rupees to the country.
It is happening despite the facts that about 60% of Pakistan’s population has an access to electricity. And according to World Energy Statistics 2011, published by IEA, Pakistan’s per capita electricity consumption is one-sixth of the World Average. World average per capita electricity Consumption is 2730 kWh compared to Pakistan’s per capita electricity consumption of 451kWh.
It is imperative to understand the crises. According to Pakistan Energy Year Book 2011, Pakistan’s installed capacity for power generation is 22,477MW and the demand is approximately the same. The question arises that if the demand and supply has no gap then why we are facing such a crucial electricity crises. To get the answer we need to look into Pakistan’s electricity generation mix fuel wise. Unfortunately, oil & gas has 67% share in electricity generation. Pakistan is generating 35% of its electricity from furnace oil that is mostly imported. Pakistan spends over 12 billion US dollars for the import of furnace oil high speed diesel and crude petroleum that amount is equivalent to 60% of total export earnings and is a serious strain on country’s economy. It was recorded that in year 2011, the import of furnace oil increased by 19% compared to 2010 import. Moreover, the imported furnace oil is high sulphur furnace oil because low sulphur furnace oil is costly. The gaseous emissions from High sulphur furnace oil are polluting the environment and deteriorating the power plants as well. The bitter fact is that the per unit cost of electricity generated from imported furnace oil is high and is expected to increase further due to high forecasted increase in the oil prices. The per unit price of the electricity generated from furnace oil is neither viable for industrial consumers nor for domestic consumers.
At the same time, Pakistan is generating 32% of its electricity from Natural Gas. According to Pakistan Energy Year Book, 2011, Pakistan has 27.5trillion cubic feet (TCF) balance recoverable gas reserves. Current gas production is 4 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) and the demand is 6 bcfd. The gas production is expected to fall to less than 01 bcfd by 2025 due to depletion and demand will increase to 8 bcfd. While depleting the indigenous natural gas reserves, about one third of the natural gas is used for electricity generation (32%) causing a severe domestic and industrial load shedding. That has significantly damaged country’s export earnings and increased the import bill.
The proposed Iran gas pipeline would provide only 01 bcfd at a cost of $ 1.25 billion. The proposed TAPI gas pipeline would provide 3.2 bcfd to 3 countries at a cost of $ 7.6 billion. In response to a demand of 8 bcfd, we will be having 3 bcfd in 2025 if both proposed are completed. The gap will be 5 bcfd. The available gas will have 66% share of costly imported gas.  In the light of above elucidated facts, it is evident that it will not be possible to feed gas based power plants in future that contribute 32 % of the power generation. In the light of above discussion, it is evident that electricity generated from Oil and gas is not an economically feasible option and the installed capacity of about 15000MW (67%) out of 22477MW would not be operational. International Energy Agency has forecasted that total electricity demandof the country will be 49078MW in 2025.This is a great challenge to enhance the installed capacity to 50000MW from 7000MW.
Currently, Pakistan is generating 6481 MW of electricity from hydel sources that is 29% of the total installed capacity. If country completes all the proposed hydel projects including Bhasha Dam, the hydel contribution would be 15000MW until 2025 that is 29%.
The biggest challenge is to redesign the electricity portfolio and substitute the oil and gas with an abundantly available indigenous fuel source. Pakistan must develop indigenous energy resources to meet its future electricity needs. Pakistan can overcome this energy crisis by utilising its un-used coal reserves. Coal is a game changer for Pakistan.
