By Naseem Sheikh
Pakistan is in the grip of a serious energy crisis that is affecting all sectors of the economy and the various segments of the society. Luckily Pakistan has blessed by many types of resources but lack of attention and sincerity among authority leaders and concerned department all resources are just for name of appreciations rather than utilizations.
Coal- the Black Gold is one of major energy source which is contributing in world’s energy systems with the share of 23.80% and 23.75% of production and consumption respectively. In order to obtain clean fuels, the liquefaction and gasification of the world’s most abundant fuel i.e., coal, have gained increasing attention. And coal field holds to the energy security of Pakistan, being one of the largest coal (lignite) deposits in the world comprising of 184,123 billion tons which can produce 1000,000 MW of electricity for next three hundred years.
Pakistan's largest coal reserves are found in Sindh with approximately 184,123 billion tonnes. The coal power generation would cost Pakistan PKR 5.67 per unit while power generated by Independent Power Projects cost PKR 9.27. It Requires Just Initial 420 Billion Rupees Initial Investment, Whereas Pakistan Receives annually 1220 Billion from Tax Only.
Pakistan’s three out of four provinces are blessed with coal power lead by Baluchistan Province.
Region Coal (billion tonnes)
Sindh: Lakhra, SondaThatta, Jherruck, Thar, others 184
Punjab: Eastern Salt Range, Central Salt Range, Makerwal 235
Baluchistan : Khost-Sharig-Harnai,Sor Range/Degari, Duki, Mach- Kingri, Musakhel Abegum, Pir Ismail Ziarat,Chamalong 617
Grand total 184,575
Fixed Carbon 34.12
Total Sulfur 5.98
Calorific Value LB
Thar Coal reservoir is under main consideration both for research and electricity purposes. If all the oil Reserves of Saudi Arab & Iran Put Together, These Are Approximately 375 Billion Barrels, But a Single Thar Coal Reserve of Sindh is about 850 Trillion Cubic Feet, Which is More Than Oil Reserves of Saudi & Iran. These reserves estimated at 850 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of gas or 175,000,000,000 Tons, about 30 times higher than Pakistan’s proven gas reserves of 28 TCF, enough to fulfil the country's power needs for the next century if the government can get itself lined out. The Value of these reserves are about 16 trillion US dollars , in order to expand it Intensive research and exploration activities are already on the track in Kohlu , Chamalang Area.
However, political instability, indecision, corruption, terrorism and security problems have kept exploration and production at a standstill both in Thar and Baluchistan. Current power generation from the Thar reserves is less than 0.5 percent of the potential capacity of the deep and rich reserves, which are spread over 9,600 sq km with the potential to generate 100,000 MW a year.
Some estimates put the value of the reserves at US$30 trillion on a desert that that encompasses nearly 200,000sq km of eastern Pakistan and the Indian state of Rajasthan.
Chinese and other companies had not only carried out surveys and feasibilities of this project but also offered 100 percent investment in last 7 to 8 years but the “Petroleum Gang” always discouraged them in a very systematic way.
Coal is a basic source of energy. By Just 2% usage of Thar Coal Could Produce 20,000 Mega Watts of Electricity for next 40Years, without any single Second of Load Shedding.
And if the whole reserves are utilized, then it could easily be imagined how much energy could be generated.
This Petroleum lobby is very strong in Pakistan and they are against any other means of power generation except for the imported oil. This lobby is major beneficiary of the increasing oil bill that is estimated above 15 billion dollar this year. Even GOVT is planning to Sell all these reserve to a company on a very low price.
The energy sector requires efficient and clean energy supplies. In case of coal, we would have to ensure higher efficiencies, environmental acceptance, prolonging its availability and proper replacement for oil and natural gas. This is only possible through sustainable development of new coal conversion technologies.