SUKKUR, April 10: Feasibility studies for the Thar coal project have been completed and work will begin next year, the chief of Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company said here on Tuesday.
Khalid Mansoor, President and Chief Executive Officer of the company, said at a news briefing that the project had a potential to yield a staggering 100,000 megawatt of electricity through its massive 175 billion tons of coal reserves.
He said the coal stocks were equivalent to oil reserves of Saudi Arabia and Qatar put together while at present the country depends on imported oil for 30 per cent of its energy requirement.
Engro has an investment of 60 per cent in the project while its share in the profit will be 40 per cent. A contract had been signed with a Chinese contractor for financial and technical assistance, the Engro chief said.
Khalid Mansoor said the country’s dependence on imported oil was rising at an alarming rate, citing a recent study conducted by the Pakistan Business Council which estimated that the import bill would exceed $120 billion by 2020.
He criticised the decision-makers for resorting to short-term measures like fuel import and gas loadshedding for tackling the energy crisis.
The Engro chief said at present the country’s ‘effective’ power generation capacity was 14,000mw, but the requirement was estimated to rise to 26,000mw by 2020.
He said Thar coal was the most effective option for augmenting the country’s power generation capacity.
“It is estimated that if the block-II coal field at Thar is exploited, it can generate 100 mw electricity for over 200 years,” Khalid Mansoor said.