ISLAMABAD: The Engro Powergen Thar (Pvt) Limited (EPTL) involved in extensive testing of 660MW coal-based power plant and coal mining project in Thar on Tuesday declared to have successfully completed all relevant inspections and commissioning of the power plant, thereby achieving commercial operations date (COD).

“The COD milestone of both the mining and the power projects is a significant achi­eve­ment given that the Thar dream has been an elusive reality for millions of Pakistanis for over 27 years,” claimed an EPTL statement.

The EPTL is a majority-owned company of Engro Energy and Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC), which itself is a joint venture of Engro Energy and the Sindh government.

Developed in a record time and as per schedule and within projected costs, the Thar coal project is part of the early harvest component of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework.

SECMC plans to double production capacity of coal mine to 7.6 million tonnes per annum by 2021

The coal mining and power plant project began in 2016 after the financial close of the project led by Engro Energy in collaboration with other commercial partners, including the Sindh government, Thal Limited, HBL, Hubco, State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC) of China and the China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) for the mine project.

The SECMC had unearthed the first layer of coal in June 2018 and completed the 60-day testing period of steady state production of on-specification coal. This culminated the first phase of the mining project. The EPTL completed work on the construction of two 330-MW mine-mouth power plants and synchronised them with the nat­ional grid by April 2019. The company has since been involved in extensive testing of both the power units and has successfully completed all relevant inspections and commissioning of the plant thereby achieving the COD.

On the occasion, EPTL chief executive officer Ahsan Zafar Syed said the company completed extensive testing of the systems to ensure quality of power supply without compromising the safety of the project.

SECMC CEO Syed Abul Fazal Rizvi said the first phase of the mining project was completed ahead of schedule, well within the projected costs and with a stellar safety record. “We are now working diligently to pursue second phase of the mining activity as per our expansion plans where we intend to economise the mine and double the production capacity to 7.6 million tonnes per annum (MPTA) for the additional 2x330MW power plant scheduled to come online in 2021,” he said.

Ghias Khan, president of Engro Corporation, termed the COD of Thar coal mine and the power plant monumental and said it showcased not just the company’s ability to deliver on mega projects but also underscored the success of public-private partnership models to deploy inclusive development in the country.

Published in Dawn, July 10th, 2019