ISLAMABAD: China has expressed its willingness to invest about $15 billion in Pakistan’s energy sector projects.
A Chinese delegation led by Cao Guanging, chairman of the state-owned China Three Gorges Project Corporation (CTGPC), discussed the Kohala, Bunji, Bhasha, Dashu and other hydropower projects in the upper and lower Indus valley during a meeting with Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh on Wednesday.
Dr Hafeez welcomed the offer and said he would try to develop consensus on issues relating to the projects. He said he would consult with the ministries of water and power and law and justice to sort out legal and other issues.
He informed the delegation about the country’s bidding rules and laws and assured it that the bidding process would be held in a transparent manner.
He said the Chinese offer had been discussed at a recent meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet. He said the projects identified by the CTGPC would be taken up with it but only after the completion of procedural matters.
The Chinese offer to provide financial and technical assistance for hydel and wind power projects, upgrade the transmission system and provide an integrated solution to the problems of power shortage and disruptions was elaborated by the CTGPC delegation at the Aiwan-i-Sadr on Wednesday.
Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said in a statement that President Asif Ali Zardari had advised the government to consider tasking the CTGPC with building a run-of-the-river hydro project at Sukkur Barrage and asked Water and Power Minister Syed Naveed Qamar to discuss the project with the sections concerned and prepare a proposal in two months.
The president said that agreements with China ensured full security of Chinese investments in Pakistan. He said the true potential of business partnership between entrepreneurs of the two countries had yet to be fully realised.
Mr Babar said the CTGPC was already involved in a number power projects in the country and offered to build more to address the problems of power shortage. He said the corporation was currently undertaking Karot, Taunsa, Kohala and Bunji hydro-electric power projects. A letter of intent for the 720MW Karot project has been issued after the approval of its feasibility study. The project is currently at the tariff petition stage.
A memorandum of understanding for the 120MW Taunsa hydro-eclectic project has been signed and a development agreement will be signed this month. Mr Babar said the 1,100MW Kohala project was ready for tariff negotiations. A letter of intent for the project has already been issued after the approval of its updated feasibility study.
The 7,100MW Bunji project is ready for site survey. The MoU for the project was signed in August 2009.
Mr Babar said that wind power projects, including Sindh’s first and second wind farms and Punjab’s wind and solar projects, were also in an advanced stage.