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Pakistan eyes financial viability with surplus energy export


May 25, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Central Asia South Asia Electricity Transmission and Trade Project (CASA-1000) project will become financially viable if Pakistan is allowed to export surplus energy to the member countries, the planning minister said on Friday.

The CASA-1000 project envisaged energy trade along the transmission lines in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“The project will become financially viable if there are two way options… Pakistan has surplus energy in winter while Tajikistan has surplus in summer,” Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Khusro Bakhtyar said in an official statement. The planning minister was talking to Ambassador of Tajikistan Ismatullo Nasredin, who called on him. Member energy and senior officials of the ministry were also present in the meeting.

Bakhtyar said the project has been referred to the executive committee of national economic council with a condition “that the sponsors will ensure timely finalisation of agreement with the member countries for export of surplus power, if available, during non-supply period”.

The $1.2 billion of CASA-1000 energy project was approved in March 2014 with the date of its completion expected in 2020. The project envisaged supply of 1,300 megawatts of electricity from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan: 300MW to Afghanistan and 1,000MW to Pakistan. Last month the World Bank sanctioned a $24 million in grant financing from the International Development Association for the project, while the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development and US Agency for International Development pledged an additional funding of two million for the CASA-1000 multi-donor trust fund.

Highlighting the importance of Torkhum-Dushanbe economic corridor, the planning minister said the proposed project would connect Torkhum to Dushanbe via Afghanistan.

“Pakistan is willing to go ahead with the initiative if there is a trilateral agreement between Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan,” he said. “It (the project) has the potential to enhance regional connectivity and integration.”

Bakhtyar welcomed Tajikistan’s accession to quadrilateral traffic-in-transit agreement (QTTA) among China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan. “This will greatly facilitate regional integration for economic development as it would provide an alternate transport corridor between our two countries,” he said. The planning minister hoped that the legal process for Tajikistan joining the QTTA will be completed soon.

Minister for Planning, Development and Reform said the greater connectivity could stimulate regional economic cooperation. “CASA-1000 will help Pakistan meet its energy needs,” he added. “Pakistan attaches great priority to timely completion of the project.”

Tajikistan ambassador Nasredin also expressed interest in exploring the option of import of power from Pakistan during the winter months under the CASA-1000 project.

The ambassador said the country is looking forward to further expand bilateral cooperation with Pakistan in various areas, including trade and energy.