Currently, 40.6% of world’s electricity is being generated from coal and it is the single largest contributor in world electricity generation. By looking at the electricity generation mix of the countries that are blessed with coal, it is evident that coal is the largest contributor. For instance, Poland, South Africa, China, India, Australia ,Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Germany, USA,UK, Turkey , Ukraine and Japan are generation 96%, 88%,78%, 78%, 77%, 72%, 69.9%, 52.5%, 52%, 37%, 31.3%, 27.5% and  22.9% of electricity from coal. Pakistan is the only country that is blessed with 185 billion tons of coal and is producing negligible electricity from coal 0.6%). Thar deposit alone is estimated to be 175 billion tons. It is further estimated that if all the Thar coal is extracted out and converted into electricity through coal fired power plants, it can provide 100,000MW for more than 500 years. There is a dire need to devise a strategy to utilise Thar Coal for power generation. Centre for Coal Technology Punjab University has conducted analysis of 328 samples of coal from all four provinces and AK including Thar coal. A substantial amount of coal in Punjab, Balochistan, KPK, AK and Sindh has high sulphur and ash content that is a challenge to utilise this coal for power generation. All the analysis carried out since 1994 to 2012 by G Couch, geological survey of Pakistan, Oracle coal fields, Centre for coal technology show that Thar coal has a sulphur content up to 1% that is the beauty of this coal that makes it suitable for direct combustion for power generation.
At UK-Pakistan coal conference where CEO of world association for Underground coal gasification (UCG ) Julie Lauder and Robert Davidson of International Energy Agency gave presentations and informed the audience that UCG is still in experimentation stage and pilot operations are being carried out at various locations but UCG syn gas is not being used commercially yet. The experimentation is going on since 1928 for the coals that are deeper than 300 meters and not minable. Let me make it clear that I am not against UCG as a technique. My considered opinion is that Thar geology is against the pre-requisites for UCG.  Here are some concerns regarding UCG of Thar Coal:
1. The geological structure of Thar block three has been published by geological survey of Pakistan. This structure is against the fundamentals of Underground gasification (UCG) given in every book. First condition for UCG is that the coal should be 300 metre or more deep. Where as in Thar the coal seams are present at a depth of 150 meter. Secondly, there should be no water around the deposit whereas Thar coal is immersed in water. The aquifer above the coal zone is  at about 120 m.then a strata of sand stone and clay stone.The water table ranges between 52.70 to 93.27 meter depth. Right below the first coal zone, there are two to three perched aquifers that are aquifers within coal zone with sand horizons of medium to coarse grains. According to experts, the water can also be used for irrigation.Then after the coal seams, a deep aquifer at 200m depth is present. This aquifer is a source of water for tube wells installed in Thar.
2.       Moreover, all the analysis carried out by various organisations at different times show that coal itself contains about 46% moisture in it.
3.      For complete burning of coal in UCG, a temperature of 1000C is required. It is anticipated that the temperature will not be maintained at 1000 C due to 46% moisture leading to an incomplete burning of coal. The volatile matter will burn and FC content / the most valuable component may remain un-burnt leading to a very low HV gas.
4.      About one year ago, Dr. M. Saleem (a member of Dr. Samar Team) predicted that the syn gas obtained will have a calorific value of 106 BTU/cubic foot. Now they claim that they have obtained a gas but have not declared the calorific value yet.This claimed HHV is one-tenth of Natural gas. Due to high moisture content, it would be lower than this claimed value.
5.      It is expected to yield production of very low – grade and uneconomic syn gas, bearing high proportions of water vapours, carbon dioxide and sulphureted.
6.      The gas with such a low heating value cannot be linked with the national   grid. On 25th July, 2012 Dr. Samar briefing Standing Committee on Information Technology said that gas companies have refused to buy this gas.
7.      If the heat contained in 46% moisture, compressors energy consumption, energy  required for carbon dioxide removal, water removal, H2S, (Hydrogen Sulphide) HCN (Hydrogen Cyanide) removal, tar removal and other operational energy consumption is subtracted from the per unit syngas net heating value (that is vital for power generation) will be further lowered.
8.      As the gasification proceeds, the water seepage from the upper aquifer will continue leading to further decrease in temperatures inside the chambers resulting further incomplete burning and yielding much lower HV gas along with un used air.
9.      The sulphur content in the Thar coal will generate H2S (Hydrogen Sulphide) during gasification leading to  an environmental catastrophe in Thar as a result of   poisonous gases like H2S  (Hydrogen Sulphide) and HCN  (Hydrogen Cyanide) from the UCG chambers to the surface through the very loose overlying strata and through newly developed or pre-existing cracks etc.
