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Sunday August 07, 2022

Murad launches 330MW coal-fired power plant

Murad says that development of Thar Coal has also brought positive changes in the life of local people

August 04, 2022
Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah. — Twitter
Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah. — Twitter

SUKKUR: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Wednesday said with the launch of 330 MW Hubco power plant, 990 MW coal-fired power had been successfully added to the national grid. He was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of 330 MW Coal-fired power project of Hubco and its partners at Thar Coal Block-II, Islamkot.

The ceremony was attended by Minister Energy Imtiaz Shaikh and representatives of SECMC, EPTL, TEL, TNPTL, CEMC, HBL, the partners in the project. The chief minister said the Sindh government always considered Thar to be a cornerstone for country’s energy security and had taken all necessary steps to ensure that the dream of Shaheed Mohtrama Benazir Bhutto was implemented. “Her vision has been vindicated as Thar Coal prices are two to three times cheaper versus imported lignite. It will save billions of dollars in foreign exchange,” the CM said. He said the Sindh government became a major shareholder in first Thar Coal mining company SECMC and also provided the financial guarantee required by Chinese lenders to achieve financial close of the mine.

“We are also aware of the water requirements for Thar Power Projects and have made arrangements to ensure uninterrupted water supply for power generation,” he said and added the key driver for development of Thar was the welfare of local population. “We are also working closely with the federal government to develop a rail link for mass transportation of Thar Coal,” CM Murad said and added the rail link project would start soon.

Thar Energy Ltd was a 330 MW Coal Fired Power Project based on Thar Coal, he said, adding that it was part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The project is now in the commissioning phase and the chief minister formally switched it on to synchronise it with the national grid whereas the COD is expected by August 20 to 28.

Shah said that his government had provided continuous support to Thar Coal IPPs as well as mining companies and had ensured provision of necessary infrastructure, including roads, bridges and on top of it Mai Bakhtawar Airport, so that these projects could function smoothly.

Murad Shah said that the development of Thar Coal has also brought positive changes in the life of local people as substantial CSR activities were being carried out in the fields of employment, education, medical facilities by mining and power generation companies through the Thar Foundation.

The project is a joint venture among Hub Power Company Ltd (Hubco), Fauji Fertilizer Company Ltd (FFC), China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) and has been completed at a cost of US$520 million.

It may be noted that foreign financing for the project was arranged from Chinese syndicate, led by China Development Bank whereas local financing has been arranged via syndicate led by Habib Bank Ltd. The construction was started in May 2018 from sponsors’ equity without waiting for financial close to ensure earliest utilisation of indigenous Thar Coal. The financial close of the project was achieved in January 2020. The project experienced delays in loan disbursement from Chinese lenders and later due to Covid-19 pandemic.

The project is now in the commissioning phase and the chief minister formally switched it on to synchronise it with the national grid on August 3, 2022 whereas COD is expected by August 20 to 28. On the occasion, Chairman Hubco Habibullah and CEO Kamra Kamal also spoke and highlighted the issues they faced in launching the project.

With the clicking of a mouse, the CM sent 40 MW into the national grid and by the end of August, a total of 330 MW power would be added in the national system. A press release issued by Thar Energy Limited (TEL) said it has achieved the momentous milestone of successfully achieving synchronisation with the national gird. The utilisation of indigenous fuel is a development that will further aid in revolutionising the Pakistani energy sector.

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