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Thar Coal Power Plant creates history - 330 MW power plant goes on national grid.

The pace of industrialization in Pakistan is dependent on continuous availability of the right quality and quantity of energy needed. At the present, every single industry is plagued with either a shortage of gas or low gas pressure. Units are closed on Sundays Line pack is not maintainable. Sudden pressure drops are rampant with gas wells depleting at an alarming pace and the down time of the industry has reached historic levels. On top of all this, the gas costs are escalating whereas they are coming down in the rest of the world.

LNG is available as an alternate gas but at twice the price $2 billion worth of gas is stolen every year from the gas distribution companies. UFG is at 15% on average i.e. amount of gas either stolen or lost through the system during transit from one point to the other. The Pakistani investor and industrialist is looking towards other avenues of returns in stocks and property. Is there a solution to all these issues with the gas supplies?

It was a watershed moment in Tharparkar when electricity from the first unit was successfully pumped into the system by Engro Powergen Thar (Private) Limited (EPTL), realizing the nation's dream of producing electricity through Thar coal. EPTL - the majority owned company of Engro Energy Limited, tested and energized the first unit of 330MW of the combined 660MW power plant - located in Thar Block II. The successful synchronization happened amidst presence of senior officials of the Company and from China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) - the EPC contractor of the project.

The injection of the electrons produced for the very first time from Thar coal - regarded as the 7th largest coal reserve in the world with 175 billion tons of lignite coal - has redefined Pakistan's energy landscape and secured the country's energy future on an indigenous, native footing which will eventually relinquish Pakistan's dependence on foreign fuel mix.

EPTL - one of the early harvest projects of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) - commenced the construction of Pakistan's first 660MW power plant after the financial close of the project in April 2016. EPTL operates as a subsidiary of Engro Energy along with other sponsors that include HBL; Liberty and China Machinery Engineering Corporation.

The synchronization of the first unit of the power plant is a considerable achievement given that the project has been constructed in a record time of under 3 years - as per schedule and projected costs, a feat in itself given the complexity of the project. EPTL power plant will utilize 3.8MTPA of coal supplied by Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company as both projects achieve their commercial operations date (COD) in June 2019

Together both the mining and power projects, managed by Engro Energy, will be able to bring average foreign exchange savings of up to USD 1.6 billion per annum thereby delivering on Company's promise of producing electricity which is from indigenous resources; is abundantly available and is economical.

The 660 MW power plant of EPTL will use circulating fluidized bed (CFB) technology to burn coal. Post-COD, the plant will evacuate 660MW of electricity through a 282-km long 500 kV Double Circuit Quad-Bundle transmission line from EPTL plant to Matiari in Sindh province. The power plant - although first for Pakistan to run on Thar coal - complies with all local environmental laws and has voluntarily adopted various international compliance standards.

Celebrating this transformational event, the President of Engro Corporation, Ghias Khan said: "The first sync of the power plant on Thar coal is truly a momentous occasion for entire Pakistan. Engro's commitment to the Thar coal project goes back almost a decade when we entered into a public private partnership in 2009. The synchronization of the first unit of the 660MW power plant is both testament to Engro's capacity to engineer excellence and deliver on this project of national importance which will ensure the energy security of the county.

Commenting on the landmark achievement, Ahsan Zafar Syed - the Chief Executive Officer of Engro Energy and EPTL said: "This is a historic moment for us where Engro has not only delivered on its promise of realizing the Thar dream but technically demonstrated proof of the concept that Thar coal is suited to produce indigenous energy which can prove to be economical in the long run and reduce our dependence on imported fuel mix. I would like to acknowledge the efforts of our partners and sponsors in the project who have played an instrumental role in this landmark achievement.
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Publication:Energy Update
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Mar 23, 2019
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