10.  There will possibly be contamination of underground water so precious in Thar area, with poisonous chemicals originating from the burn chambers.
11.  Proper scrutiny of Thar coal project is missing. One cannot find  the models  of the Thar UCG operation especially the reaction kinetics, heat transfer, gas flow etc ?that are fundamental for every project.
12.  For UCG research, experts are of the opinion that the location allotted block V is not a right location because to stop the operation will not be easy and that can destroy the entire deposit. It should have been an isolated location. On the basis  above stated concerns, Production of very low – grade and uneconomic syn gas, bearing high proportions of water vapours, carbon dioxide and sulphurated hydrogen due to high water and sulphur contents of the Thar coal is expected.
The scope of Dr. Samar Mubarak Mand project was to generate electricity. But after claimed trials, he is now trying to give a new lolly pop to the nation that Diesel and methanol will be produced from Thar coal gas. The question is that India, China and USA and all other countries are generating electricity from coal why they are not producing methanol and diesel? Can you tell the nation how much percentage of global coal is used for these obsoleted routes compared to the coal used for power generation? Pakistan has about 83 sugar mills and methanol can be produced as by product of sugar at much cheaper rate with very little investment compared to the coal route suggested by Dr. Samar.  Being a coal technologist and chemical process technologist I can warn that without knowing the process details, economics and economies of scale, a nuclear- political scientist is misleading the nation.
If UCG of Thar is a wise option, why  commercial organisations like Sindh Engro coal Mining Company, Oracle coal field, UK and Global Mining, China are  opting open pit mining at Thar. Definitely, any profit making organisation that believes in “no free lunch” will go for tested commercial technologies. Only a group of retired hit and trial masters from various fields other than coal can afford this luxury on state expenses.
Currently,8142 trillion watt hour of electricity is being generated from world coal. Out of which how much is generated from UCG? The answer is zero. In response to my post UK-PK coal conference statement of Dr .Samar Mubarak Mand’s lobby through a journalist managed a news item against me in Daily News on 23rd July, 2012. I strongly condemn the highly objectionable language he used. Instead of presenting his view point he tried for character assassination. He declared me as an American agent because I have technically exposed them. I understand that Dr. Samar and his fellows who get heavy  Financial benefits from Thar UCG project  consider everyone as their personal enemy who criticize the Thar UCG project honestly. Dr. A.Q Khan raised questions on Thar UCG project and declared that Dr Samar intellectually dishonest. Is he an American Agent? Now a days, Dr. Samar Mubarak Mand is running PPP Election Campaign to get heavy funds released. Despite the appearance of Dr. Samar in PPP media campaign on TV for next elections, Federal Minister for water and power Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar has stated in a TV talk show “Awam ki Adalat” on Geo TV dated 15-07-2012 that there is no truth in Dr. Samar’s claims. Is he an American Agent?  Dr. Shahid Naveed, Dean of Engineering, University of Engg& Tech Lahore has similar views on Thar UCG project. Is he an American agent? Daily The Nation in its editorial on 11 august 2012, wrote that Dr Mubarakmand’s has been the lone voice in the country advocating the idea and demanded  a team of world class experts to do a feasibility study, covering technical as well as financial aspects prior to pour huge investment in this project that is what I have   pointed out. What. The senior journalist with so-called solid knowledge should learn the art of investigation based journalism and note that I have doctorate in the area of coal technology from UK and many international research publications in high impact factor journals are on my credit. I am not an alien in the field of coal technology like Dr. Samar Mubarak Mand. As far as the Angren project is concerned, no doubt it’s one of the oldest UCG site but IEA still ranked it as “pilot project”. It is an admitted fact that UCG as a technique is still not a commercial technology. My considered opinion is that opening pit mining is the right strategy to extract coal. Once the coal is in our hands, there will be many invertors for the establishment of coal-fired power generation plants and our beloved country would enjoy 100000MW cheaper electricity for five hindered years.
The writer is the Professor & Director of Centre for Coal Technology, University of the Punjab, Lahore.


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