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Increase in oil supply pledged to ease power crisis

June 24, 2012

ISLAMABAD, June 23: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Saturday chaired his first meeting as premier, understandably on the energy crisis, but it failed to forge consensus on any long-term plans to reduce electricity loadshedding.

However, the only helping hand in the form of short-term relief came from the petroleum ministry as PM’s Adviser Dr Asim Hussain said 28,000 tons of furnace oil would be supplied daily for power generation, adding 1,200MW to the national grid.

The seven-and-a-half-hour ‘energy meeting’ discussed the situation at length and was informed that a shortfall of more than 6,200 megawatts was resulting in 12- to 16-hour loadshedding across the country, while some remote areas faced power outages for up to 18 hours.

According to sources, the prime minister stressed the need to end unscheduled loadshedding.

The adviser on petroleum said the supply of furnace oil would significantly reduce the electricity shortfall.

However, Dr Hussain demanded that the finance ministry and the ministry of water and power arrange payments for the oil being supplied.

After the meeting, he discussed the issue with the PSO management and it was decided that 32,000 tons of oil would be supplied to generation units.

“We have decided to supply this quantity for one week and see the impact on loadshedding, but if the payments continue to be delayed the supplies may be reduced,” the adviser told Dawn.

The meeting also decided to provide 15MMcfd of gas to a generation plant in Faisalabad, which would add another 65MW to the national grid.

The meeting constituted a committee consisting of Water and Power Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira; Adviser to PM on Petroleum Dr Asim Hussain and Minister for Kashmir Affairs Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo to hold negotiations with representatives of Punjab’s industry and CNG sector and persuade them on the additional gas loadshedding for the sectors in view of the acute requirement of the fuel for the power sector.

A committee comprising Finance Minister Dr Hafeez Shaikh, Religious Affairs Minister Syed Khurshid Shah and Dr Hussain will ask Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad and Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah to hold talks with the stakeholders for reduction of gas supply in the province.