KARACHI: The share of re-gasified liquefied natural gas in the country’s energy mix surged to 24.3 percent in March from eight percent in the corresponding month a year earlier as the...
KARACHI: The share of re-gasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG) in the country’s energy mix surged to 24.3 percent in March from eight percent in the corresponding month a year earlier as the country’s reliance on imported fuel is increasing, official data showed on Thursday.
“Power generation from newly-inducted RLNG-based plants witnessed multiple times growth to 505 GWh (Gigawatt hours), but they continue to face teething issues and are running on a lower load factor,” Rao Aamir Ali, an analyst at Arif Habib Ltd said in a flash note.
Pakistan is poised to become one of the world’s top-five buyers of liquefied natural gas (LNG), with government predicting imports could jump significantly as private companies build new LNG terminals. Currently, the country has two terminals with re-gasification capacity of 1.2 billion cubic feet/day.
RLNG remained the leading contributor in country’s power generation in March, followed by natural gas (21.3pc), furnace oil (16.1pc), coal (14.5pc) and hydropower (10pc). Average cost of RLNG-based electricity generation, however, surged 17 percent to Rs8.85 /kilowatt-hour (kWh) in March compared with Rs7.57/kWh a year earlier.
LNG, which is cheaper than fuel oil and cleaner-burning than coal, suits emerging economies that seek to bridge electricity shortfall and support growth on tight budgets.
Overall, electricity generation grew 14.7 percent to 8,741 GWh in March as compared to 7,620 GWh during the same month a year earlier, official data showed. On monthly basis, electricity generation was also up 25.2 percent. Generation depicted a growth of 11.5 percent to 85,373 GWh during the nine months period ended March 31 compared with 76,534 GWh in the same period last year.
Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said the government added about 12,000 megawatts (MW) to the system during the last five years. Power generation capacity reduced to 15,000 MW till 2013, but the government raised it to more than 28,000MW, Ismail said, unveiling the economic survey of 2017/18.
In March, coal-based power plants were operating at a high load factor: Sahiwal Coal power plant at 86 percent and one unit of Port Qasim coal power plant at 84 percent. Average load factor of hydropower generation remained near 15 percent during the month as compared to 24 percent a year earlier.
“Load factor declined given lower release of water from reservoirs on the back of lower demand from provinces,” Ali said. “Neelum Jehlum plant is in still testing phase.”
Average fuel cost of generation witnessed an increase of 12 percent to Rs6.17/KWh in March compared with Rs5.54/KWh. The rise in generation cost was derived by 17 percent higher RLNG-based cost on the back of 32.7 percent rise in RLNG price and lower load factor of newly inducted power plant.
Moreover, the cost of coal and furnace oil also increased 53 percent and 10 percent, respectively, in March. “The uptick in fuel cost was witnessed due to 14.9 percent and 16.5 percent rise in coal and furnace oil prices, respectively,” Ali added.