COAL TO GAS AND LIQUID
Four Pakistani leading coal mining and power generation companies are planning to convert huge deposits of Thar’s coal into gas and liquid, officials said. Just as, the country moves to ban new coal-fired power plants.
Last month, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan told a virtual gathering of global leaders: “We have decided we will not have any more power based on coal. We have already scraped two coal power projects through which we will produce 2600 megawatt of energy. Consequently, by 2030, 60 percent of all energy produced in Pakistan will be clean energy.”
Chinese companies are financing and building most of Pakistan’s coal plants. Thus, through the over $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship of China’s belt and road initiative.
The Thar desert is home to the largest lignite coal reserves in the world at an estimated 175 billion tons. The equivalent of 50 billion tons of oil and 2000 trillion cubic feet of gas, according to the Geological Survey of Pakistan.
Now, four companies have decided to start a surface coal gasification and liquefaction program. Therefore, to ease the country’s dependence on imported oil.
COAL GASIFICATION AND LIQUEFICATION
“Four companies in principle have agreed to jointly work on coal gasification and liquefaction into petroleum products to substitute fuel imports,” Khalid Mansoor, the CEO of Hub Power Company (HUBCO), told Arab News. “The companies include HUBCO, Engro, Fauji Fertilizer and Fatima Group.”
Nadeem Babar, special adviser to the prime minister on petroleum, told Arab News existing, and under contract coal projects, would continue. However, we will not build any new coal power plants.
“We are looking at coal to liquids and coal to gas technologies now,” he said.
Pakistan currently has four coal-fired power plants worth $6.7 billion, with three using imported coal. The combined capacity of these plants set up under CPEC is 4,620 MW.
In the last five years, the share of coal-based power in Pakistan’s energy mix has gradually increased from almost negligible to more than 20%, according to the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA).
Coal utilization is planning to expand further. Consequently, five more power plants, built under the CPEC umbrella are scheduled to commence operations by the end of 2026. Among these upcoming power plants, four will use Thar’s coal, according to the Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB).
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