Integrated energy plan for next 25-year needs being worked out: Nadeem Babar

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Petroleum Nadeem Babar said the government was working on an integrated energy plan to meet next 25-year needs of the country.

“We are working on a complete integrated energy plan for next 25 years with an aim to ensure availability of electricity, oil and gas to consumers at affordable rates and in sufficient quantity,” he said while addressing a daylong international conference on LNG here.

The conference, organized Energy Update – a trade magazine, was aimed at addressing the issues related to Pakistan’s energy requirements and determining the role of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to bridge the energy shortfall in an efficient manner.

He underlined the need for overcoming the energy shortages and providing the commodities at affordable rates besides stopping their wastages,

“Make energy cheaper and consumption will double,” he said, adding that this strategy would give a substantial boost to industrial sector and economic activities in the country.

Under its ease of doing business plan, the SAPM said the government had removed a number of bureaucratic hurdles to facilitate private sector in the energy sector.

He said the government intended to shrink its footprint in the energy sector by encouraging private sector to compete government sector entities.

During the last 16 months, Nadeem Babar said the government had taken a number of steps that would have positive impact on the energy sector in the coming years, but “we are not realizing these measures right now. We have been living in the past and denying the present…but we have to move the energy sector where it has to be.”

He said the government had decided that it would not continue to increase its footprint in the LNG industry and with that mind “we went ahead with the open access to the pipelines, terminals and there is no bar on setting up LNG terminal by private sector.”

The government would support the private sector players if they had buyers, suppliers and financial muscles, he said and asked the participants ”We create the environment… you do the business and compete the public sector entities.”

Commenting on the future energy outlook, he said there would be a drastic increase in the electricity in the overall energy pie in next 10 to 20 years, stressing the need to adopt a holistic approach.

He also highlighted the role of renewable energy to meet the country’s electricity and petroleum sector requirements.

He said traditional coal technology had gone out of fashion and “my prediction is that by 20 years oil will be out of fashion completely and gas will be left.”

During next 30 to 40 years, the gas would most depend on fossil fuels, which supplemented the variability of renewable energy and “of course battery technology can change that and will see major developments in battery technology in next 10 years.”

Since the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government came into power in 2018, the SAPM said he kept hearing of different sectors capacity shortages, but “I came to conclusion that we do have really capacity constraints in most of our sectors but high level inefficiency and protected structures are the main reasons.”

He stressed the need for getting out of this mode, adding “our LNG sector is highly inefficient…we need to make it more efficient to lower the cost…We need to open up oil and gas sector and bring down the commodity rates for benefit of the common man.”

Earlier, in his welcome address, Naeem Qureshi Managing Director Energy Updates and Chairman of organizing committee of the Conference said that the conference aimed at addressing the issues related to Pakistan’s energy requirements and determining the role of LNG to bridge the energy shortfall in an efficient manner.

He said the conference would be mile stone for promotion of energy sector in Pakistan. It would also help devise a roadmap to address the energy crisis in the country, he added.

He said the conference would discuss every aspect of LNG sector in Pakistan including its import, storage, transmission, supply, regulation and pricing so that it could become a viable segment of the energy equation of Pakistan.

Speaking on the occasion, Energy Expert Sohail Butt said LNG was fast growing source of energy. China and India were major importers of LNG and this trend was expected to grow, he added.

However, he pointed out cost reduction in Renewable Energy was a big challenge for LNG adding that LNG prices were linked with crude oil.

Owais Mir, CEO DEA while speaking on the occasion, stressed the need of integrated model for harnessing the LNG sector.

Later in second session of the conference titled Investment, Reforms and Sustainability, senior vice president Upstream LNG Hanas Mr Chrisophe Malet, CEO Pakistan Gasport Ltd Fasih Ahmed, CEO Granada USA Mohsin Siddiqui, GM Engro Elengy Ammar Shah, Director BD PNSC Khurram Mirza presented their presentations and highlighted the importance of this sector.

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